52 Angles on Communion

Here is a starter list of 52 aspects of the Lord’s Supper—different “angles” and scripture references to encourage varied meditations, ponderings, gratitudes, etc.  These are in no particular order.

  1. Looking backward in redemptive history
  2. Looking forward
    1. 1Cor 11:26
    2. The song “Till He Come”
    3. The expression “marana tha”
  3. Looking inward introspectively
    1. Gratitude
    2. Sin (Achan, Ananias & Sapphira, etc., connecting to the Body of Christ)
  4. Looking upward to the Lord
    1. Jesus cloaked in our sin (2 Cor 5:20-21)
    2. Jesus as Worthy One—Rev 5
  5. Looking outward to the rest of the Body of Christ
  6. Jesus as Lamb—1 Peter 1:17-21
  7. Jesus as Lion
  8. Jesus as King
  9. The suffering of Jesus
    1. Isaiah 53
    2. Gethsemane
    3. 1 Peter 2:18-25
  10. The constancy and consistency of the practice of the Lord’s Supper
  11. The methodological variety of the practice of the Lord’s Supper
  12. The serving aspect—John 13
  13. The receiving aspect—receiving both from a Christian sibling in a literal sense, and from Jesus in a spiritual sense
  14. Jesus as first-born from the dead—Rev 1:5
  15. Jesus as friend
  16. Jesus’ relationship with Peter, James, John and the rest
  17. Grace
  18. 1 Cor 11:17-34
  19. Eph 1:3f
  20. Eph 2:4-10f
  21. Phil 2:5-11
  22. Col 1:19-20
  23. Tit 3:4-7
  24. The cataclysmic significance of Jesus’ death (earthquake, temple curtain)
  25. Precursors in the OT (Passover is just one)
  26. The nature of bread as sustenance (& rice, tortillas, etc.?)
  27. The color of wine/grape juice (wonder what Jesus would think of white grape juice or cherry Kool-Aid, or a Pomegranate/Cranberry blend?)
  28. Partaking in a “worthy manner” (1 Cor 11)
  29. Cliques and de facto favoritistic dividing lines (Jas 2:1f and 1 Cor 11)
  30. Mundane, earthly aspects
    1. the large piece of bread that you mistakenly break off that makes you wonder if your neighbor is thinking “wow … he sure got a big piece there”—after all, no matter how big a piece you take, there’s always “plenty to go around”
    2. the tiny crumb you mistakenly scratch off—after all, just a little has the same significance
  31. The one cup & one “loaf”—and implications for the unity of the body of believers
  32. The broken bread and the many cups that enable partaking by the many—and implications about the inherent diversity and differences among all the believers
  33. Betraying and crucifying: Matthew 26-27, Mark 14-15, Luke 22-23, 18-19
  34. John’s gospel: 6:41-59 (Jesus as the new Moses—God’s intermediary/provider/source of life)
  35. John’s gospel: 14-17 (final sayings, comforts, and instructions)
  36. Songs and hymns (e.g., “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” or “When My Love To Christ Grows Weak” or “When We Meet in Sweet Communion” or “Why Did My Savior Come to Earth?” . . . and those are just a few from the Ws)
  37. A past mountaintop experience at a retreat or camp—many of us have strong memories from different types of communion-sharing that can and should be brought into regular practice
  38. An individual’s meaningful approach—some particularly striking, memorable way a person in your past used to introduce or speak soulfully of communion
  39. The very first time you (or your mate, or your child) ate the bread and drank the juice
  40. The unity and unifying aspects of communion (focusing on the –union part of the word and concept)
  41. The ancient places of communion: the upper room, the catacombs
  42. The contemporary places of communion: the church building you grew up in, a table, a campfire, etc.
  43. Jesus’ conflict with Satan (Matt. 4, Luke 4)
  44. The physical wounds Jesus endured
  45. The mental and spiritual agony Jesus endured, and/or the torture by envious, hateful humans
  46. The march to Golgotha—its emotive impact, its characters, its significance
  47. The history of the Roman cross—its use, its victims, and the implications of its use with Jesus (by God the Father)
  48. The history of the agape meal—Jude 12, James Walters’s study
  49. A particular person that needs redemption in order to commune in the future
  50. The once-for-all sacrifice—Hebrews 9
  51. The theology of “access” and immanence—Heb 10:19-26
  52. The mystery of the symbolism—we don’t have everything figured out

There is no reference to Acts 2:42/46 or Acts 20:7 in this list.  Though my study on this has been relatively scant, no one has ever convinced me that those references to “breaking bread” have anything directly to do with Christian communion.  On the other hand, since I take “breaking bread” in Acts to refer to meals that have heightened significance when shared among believers, I imagine that what we think of as “communion” often was a part of those meals.  Mealtime communion (a/k/a the agape or “love feast”) is a pattern commonly accepted by 1st-century historians.

© 2008-2015 Brian Casey

Permission is hereby granted to redistribute/reprint this page by any sincere believer who believes this will help the Kingdom of God.  I ask three things:  please don’t attempt to profit financially from this material, and please comment here (or write me privately) to let me know you’re using it.  Thank you.

Here also are links to some of my communion meditations and essays:

A confessional communion meditation

A chiastic communion prayer

Chiastic meditation

Lord’s Supper symbolisms

Maybe it was just me

The beginnings of communion

Communion Meditation (b) 1/15/2012: King Jesus

Communion Meditation (a) 1/15/2012: Your Love

A communion meditation:  a specific wow

Communion unbound