The TRUTH about COMMUNION -by Andrew Strom. A lot of us have been taught that Communion is largely a "symbolic" thing - or simply an act of 'remembrance'. But it is clear from the New Testament that the early Christians saw it as being much more than that. Otherwise, why would they have taken communion EVERY DAY from "house to house"? I mean, a symbolic ritual wouldn't be THAT urgent, would it? And also, if it was only 'symbolic', why did Paul say that a wrong attitude towards it was causing some of the Corinthian Christians to become weak and sick - and some even to DIE?? (1 Cor 11:29-30). I mean, how can a mere "symbol" have the power to actually make people that sick when it is mis-used? The fact is, just like Baptism, the Lord's Supper is no "symbol" at all. It is a very real partaking of the "LIFE" of Jesus afresh. And it is very clear from all the New Testament writings on the subject that the apostles were very aware how powerful and important it was. Now, we need to be careful not to go too far with this. -Because the Catholic church has a very strange understanding of Communion. They believe that it actually becomes the real PHYSICAL FLESH and the real PHYSICAL BLOOD of Jesus. -Which is kind-of surprising, when you think about it. Can you imagine eating real human flesh and drinking real human blood? No wonder the Protestants ran a mile in the opposite direction! However, based on the Scriptures it is obvious that what we are really partaking of in Communion is SPIRITUAL LIFE of the most potent kind - an actual refreshing within us of the "Bread of Life" and the cleansing "Blood of the New Covenant" that washes us from sin. We are supposed to partake of it by FAITH - a fresh impartation of the very essence of Jesus himself. You could even describe it as a kind-of refreshing of the "born again" experience, in a way. Now all of this sounds pretty dramatic. But is there really proof for all of this in Scripture? Let's take a look: Remember Jesus' words when he first partook of the Lord's Supper with his disciples: "Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, 'Take and eat; THIS IS MY BODY.' Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, 'Drink from it, all of you. THIS IS MY BLOOD of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.'" (Mt 26:26-28, NIV). Notice that he did not say, "This is a SYMBOL of my body or blood." He said: "This IS my body, This IS my blood." And that is clearly the way his followers were to treat Communion from that time on. It was to be a REAL partaking of all the empowering and cleansing found in the spiritual body and blood of Jesus. It was to be taken in FAITH, receiving from God a fresh impartation each time. Remember, Jesus had said these dramatic words: "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you... For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink" (John 6:53-55). In the same passage he had spoken of himself as the "bread of life" - the "bread that came down from heaven... He who feeds on this bread will live forever" (Jn 6:58). Now we know that Jesus is also "the Word of God" as well as the 'bread of life'. This is the very essence of what we are partaking of here. And we know exactly what the 'blood' is all about too. All the way through Scripture we are told that "the LIFE is in the blood" and we are told that the blood of Jesus "cleanses us from all sin". My friends, are you ready to partake of Communion as a fresh impartation of these very things to you? If you are, then you are ready to partake if it just as they did in the Book of Acts. This is clearly why they partook of it every day. It was THAT important. They used Communion as a means of "abiding in Jesus" and partaking of his LIFE once more. It was like the Children of Israel who partook of the 'manna' in the wilderness each day to stay alive. In modern times, I have heard of cases where people have actually been physically healed through partaking of communion in this deeper way. This is not surprising, because they are partaking of the very life and cleansing of Jesus by faith. We really need to be doing this all the time - just like the early church. So what was it that the Corinthians were doing that actually seemed to turn the power of Communion against them? If you read the whole passage (1 Cor 11:17-34) you will see that the main problems seemed to be (1) Divisions amongst them, (2) Not "preferring" one another, and (3) Partaking of Communion in a very fleshly and carnal way. Remember, communion is all about partaking of the "one body" of Christ. So it is not just 'oneness' with Jesus, it is also oneness with our brothers and sisters as well. It is a thing of true heart unity. This is why Paul says, "A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgement upon himself." (1 Cor 11:28-29, NIV). So "heart unity" amongst the brethren is very important. If you have something against a brother or sister, it is important to go and make things right before taking communion. To really get the most out of Communion, I believe it is important when praying a blessing over it to actually bless it publicly and openly as being the "body of Jesus" to us (-the 'bread of life') and also the actual "blood of the New Covenant". To pray these things over Communion is important so that when people partake of it they can have FAITH that it will actually BE THAT to them. -Then they are truly able to enter in. Remember, we are ALL "kings and priests", therefore any one of us can pray and break bread amongst ourselves in our own homes and gatherings. In our Kansas City home-fellowships lately, we ourselves have begun sharing a meal and also communion together, and then moving into a time where everyone flows in spiritual gifts. It has been wonderful so far, and I can see why this simple way of meeting worked so well in the early church. Sometimes you really feel like you could be in Acts. I am convinced more and more that the Holy Spirit wants to flow far more than He is allowed to in a lot of our meetings today. -He is just waiting for the invitation. This kind of fellowship around 'communion' is the very essence of Early Church life. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and experiences, my friends. God bless you all! Kindest regards in Christ, Andrew Strom.