Summary: Communion is looking backward, looking forward and looking inward.
WHAT IS COMMUNION
Every Friday the old man would walk the beach with a bucket full of shrimp feeding the seagulls. His name is Eddie Rickenbacker. In October of 1942 he had been sent on a mission to deliver an important message to Gen Douglas McArthur. With a handpicked crew he flew his B-17 flying fortress across the South Pacific. Somewhere the crew became lost, the plane ran out of fuel and went down in shark infested waters. For eight days the crew survived in a life raft. They ran out of rations and knew that only a miracle would save them. So they prayed As they prayed Rickenbakacker felt something land on his head. It was a seagull. He grabbed the bird. They ate the meat and used the intestines as bait and caught fish. The crew survived thanks to a sea gull hundreds of miles away from the nearest land. That is why years later every Friday, Eddie Rickenbacker would feed the gulls. From a heart full of thanks he would remember the one that had journeyed far to sacrificed it’s life for his. Like Rickenbacker, we too have reason to look back and give thanks.
1 Cor. 11:23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me." 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. 27 Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.
What is communion? A little girl who usually stayed in children’s church on Sunday mornings, went with her parents to the regular adult service. When Communion was served, she turned to her mother and whispered loudly, "The snack in children’s church is much better. And we get a lot more juice." Communion is more than a snack. Let me suggest to you today it is 3 things:
1. Looking Back (Past) - vs. 23-25
There are some moments which become pivotal in our lives. For some it was your wedding day. For some the birth of your child. Everything that came after that moment was different from what came before. Like Eddie Rickenbacker each one of us who is a Christian can say we faced certain death but were rescued miraculously. Our present should be spent in gratitude for what has happened in the past.
For each one of us the greatest pivotal moment in our lives was when we asked Jesus to come into our hearts. The Lord’s Table is a time of remembrance of what Jesus did on the cross for us 2000 years ago. He was betrayed. His body (like the bread) was broken and His blood (like the wine) was poured out. The God of all eternity loved us so much that He came to earth to die for our sins. Jesus came and paid a terrible price so that we would not have to.
The problem we have as Christians is that we can too easily forget what God has done for us. We have short memories and, as the old expression goes, familiarity breeds contempt. Over time we can lose sight of what God in Christ has done for us and our relationship with Jesus can move from relationship to empty religion – blindly following a set of rules.
The Taj Mahal in India by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It is said that during the construction of the building one day the Emperor was walking through the building site and banged his leg on a large wooden box. He ordered the box be removed because it was a hazard to the construction. It was the coffin with his wife inside – the very reason he started the building in the first place.
God knew that we as people had poor memories so he gave us communion as a constant reminder. When we participate in communion we are calling to remembrance on a regular basis what God has done for us in Christ. This helps us not to forget.