One of the questions I am often asked is, “Why do we do communion every week?” It’s a great question, especially as Origins exists in a culture where that isn’t normal. The incomplete answer is that I like it. The better answer is that we need it.
We shape our habits, but then our habits shape us. As I get older my eating habits are giving my body a shape I’m not too pleased with. In too many areas of my life, I am not intentional enough about what I let influence me. I watch things that don’t nourish my soul. I buy things I don’t need. I eat things that harm my body. And over time these repeated decisions become habits, and these habits make me me into the person that I am.
Communion is a revolution against my normal thought patterns and a reorientation of my whole life. In it I focus on what is essential.
I learn to be thankful, that every good thing I have is a gift. In this meal I experience the God who not only gives me life and breath and all good things, but the God who fully gives me Himself.
Through this meal I experience unconditional love from a perfect God who loved me first and loves me better than I’m able to love Him back.
At the table I learn that my identity isn’t in what I earn or produce but in my adoption as Jesus’ brother and one of God’s children.
In communion I am told that I am not alone, but that the living God is present with me. And that I am not even alone with Him, but am part of a body and come to Him with countless other people like me and different from me.
In communion I learn that what I’ve received, I am now able to give.
I learn that the brokenness we experience in this world is temporary, and that Jesus is coming back to restore His creation.
In communion I learn God has hope for us and places great value in us.
In communion I learned how Jesus treated His enemies and betrayers.
In communion I learn that God is inviting me into the story that he is telling, and I’m learning that I’m not the center of that story.
In the end the question, “Why do we do communion every week?” is a good one, but maybe a better one is “Why do we not do communion every hour?”
In a world that tells me my worth is in what I produce, this meal tells me that the most precious thing I possess was a gift and that my identity is wrapped up in what I’ve received and who God calls me.