Meditations at Communion
A meditation at communion is when the minister or priest speaks before Holy Communion. It is his goal to distill into a few words as possible the importance of the rite. The meditation is not meant to be a sermon, but rather a way to help the congregation focus on Jesus and the meaning of the Last Supper. He or she may speak about sacrifice, willingness to follow Jesus, and the purpose of the Holy Communion. T
hey may even speak of how the rite personally affects them. Meditations may either be written by the speaker or may be taken directly from the Bible. The congregation may then reflect on how the rite affects them as they meditate after Holy Communion.
The Lord’s Supper
Communion is a way for everyone in a church to share and remember a very important event. The focus should be on Jesus and His sacrifice and how he treated his followers. While there are many scripture readings and meditations that could be touched upon during communion, it is important to speak in particular about the Lord’s Supper.
According to Ken Gosnell, a minister, the focus should be on Jesus as a real person during meditation. Parishioners should remember that He was their savior and how He has touched them personally in their everyday lives. As a reminder to His apostles at the last supper, Jesus said to them, “Do this in remembrance of me.”
Short Communion Meditations
-From the time we were little fries, our parents and everyone else reminded us to watch for traffic when crossing any street or even a parking lot. “Always look both ways before you cross!” was the common warning. “You don’t want to be hit by a car” so went the rest.
-I want to give you a similar warning today. “Always look both ways before you take the Lord’s Supper!”
-In the same way we were warned to look first to prevent being injured by an oncoming vehicle, the Apostle Paul warned the Christians in Corinth, “…whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord…”
-We might paraphrase his words this way, “Look both ways before you eat and drink. Look upward in reverent fear and respect. Then look inward. See yourself clearly, check for pride and any evil in you. If you don’t look both ways, you are guilty of yet another sin, and you will die!”
-There is no part of our worship that brings us as close to heaven as communion. But its blessing is lost if we don’t “look before we cross…”
-“Take, eat, this is my body, which is given for you.” We’ve heard these words many times. But did you know those words were commonly used in Jesus’ day as part of a wedding ceremony? Say what?
-The man in this ceremony was saying to the woman, “Eat this bread. It represents how I pledge my body and my life to you. My solemn promise to you is that I will protect you, defend you, and provide for you. I give my body to you.”
-The disciples, having heard these words at weddings many times, were no doubt puzzled when the Master used them with no bride or groom or wedding party in sight.
-They were not puzzled after Jesus left them, though. Just before He ascended in a cloud to heaven, He promised something else, with the words, “I am with you always. Even to the end of the world.”
-Jesus Christ is our “husband”, He’s our provider, our protector, our shield, our shelter. This bread we eat is His promise to us, His covenant guarantee. By this bread, He says, “I do.”
-As we take the bread today, I’d like for each person to say these words… “I do.”
-In our younger years we lived in Hastings, Nebraska. Our children were early grade school age then. Not too far from the high school baseball field was fast food restaurant called Runza. They made a mixture of hamburger, cabbage, onions and other spices and baked it in a roll. It looked like a long john pastry, except a little wider. The children used to ask if we’d take them to Runza. I was an easy sale. I always wanted mine should be with cheese. It was like a piece of heaven for a German like me to slather some mustard on and savor the tastiness of a Runza…
-We moved from Nebraska to Oregon, where there are no Runza restaurants… Not too long ago, we decided we’d try to make a casserole as close to a Runza as possible. The result? Memories… With every delicious, mustard-covered bite I relived those days in Nebraska with our children, playing in the yard, throwing snowballs at each other, singing songs around the piano…it provided a virtual flood of precious memories.
-Jesus, at that last supper, gave the disciples a memorial… Something to eat, something to drink – as reminders of Him. Can you imagine those disciples, for all the rest of their lives, every time they took the unleavened bread and juice, the memories of Jesus came flooding back over them. They remembered that last meal together before His crucifixion. They remembered His washing their feet that night, they remembered His miracles, His teaching, His instruction, His promises, His horrifying death… His fantastic resurrection… His ascension…
-“Do this in remembrance of me.”
Do not forget
-Moses was about to be finished with his 120-year-long life. He had already received the news from God that he would not be accompanying the Israelites as they crossed the Jordan River into the promised land.
-That’s how Deuteronomy came about. Of its 34 chapters, more than 30 are the “Second Telling of the Law” which is what Deuteronomy means. Moses was preaching to the people over and over not to forget God, giving them reason upon reason upon reason upon reason to remember, remember, remember…
-Let’s listen in to Moses’ message in chapter 8 “Observe the commands of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and revering him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land – a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills. When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God…”
-We live in the United States of America. It’s a good land. “Oh, beautiful, for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain…” God has blessed our nation. God has blessed us by giving us all we need, and more.
-“When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God…Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God.” The words of the old leader Moses we hear again loud and clear.
-That’s why Jesus gave His disciples this memorial – this simple, plain remembrance that we take each first day of the week, because we need help in weekly increments, “Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God.” “Do this,” Jesus said to His disciples, “in remembrance of me.”
Individual Meditation in Church
After the minister or priest reads the communion meditation, the Holy Communion begins. How the bread and wine is distributed varies by denomination. Once everyone receives communion, individual meditation can begin.
Meditating in church isn’t very different from meditation at home, with the exception that individuals are either sitting or kneeling. It is a time to reflect on one’s walk with Jesus and what he gave up for us. Music may be played at this time to help people focus on the occasion, or it may be entirely quiet in the church. People may bow their heads and close their eyes to block out distractions and it is important to remain quiet during this time to avoid bothering others who are meditating.
Communion Meditations Online
It is easy to locate communion meditations online, both for ministers and to read as worshippers. Websites that offer meditations related to communion include:
- Lifeway – offers a variety of articles, sermons and communion meditations for ministers and congregation members.
- Joyful Heart – offers key Last Supper passages for use in the meditation as well as a free 10-week course on the Lord’s Supper: Communion and Eucharist Meditations for Disciples.
- Becoming Closer – provides a yearlong list of meditations that can be used during Holy Communion.
- Edward Fudge – download responsive communion meditation and prayers for church or personal use.
- One in Jesus – offers over a dozen unique meditations that can be used by ministers.
While most types of meditation are done individually, at church a congregation does it as a group. Everyone is usually meditating about the same thing: Jesus and the connection He wants to have with all of us. He shared His last supper with His apostles and wanted them to remember Him each time they shared supper together. Today, Christians still honor this tradition every Sunday during Holy Communion.