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Being devoted to… the breaking of bread (Acts 2:42 Series)

January 18, 2011

How do we go about remembering something, particularly something important. Often times I say to myself, I must remember that thing I’ve got to do to do, or that person I must see. I try to get me brain to remember it but more often than not I simply forget. What works better is if I do something to help me remember. Some people tie a knot in their handkerchief, others write on their hand, leave reminders on their phones or make a note on their to-do lists. Doing something like this tends to work better for me than merely trying to remember does, and often once I’ve written down, or set a reminder, I remember without having to look at the note or hear the reminder. And there is something of this going on in ‘breaking of bread‘, what we more normally call communion.

One of the commands of Jesus as recorded by Paul:

For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. (1 Cor. 11:23-26)

Jesus’ death is so important and affects so many different parts of our lives, that He wanted us to remember this above all else. God knows that we are often forgetful, that we forget things like our partners birthdays, our car keys, or the shopping and He doesn’t want us to forget so easily something which is actual so key to our entire lives as Christ’s death. So Jesus made sure that before He died His disciples had an easy way to remember Him and His death by taking two things which they used everyday and making them the key reminders. Bread and wine were and are stable part of the Middle Eastern diet and as such something they would see everyday. It was a simple and easy gesture which would continual remind the early disciples of the central aspect of their faith. So its no surprise really then, when we look at the early church in Acts 2:42 we find them devoted to the ‘breaking of bread’.

What does it mean to be devoted to communion, to be devoted to the ‘breaking of bread’. It means to take communion seriously, reverently, regularly and to take it in community. Its easy to see communion as a nice addition to a meeting and opt in for those who wish to take part. But if this is our view of communion then we have fallen a long way short, we are in short not devoted. Jesus wants us to be devoted to communion, devoted to remembering His death in this simple way, because without keeping His death central in our minds its easy to drift a way from the core of Jesus’ message. But as we saw in ‘Being devoted to… fellowship’, this remembering is something which we need to help each other do. We need each others encouragement and we need each other to point us to Jesus, so we take communion together as a community. We accept Jesus’ death was enough for everyone, that we need each other if we are continue trusting in His death and that just as we take equal amounts of bread and wine, so we are all equal before God, no one person better than another. ‘Breaking of bread’ does all this for us and we are called to be devoted to it, as a God given way of being devoted to Him and His people.

To read more of this series click here!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. lightfighter7 permalink
    March 4, 2011 1:34 pm

    As a Southern Baptist living in South Carolina I have to say that I believe it is almost impossible for us to get together to do anything without food being involved. I say this a bit tongue-in-cheek, but only a bit. Eating together does great things for promoting community. Add in some prayer and a devotional message and it becomes similar to the early church observations. While we do not observe the Lord’s Supper at each meeting it does still help to build faith, fellowship, and community. I agree that Communion should be more than an in church ritual, that we should make it a part of our lives on a regular basis outside the four walls of a “sacred” building.

    • March 4, 2011 9:20 pm

      Thanks Mark, I to think its really important to eat together regularly and make communion part of the meal and its great if your church does this!

  2. March 4, 2011 6:10 pm

    A good reminder on the importance of a sacred ritual which helps keep our eyes on Jesus and remember the tremendous sacrifice of his violent death that was the instrument God used to display His mercy and compassion on a fallen world. Our church does communion once a month, though I know many churches do it every Sunday. Do you have any opinion as to how often a church should do communion? Just wondering.
    Great post.

    • March 4, 2011 9:18 pm

      Thanks Jessica, I think its difficult to place a number because the moment you do, it becomes a rule which I think is unhelpful. Scripture isn’t particular clear either but with a little reading between the lines, I get the impression that the church ate together everyday and had a special meal called ‘love feasts’ on Sundays. From this I take it they had, what we call communion, at least once a week if not more often but I’m not sure we can therefore say we ‘must’ have it that often. At my church we eat together once a month and as part of the meal we have communion but I think I would have it more often if we could.

      What do you think? How does your church celebrate communion?

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