When you hear the word “communion,” what words come to mind? For me, I think of bread, wine, sacrifice, Jesus, grace, mercy, worship, humility, adoration…so many words and emotions are brought to the surface. Did you notice the first two words—Bread and wine? Typically when we take communion, some sort of bread and some sort of wine or juice is involved. But what does communion look like when those communion elements aren’t available? At the 33rd Street Campus of Summit, the team is not allowed to bring bread and wine or juice into the facility and because of that, the men and women there simply do not partake in communion. As Summit began the current 15-week Romans series, the leadership team wanted to find a way that the men and women of 33rd could participate in this sacred act. But the question was how? They dared to spend some time considering what partaking in communion might look like if bread and/or wine were not available, and something beautiful emerged.
As each service comes to a close, the dedicated 33rd Street volunteers stand at the front of the room and invite the men and women to take some time to reflect while 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 is read aloud. Then, when they are ready, the men and women of the congregations stand in line to receive communion. As they reach the front of the room, a volunteer greets them by name and says, “Sister (or brother), the body of Christ was broken for you. And the blood of Christ was shed for you.” And then a prayer is said over each person who then moves back to his or her seat. Typically (on the women’s side at least), tears and hugs are involved. Communion has become an intimate time in the worship service at 33rd—one in which the men and women are reminded that, although they are unable to partake of the bread and wine in physical form, they are still a part of the family. Jesus’ blood and body is for them! God is crazy about them!
As I hear the word “communion” now, I am reminded of yet another word: community. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, we are now a part of a beautiful community, and that community includes reminding each other (with or without bread and wine) that Jesus’ body and blood were offered for each of us. Jesus sacrificed for every single one of us. And for that, I am humbled and grateful!