A ritual of remembrance at the heart of Old Testament worship, the Passover, asked an important question: “What is this service all about?” (Ex. 12:26) In the New Testament, the Holy Communion service raises a similar question, for which the answer is at least threefold:
The service of Holy Communion is first of all one of Worship. An act of worship ascribes worth, literally, responding to the worth-ship of a person. It is called the Eucharist, since it is the “giving of thanks,” but to whom and for what? In this service, also known as the Lord’s Supper, the person of Christ is central. Every word and action symbolizes Him and points to Jesus as the Lord of life. Interestingly, the worshiper focuses on the passion of the Christ. Believers remember Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice–something worth thinking about since it is the only death that promises life.
The communion service is also one of Witness. Paul taught the Church at Corinth that in commemorating Jesus’ life and death, they were celebrating God’s work of redemption, vividly showing forth or proclaiming the Lord’s salvation until Christ returns (1 Cor. 11:26). What is declared is not just the fact that Christ died for sins, but personal faith in the Christ who died for your sins. Simultaneously, participating in this corporate feast, Christ’s followers proclaim their fellowship with others of like faith–a witness to a unique communion that transcends all barriers of class, caste, color, and creed. This fellowship is found when a person places their faith in the one Lord and only Savior Jesus.
Finally there a sense of Wonder in this service, even as believers try to reckon with the “why” and “how much” the Son of God must have loved them, to give Himself for them. Just imagine, this Lamb of God who once died, is now alive and present at this service in some mysterious way. As it is the Lord’s Table, Jesus is our Host who presides over and provides for this service! Here, believers are His guests who are present; all sinners, but sinners saved by grace and made worthy to find grace in time of need. Oh, the wonder of it all, just to know that God loves me! Let us remember to not forget what holy communion is really all about–Jesus in our midst!