Recently, I had a strong urge from God to share a call to the church to take communion at home by sharing my personal testimony on the topic. You may have seen the blog post and the social media posts on Instagram and Facebook that I shared on March 20, 2020.
This week, still feeling a strong compulsion to share a call to the church to take communion at home, I am sharing this Scripture-based summary of the how and why of taking communion in the hopes that it will serve as a practical help for Christ-followers.
What is the Significance of Communion?
Every time followers of Christ eat this bread and drink this cup, we…
- Announce Christ’s death until he comes again (1 Corinthians 11:26)
- Honor the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:29)
- Remember Christ (Luke 22:19)
- Confirm the new covenant between God and his people (Matthew 26:28).
Is There a Wrong Way to Take Communion?
Every time we eat the bread and drink the cup, we must examine ourselves (and confess and repent of sin) so that we take it in a worthy manner. (See 1 Corinthians 11:26-31.)
This regular examination with confession and repentance keeps us free.
Some Scriptures About Communion
For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again. So anyone who eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord unworthily is guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. That is why you should examine yourself before eating the bread and drinking the cup. For if you eat the bread or drink the cup without honoring the body of Christ, you are eating and drinking God’s judgement upon yourself. This is why many of you are weak and sick and some have even died. But if we would examine ourselves, we would not be judged by God in this way.1 Corinthians 11:26-31 (NLT)
He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it into pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
After supper he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.”Luke 22:15-20 (NLT)
As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take this and eat it, for this is my body.”
And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them and said, “Each of you drink from it, for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many. Mark my words—I will not drink wine again until the day I drink it new with you in my Father’s Kingdom.”Matthew 26:26-29 (NLT)
So Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you cannot have eternal life within you. But anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise that person at the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. I live because of the living Father who sent me; in the same way, anyone who feeds on me will live because of me. I am the true bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will not die as your ancestors did (even though they ate the manna) but will live forever.”John 6:53-58 (NLT)
How I Take Communion at Home
- I get out a small amount of a solid food and a small amount of a liquid.
- I examine myself, with confession and repentance (1 Corinthians 11:28-29).
- I bless the solid food (as Jesus took some bread and blessed it, in Matthew 26:26) and consider that it is the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:29).
- I break the solid food (as Jesus broke it in pieces, in Matthew 26:26) and then eat it.
- I give thanks for the liquid (as Jesus gave thanks to God for the cup of wine in Matthew 26:27) and consider it Christ’s blood poured out as a sacrifice for my sins.
- I drink the liquid.
These are the core steps I follow. I find that it is natural for communion to give rise to other expressions to God.
Healing Through Communion – For those interested in going deeper into the reasons that taking communion at home frequently may be especially vital during this time, I invite you to read my recent blog post, Behold Your God by Agnes Sanford, in which I summarize Sanford’s discussion of the power of God to move to heal in the church. (This specific topic is discussed in a section of that blog post titled Chapter 12: The Company of the Redeemed.)
God’s Blessing Through National Repentance – 2 Chronicles 7:14 gives us the principle of God’s people being empowered to pray for their entire nation when the nation is in need of healing from God. There is another, closely related, principle, which is that of God’s people repenting for national sin, and thereby opening a channel for God’s blessing on their entire nation. This topic is discussed in Agnes Sanford’s book Behold Your God in a way that is understandable and practical for those who have been prepared by their repentance (an integral part of the self-examination step of taking communion) for their individual sin, to repent for national sin. (I have touched on the concept in my recent blog post, Behold Your God by Agnes Sanford, in a section of that blog post titled Chapter 13: National Repentance Brings National Blessings.)
Download a Printable Guide
Photo credits: Communion photo: David Weber on Unsplash. Vineyard photo: Boudewijn Boer on Unsplash.