By Randy Gariss
If the idea of a one-person wedding seems bizarre, so too does the idea of personal Communion. There are many things in the Christian life you can do on your own. You can study, pray, fast, sing, worship, and serve all by yourself. But why is there not even a hint in Scripture about taking the Lord’s Supper alone?
When Christ initiated Communion, it was in a group (Matthew 26). When Communion is described in the book of Acts, it is in a group (Acts 2:42). The same is true in 1 Corinthians. A study of Scripture indicates that Christians partook of the Lord’s Supper when the church came together as a body. Why this togetherness at the Lord’s table?
Perhaps it is because the Lord’s Supper has more to do with an emphasis on the us than the me. Could it be participation in the Lord’s Supper centers on the atonement and grace that brought me into his community . . . an atonement that placed me among his people, more than simply centering on my own personal atonement with Christ?
“Hush everyone, don’t distract me, I am having my time with Jesus and taking my Communion,” has often been the unspoken pattern in some churches. Is it possible that the biblical pattern is just the opposite? “Hey, I would like to see your faces and know your names, for I am taking Communion, and I celebrate the grace of God that forgave me and gave you to me as my family!”
The largest windows we are given to the first-century church and its practice of the Lord’s table are two passages in 1 Corinthians. In chapters 10 and 11, Paul reminds the Communion participants of the “us-ness” taking place during this meal.
“We, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf” (1 Corinthians 10:17). You and I, both saved by Christ, have been made one family, and we sit at the same table.
Not too much later, Paul again speaks of the us, and warns not to take the Lord’s meal without recognizing or comprehending the Lord’s body around us (1 Corinthians 11:29). It isn’t just Christ who is to be on my mind, but you as well.
I don’t take Communion by myself; I take it with you. And today, I will thank God that he has made us a family, a community, a kingdom . . . his church.
Randy Gariss serves as the director of the Life and Ministry Center at Ozark Christian College, Joplin, Missouri.