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Communion 2009

Funeral Dinner

Originally scheduled for April 26

It is the custom in many Christian churches to end a funeral with a dinner. At my father’s funeral the dinner was at home, the ladies of the church and friends providing the meal. For my mother’s funeral, we went to her favorite restaurant. But in both instances the meal was not centered on the actual food, but the memories we shared of my parents. Stories were brought out by friends and family, some of which I had never heard, as we celebrated a long life in Christ. It was a reunion of family and friends, and a good time. One reason we were so upbeat: as Christians, we share the sure and certain hope of the resurrection of the dead.

 

Communion is somewhat like that. Indeed, the Bible tells us that the early church celebrated the Lord’s Supper somewhat like we might have a church dinner. Unfortunately, this brought abuse which humiliated the poorer brothers in the church, so the Lord’s Supper was separated from ordinary church meals together. It still bears some resemblance to those funeral dinners, though:

It is celebrated in churches humble and grand – simple elements served in the style of the congregation.

It is a time of memory – thinking about what Christ has done for us, his sacrifice and our salvation.

It, too, is celebrated in “sure and certain hope” – of our Lord’s return in glory.

 

As you partake, then, remember these things. Do not be dazzled by the elegance of the serving trays, nor ashamed of their humble simplicity. The caliber of the meal is not the caliber of the person celebrated. Remember too that you do not partake of Communion alone; we, the church, take it as a body. Most of all, remember what Christ has done for you in his atonement, granting you salvation.

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