Do You Receive Communion?
Depending on your perspective, you may call the sacrament that Jesus started as Communion, Holy Communion, the Lord’s Supper, the Eucharist, or Holy Eucharist. Other labels include the Blessed Sacrament and the Sacrament of the Altar.
In my experiences, the first three names are the most common. And the most common verb associated with them is the word receive, as in receive Communion. But it’s not the best word to use. Though it’s not completely wrong, it’s not fully right, either.
When I think of receive, I think of its synonyms: accept, take, have, collect, and get. To say we receive Communion conveys a passive activity; it makes us consumers. Receive is a one way exchange; we hold out our hands and we take.
Instead, Communion should be active, where we partake, experience, and engage. Consider carefully synonyms of these words; meditate on them.
Partake: Participate, share, join
Experience: Feel, face, suffer, undergo
Engage: Involve, occupy, engross, absorb, hold, connect, encounter, battle, contest
Next time we are present for Communion, may we consider—and embrace—these active words. May we grasp a fuller comprehension of this amazing sacrament.
May we never again be content to just receive Communion.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality, often with a postmodern slant. He seeks a fresh approach to faith and following God through the lens of scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.