Partaking of the Light

Partaking of communion is as old as Christianity itself. Through the process of sheer repetition we can lose sight of the beauty of its deeper meaning. In reality, we can have experienced communion or the Holy Eucharist dozens of times and never understood its real meaning or significance.

In Christianity, the focus, historically, of the whole service is concentrating on the forgiveness of sins, the washing away of sin by partaking of the emblems of the wine and the bread. There is, however, far more symbolized by these emblems than the cleansing from sin. Looking back at the life of Christ during his ministry we gain glimpses into the deeper meaning and knowing of the water, the wine, and the bread.

While in Galilee, Jesus had just fed five thousand with a small sack lunch. (Read the story in John 6) The next day the religious leaders were present, pushing Jesus to provide another sign and miracle. Moses had provided manna from heaven daily for 40 years they said, they wanted more proof the Jesus was sent from God.

Jesus’ response is to tell them that he is the bread sent down from heaven. In order to be part of God’s new kingdom they must “eat his fresh and drink his blood”. Here we are given the meaning to the emblems that are given at “the last supper”. Jesus is teaching the principle of the indwelling Christ as a means of transformation. A spiritual life—a changed life is only possible when Christ lives within.

This teaching caused many to turn away from Jesus as the Messiah because he spoke of a transformed, new life. The person must, as Paul later wrote, become a new creation. The old must pass away, the new is a person that dies to the old nature of clinging to power and control through the forms of ego and materialism and relinquishes control to an indwelling Christ and the power of Spirit.

The old paradigm is one of ego, materialism and glamour; the new paradigm is one of service to the desires and control of Spirit. To partake of the communion emblems we are reminded of the need to not only make verbal assent to a belief in Christ, but that we must make Christ our very bread and substance. It is about total transformation.

When we limit our focus to a cleansing from sin, we miss the power that is available in Christ to live a new life. It can be compared to the parable of the man cleansed from an evil spirit. The spirit returns finding the house clean and swept but totally empty. He goes out seeking seven of his friends and returns making the man’s condition seven times worse than before.

To be cleansed or released from attachments that entrap us is truly a miraculous and beautiful gift, but to leave the life empty or un-transformed is to be worse off than before. The indwelling of Christ’s Spirit is essential to live a new life. Otherwise the walk of the Christian is one of self-delusion. Delusion because one sees that their only need is relief from a guilty conscious but blindness as to the need for a new heart and source of power.

This leads us into a powerful understanding of the true meaning of surrender. When we come to Christ, whether in personal quietness within our hearts or at the communion table, we are in essence surrendering into power. We give over or surrender control over our lives from the perspective of ego (our little self) to be led and controlled by Spirit (our higher self). This is a transaction that ultimately gives us the only power worth having.

What compels us to surrender our own ego to a higher power except that we are drawn, almost as if by intoxication by the love of the One who would give everything in order to draw us into a new form and way of Being? The wine when viewed as the blood of Christ given in love helps us to realize that when we take in the wine of God’s love as seen in the life of Christ, we are truly intoxicated by the taking in of it. We are transformed.

The bread when viewed as the life of Christ given in tireless service to others becomes the substance of our own giving in service to the world. The ministry and uplifting of humanity becomes our passion, as it was the passion displayed in the life of Christ.

As food is assimilated into the body after it is eaten and becomes a part of the energy and life of the person, so it is that when we take in the love and life of the living Christ, that he becomes a part of our energy and passion. We embody the light and presence of Christ. When filled with the Spirit we embody the light and power of Christ.