I don’t recall how old I was when I first ate one of those awful styrofoam wafers that the catholic churches dole out for communion. I’m sure it was sometime around my 2nd grade year; I was young. As far back as I can remember, that was the standard for communion: one little wafer of cheap unleavened cracker (or the styro version) and a plastic thimble full of grape juice. It’s hard to dispute such traditions when that is the tradition you’re taught.
Despite the fact that I grew up with communion in such a manner (in EVERY church I attended), the past few years have given me a greater conviction on the matter. Biblical communion was never intended to be such a nonchalant event, one that we could mold and tailor to suit the administrative costs of the church! Communion always was, and always should be a full fledged dinner. That is how Jesus did it. Where in Eucharist history did that little wafer slip into the church?
A full communion dinner is not only how Jesus did it, the Apostles likewise had a full dinner for their observance of the Christian communion. This is apparent by the manner in which Paul addressed the church of Corinth. Consider the following scriptures:
When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper. For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.
Paul, rebuking the Corinthians their misbehavior, references the Eucharist supper and their gluttony. It’s rather hard to be gluttonous if the only thing being served is a cheap little cracker. Somewhere along the lines of history, sadly mistaken Christians decided it was ok to substitute a symbol for a symbol and they replaced that God given tradition with a cheap token.
Paul gives no less than 14 verses in 1 Corinthians to the subject. That alone should dictate to us the importance of the event. How is it that the modern church has removed the dinner (which is the symbol) and expects that they can still hold a symbolic event? It’s Christian absurdity at its finest. Shame on the pastors. Such students of God’s word should know better. I feel Paul’s angst when he said, “I praise you not”.
All four of the gospels speak about the last supper. Matthew, Mark and Luke give us the scene of Christ presiding over it and dictating the symbols of his crucifixion for us to remember the event by. The gospel of John gives us the scene of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples [a picture of humility]. Paul’s rebuke to the Corinthian church was due because they had violated both the symbols of the crucifixion and the humility that Christ portrayed for them at the last supper.
No where does the bible give us the right to replace God given symbols with our own version. Doing such is more than watering down the representation of Christ, it is an outright assault on biblical truth. Many Baptists today are staunch and firm (as they should be) on the tradition of baptism. You can’t toss a few sprinkles of water on people and call it baptism. I believe the same staunchness should hold true for all traditions, including the Lord’s Supper. True communion is not a symbol that we can do away with. If the Apostle Paul rebuked the Corinthians for their gluttony, how much more is the modern church guilty for trashing the picture all together? Please pastors, bring back communion.