What is Communion?

What is Communion?

by Claire Berger

Lent is a fitting time to explore the gathering of people to hear the Word of God preached and receive bread and wine. This last part goes by a few names: the Eucharist; the Lord’s Supper; communion . . . And while different groups of Christians have believed different things about exactly what it is and what it does, the science of it, this practice established by Jesus fosters gratitude, community, a longing for a future feast to come—Christianity believes history ends with a feast. The Eucharist in Greek means “giving thanks,” and this is the mysterious texture of it. 

Makers get the best seat in the house when it comes to the connection of science and texture. Blaine Davis wasn’t a baker, he wasn’t a builder, but he had a love for food and for the gifts of God. And he was hungry for community. So he bought a book called, The Bread Builders, and mastered the science of bread as he built a bread oven, brick by brick, in his backyard by the garage. He would later watch as mere flour, water, leaven and salt didn’t just have the a crackly crust and a spongy crumb, but also a texture of mystery as common elements became laughter, joy, and friendship when people gathered to eat his food.

On Sundays City Church meets and hears the good news of Jesus from an ancient book, and we break bread and drink wine together. The Maker of the earthy gifts of bread and wine makes his real spiritual presence known in this meal. Our own tables have the texture of mystery. There is a chemistry formula for how to bake bread and make wine. But there is still something hard to explain about what they can do.

We believe God uses common elements, bread and wine (we serve gluten free bread and serve a grape juice option alongside the wine) in an embodied and communal experience. With others we hear his body is broken and his blood is shed for us. And when life doesn’t feel like a joyous feast—when a loved one is sick; when a situation feels hopeless—we can look forward in hope to the feast to come, and there will be laughter, joy, and friendship when we all eat again with Jesus. So we gather, and we feast, and we hope, and we give thanks for Christ’s presence and his work in our lives and in the world. Join us at City Church this Sunday to hear how feeding upon Christ in Holy Communion strengthens our faith and nourishes our knowledge of him.