The Art of Celebrating Communion
A phrase I’ve heard often in church over the years is “celebrate communion.” Yet what I witness seems nothing like a celebration. Instead, it is the most somber, solemn of affairs; it feels even more crushing than a funeral.
Wait, communion is a funeral of sorts: Jesus’ funeral. Yes, communion commemorates Jesus’ death. That means communion should be a time to mourn. Why then do we talk about celebration?
People told me communion is a time to reflect on Jesus’ death, the pain he endured, and the sacrifice he made—for me. So that makes it my fault; I’m to blame. I certainly can’t celebrate that.
But the celebration is what happens as a result. Jesus’ death makes us right with God the Father. Communion reminds us of that, too—or at least it should.
Jesus died so we can live. I can celebrate that!
Yes, communion is a time to reflect on what was—Jesus’ death. But communion is also a time to embrace what is – our right standing with God the Father. Even more so, communion is a chance to anticipate what will be —eternity with God. That’s worthy of a celebration. So why don’t we do a better job at celebrating communion?
Next time you take communion, dip the bread in the juice and then raise it as a toast. Say to your friends, “Jesus died so we can live.” Then share tears with those who cry, be it tears of sorrow or of joy. And share shouts with those who cheer, praising God for what was, what is, and what is to come. That’s a party.
That’s how to celebrate 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.