Communing Apart

For some it started last Sunday, the rest of us will feel it for real on the first day of next week. Can we call it foregoing, rather than forsaking?  Because we love our neighbor, we are intentionally aborting all normal practices of hospitality.  This Sunday when we break bread, we will do it separate and apart from our normal community gatherings.

For many this causes sadness.  For all, it will feel different, awkward even.  Let me encourage you with the thought that in the practice of communion, we can still all be together.  Through the years, I have wrestled with the purpose of communion.  The question, “With whom am I communing?”  To clarify, I do not mean by that, “Who is my brother?”  I tend to practice a fairly wide view of kinship with Jesus followers.  My question in the past has been more about the “horizontal vs. vertical” aspects of the Lord’s Supper.

Of course, Lee Camp has helped me to sniff out the error of “false dichotomies.”  In spiritual matters, many things do not boil down to either/or.  When we meet around the table, we gather with the Lord, and also with other believers.  Our communion is certainly a time of fellowship with “both…and.”

Years ago, I heard John Mark Hicks speak on Hebrews 12:22-24.  The immediate context of the passage is God appearing to Moses on Mount Sinai, and the Hebrew author here speaks of what happens when we “come to God in worship.”  Just a couple of pages before we read, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25)  Now in Hebrews 12, the author is emphasizing the sacred value of our worship.  In particular, we are made aware of all who are present when we bring our offering of worship to God.  

Take a moment to read Hebrews 12:22-24:
But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God.  You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven.  You have come to God, the judge of all men, to spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

When we set our hearts and minds to worship God, we come near to Mount Zion, a place where God entered into human history, and to heaven, the culminating intersection of history and eternity.  We come near not only to God but to His church, both the living and those who have gone before us.  Take a moment to reread the passage and allow your soul to process the supernatural experience that communion truly is.

We sometimes say in our corporate communion experiences that we are not only breaking bread together, but we fellowship with believers around the globe and across the ages.  Do you believe that?  I do, but lately I have not taken the time to consider it.  This Sunday I will.  My family will gather around our kitchen table at some point in the day.  We will have grape juice and homemade bread (recipe below.)  The head of the Table will be Jesus, and through the Spirit we will be joined with believers across Cookeville, the Upper Cumberland, Tennessee, the United States, and from the far reaches of the Earth.  At the Table of the Lord, one is never alone.  Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

In Him,

Unleavened Honey Bread:
4 cups wheat flour                     1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup water                             1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup margarine (softened)
Combine ingredients in a bowl, Knead for a few minutes.  (If mixture seems dry add a little more water.)  Divide into two balls.  Flatten ball until it is about 1/2 inch thick.  Bake at 350, 25-30 minutes on an ungreased pan.  If this makes excess bread for your needs you can wrap the uncooked ball in plastic wrap and freeze for next week.
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