Depending on what kind of church tradition you're worshiping in, your Communion experience might look a little different. But for many churches who practice regular Communion, the ritual itself is fairly simple - a little bit of cracker, a little bit of juice (or wine), a prayer.
Oftentimes, the entire meal takes less than five minutes for the entire congregation to partake.
And I think that does us a disservice.
I think sometimes, we pick up this little bit of cracker and this little bit of juice, and it can feel to us less like a meal and more like a dose of medicine. We take the cracker the same way we take a tylenol - quick, and without really tasting it. Just trying to get it down. Ready to move on to the next thing.
When we do this, it's easy for us to also get the impression that maybe Communion works like a tylenol, too. Like we have just taken our dose of Jesus for the week, and it's an extended-release tablet. It will slowly work its way through our system for the next seven days until it's time for our next dose, covering us in the blood for a little bit longer and making our life a little bit holier until its effects start to wane.
We can start to think that Communion is just some kind of maintenance activity that we participate in in the church, like a miniature new baptism every week that keeps us freshly consecrated, constantly tied to Jesus - our holy drug dealer who keeps giving us this little bit of medicine at a time, this small remembrance of Him that fizzles into our souls and then out of it and always needs replenishing.
Friends, this is not what Communion was meant to be. This is not the way Jesus did it, and it's not the way He intends us to do it.
This is a meal. This is a sit-down, share stories, come together kind of a meal, the kind you're supposed to remember for the rest of your life - not try to repeat every week. It's the kind of meal you tell stories about later - hey, do you remember that time...? It's the kind of meal you relish because of who you spent it with, and you can't get the memory of it to stop lingering in your mind.
Communion is new every week. New table. New meal. New stories. New friends. New memories to make. It's a time to come together that maybe looks really similar, but the truth is, it just isn't like the last time. It's never like the last time.
It's always like the first time. It's always something new.
And we're supposed to walk away from it not with some impression of a time-release goodness, but with an absolute fullness - fullness of Christ, fullness of spirit, fullness of joy, fullness of grace.
Maybe it looks like a little cracker and a little sip of juice, but we can't keep fooling ourselves. This is not some spiritual medication regimen; this is dinner. Family dinner. The Lord's Supper. This is a table.
Are you here for it?