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Communion 2009

Body of Christ

Originally scheduled for August 2

Those familiar with the Scriptures will quickly recognize three different but related meanings for the phrase, “body of Christ.”

The first meaning is the most obvious: the actual, physical body of Christ. One of the most important tenets of the faith is that Christ came in the flesh – not some angelic visitor, or vision, or mental image. He has a body like every other human being.

The second meaning comes after the resurrection: it means the church. We, as his people, are the body of Christ.

The third meaning, expressly stated by Jesus, is the bread which is used in Communion. “This is my body,” he said.

 

These meanings can be used to help us discern the body of Christ when taking Communion. The first is easy: do we acknowledge that Christ came in the flesh, and suffered in his physical body just as we can suffer?

When we contemplate his body as the church, we realize that our faith is no solo flight. By his command we are to accept this organization as his will for us. Along the same vein, we also know that if we are a part of the church we represent our Lord to the world.

The bread as body presents us with two thoughts:

First, bread is physical. In using a physical token, we acknowledge the physical reality of Christ.

Second, we are what we eat. Christ is the food of the full grown Christian.

 

All this will become clearer when he returns. Then we shall see him in his physical body – the resurrected one. Praise God, we will be raised with just such a body as well. The church – one Lord, one body – will rise to meet her Lord and join him. But we will no more partake of the bread in Communion, for faith will have become sight. We take this bread and cup in hope – the sure and certain hope of the resurrection to come.

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