Communications companies bombard us with advertising that appeals to a basic human need: the need to connect in a meaningful way with other human beings. Slogans suggest “connecting people” and “bringing people together.” Deep down, even the most independent of us need to feel that we are not alone. We need to talk to others. We even need to touch others. Newborn babies do not develop properly if they are deprived of the touch of another human.
God created us with this need to connect with one another. Since he understands our need to make connections, the Lord Jesus gave his church a way to satisfy this need on the deepest level imaginable.
There’s a reason why the church refers to the Lord’s Supper as “Holy Communion.” The word communion means “coming together,” and the Lord’s Supper is a coming together in three different ways. First, in the Lord’s Supper, the bread that is blessed and distributed to us communicants comes together with the body of Christ and the wine comes together with his blood. In this way, we receive both a physical element and a divine element—bread and body, wine and blood— indistinguishably and inseparably joined together.
Second, at the Lord’s Table, we communicants come together with the Lord Jesus himself. Here he is truly present with us as he is nowhere else—with his true body and blood, to give to each communicant his gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation.
What unites us together at the Lord’s Table is vastly more profound than the differences that set us apart.
But there’s a third coming together too. The apostle Paul referred to it when he wrote, “Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf” (1 Corinthians 10:17). Communicants at the Lord’s Supper are not only united with their Lord; they are united with one another into one body, his church. Men and women, young and old, rich and poor—at the table of the Lord, believers of every size, shape, personality, and back- ground blend together in one harmonious whole. There is one Lord who has one body, which is exactly the same for every communicant who receives it. That means that what unites us together at the Lord’s Table is vastly more pro- found than the differences that set us apart.
It also means that when I partake of Holy Communion, I am not simply enjoying a private moment alone with my Lord. This helps us understand why the beliefs of each communicant are not simply a private matter that’s between the individual and God.
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