(This is a communion meditation shared at my local church. I hope it can encourage your heart with the gospel of grace in Jesus.)
When we think about Communion we often talk about who Jesus is and what he has done for us individually. In light of today’s message, we should also think about the corporate dimension we celebrate in communion. What promises does God make to us as a body when we eat and drink? What are we saying and acknowledging to one another when we partake?
The Lord’s Supper is a communitymeal. It brings the New Covenant people around one table where we can look each other in the eye as united-by-grace equals. All of us have nothing apart from Christ. All of us are knit together because we have been rescued by Christ. All of us are sinners with nothing to boast about except the lavish grace we’ve received. This common ground leads us to a shared table.
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin…If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:7, 9).
John says what disrupts fellowship and breeds isolation is unconfessed sin. Sin keeps us in the dark and being in the dark keeps us from fellowship. We’re tempted to duck back into the shadows and hide from the light. The closer we get to people and the more light that shines on us the more they’ll see how ugly and broken we really are. We’re tempted to avoid being honest with one another about our sin and deny our need for grace, when it’s our sinfulness and reliance upon the grace of Jesus that unites us in the first place.
However, rightly understanding the freeness and the fullness of the gospel teaches us that we have no reason to hide. A gospel of grace frees us from the fear created by living according to performance and works. We bring all our sin, our shame, our failings, our regretful thoughts and deeds, and Jesus pays for every last bit of it.
Honesty about our sin paired with faith in the power of the gospel allows us to move into the light rather than feeling trapped in our hidden darkness. We don’t put on any pretended goodness but we admit how wretched, messy, and sinful we are. We step into the light by confessing our sin and saying Jesus is the one who was so perfect and pure that I can be entirely washed. We don’t have to withdraw or scatter out of fear that our sins will find us out. We walk in the light honestly and humbly bringing our sins to the cross and saying we have been found out, now forgive us Lord.
This is the freedom of the gospel. We can actually rejoice in being “found out” as fallen sinners because from that place of brokenness we find full forgiveness in Jesus. Because we now know everything we have is of grace and the only thing we have to boast of is Christ, we can boldly walk in the light together as redeemed people.
And this is not just my story, but this is your story and all of our stories if we’ve placed our faith in Jesus. This walking in the light as people who confess their sin and now seek to follow Jesus unites us. Grace is the glue keeping God’s people together. This morning as we drink the cup and eat the bread we do so together as those confessing we are sinners whose joy is in the Savior who cleanses us from all our sin.
If you have not yet trusted in Jesus as Lord, I’d encourage you not to take the bread and cup but to pass it on. Even though this meal is not for you today this is the right place for you to be. It’s a place where you are loved and where we hope to see you come to taste the freedom and forgiveness that only Jesus offers. For those in Christ, take time during this next song to lay down any sin and find freedom in the forgiveness Jesus has given you. As you pass the plate to the person next to you remember that we do so as one body whose only hope is the grace of Jesus Christ. This is our corporate story and the only story we have worth telling as we go into the world.
As Jesus sends us out into the world, and into our city in particular, we go out together. And we go out together with arms linked because each of us know there’s nothing special about us other than the body and blood of Jesus covering us. The grace we receive in Christ, which is the grace we take in again by faith as we take communion, is shared grace uniting us as we then go out on mission into the world. We go out with the taste of juice and bread still on our tongue so that we don’t forget we are a forgiven people, a cleansed people, a grace-ingesting people. We are free and have nothing to hide because the full forgiveness in Jesus allows us to walk in the light. As God’s people who walk and live in light we then can offer a compelling witness to a world in darkness.