This psalm Sunday night service was one of a solemn occasion as communion was observed. Earlier when the bread was place in its serving bowl I noticed that the bread was a round loaf of the dinner roll variety. And even though I would gladly serve this beautifully shaped loaf of bread on my dinner table, something about the bread struck my spirit as being wrong for the communion table and it prevented me from taking communion.
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." 1 Corinthians 11:24-25
The key to taking communion is to take communion in remembrance of Jesus our Lord in his death and resurrection. Within the bread and wine are some visual and mental examples that are symbolically associated with Our Lord. The bread and wine are the elements of communion given to us to reflect upon which symbolically refer our thoughts to the life of our Savior. The bread and wine were the staple food throughout the history of Israel and were used to demonstrate Godís desire to be with his people.
The story of communion is seen in Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine to meet Abram returning from battle, as showbread of the tabernacle or the presence of God in life. The death of Egyptís first born that ultimately referred to the death on the cross of the first born son. It also speaks of redemption and coming messiah in the Passover meal along with the promise to drink it anew in fatherís kingdom. Each picture represents delivery from oppression and a covenant of peace with God.
Later that night it struck me as to what was wrong about the bread used in this particular communion service. Try to imagine bread higher than your hand is wide that was suspiciously taller than the traditional communion bread. Anyone who has baked bread for any length of time knows that any bread higher than two fingers was made with yeast. Yeast alters the condition of bread causing the loaf to rise being puff up with air pockets and although the bread maybe more appealing to the eye and palate, yeast normally saturates the entire loaf.
The bible explains that Jesus Christ was the Holy One of God (Luke 4:34, Acts 4:27, 30) and without sin (Hebrews 4:15) a man with no sin (2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 Peter 2:22, 1 John 3:5.) Being a sin less person gave Jesus the perfect credentials to become the Lamb of God that could take the sins of the world away. He was the example of God for men to see and the life man could model his life from. However the bread of communion made with yeast is not a suitable symbol because it does not represent the sinless Lamb of God. To the contrary, yeast is symbolic of sin and representative of the corruption mankind indulges in and the sin man is corrupted with that makes mankind unfit in Godís eye.
The Pharisees spoke of the manna as the bread of God sent from Heaven which sustained Israel for forty years in the dessert. Jesus spoke of being the true bread from heaven sent by God to give life to the world and declared that he was the Bread of Life (John 6:35, 48). To explain this further he said those who ate manna in the dessert died but those who eat the living bread sent down by the father will live forever.
The purpose of communion is to proclaim the Lordís death until he comes (1 Corinthians 11:26). We also proclaim that this bread of Life (Jesus) represents his unblemished body to God (Hebrews 9:14) as a sacrifice. We also recognize that the body of Christ was offered as a substitutionary sin offering that atoned for our sin. At the same time we should recognize that we have become the body of Christ in the New Testament age and should avoid sin in any form. Letís also remember that Paul said a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough (Galatians 5:9).
By the same token we were purchased with his blood the blood of the New Testament covenant that was poured out for the remission of sin. In addition the bible tells us that there can be no forgiveness of sin without the shedding of blood (Hebrews 9:22). Therefore we should remind ourselves that our sins have been forgiven because of the atoning grace of Jesus our redeemer. According to tradition the cup used by Jesus in the Passover was the cup of redemption which referred to being set free from the bondage of Egypt and in the New Testament covenant freedom from the slavery of sin. The wine represents the lambís blood showing that death occurred and used to atone for manís sin.
1 Corinthians 6:20, tells us that you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. You are not your own but servants of the one who died to reconcile you to God. In a nut shell the communion ceremony should not only show the death of our Savior until he comes for us but the commitment of love made before the beginning of time to save our souls from the corrupting effect of sin. Taking the wine of communion should remind each of us of the commitment we made to remain in his service and serve our fellow man. He denied himself and gave his life so others could live. (John 15:13)
Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's kingdom." Matthew 26:27-29
We also have a promise that our Savior will drink the fruit of the wine in his fatherís kingdom with a good probability it will occur at the wedding supper of the Lamb of God. Then we will drink our fill face to face with our Lord.