One of the issues in the Church of England is the importance of Holy Communion. As someone who grew up in a community with communion at its heart, I have always believed in the centrality of this act of worship. But I’ve been re-evaluating this in lockdown, as we (at least in Church of England communities) have not been allowed to have services of Holy Communion over Zoom for example.
Two main reasons – Firstly you need an ordained priest to consecrate/bless the bread and wine. And secondly, you need a physically gathered community.
Now instead of bemoaning this, (which I did for a few weeks) I’ve been thinking about this practice that is at the heart of my church worship.
For example – what we now experience in sharing bread and wine is far removed from the meal that Jesus shared with his disciples. Admittedly the practice of just having a small piece of bread and a sip of wine does go back a long way – 2nd Century ?
But … for Jesus and the disciples it was the traditional Passover meal that they shared. A proper meal. And from other parts of the New Testament it’s clear that this was the way they first remembered Jesus – by sharing in a communal meal.
Many thousands of scholarly words have been written about this. Did Jesus intend us to remember him in the way we typically do now ? He clearly commanded his followers to remember him in some way that had bread and wine at its heart. But could that be through sharing table fellowship ? Would that count ?