The Lord’s Supper is mentioned in the Bible in a number of different ways. Some of the most common words used to refer to it include:
- Communion: This word comes from the Latin word “communio,” which means “sharing.” Communion is a way for Christians to share in the body and blood of Jesus Christ.
- Eucharist: This word comes from the Greek word “eucharistia,” which means “thanksgiving.” The Eucharist is a way for Christians to give thanks to God for the gift of Jesus Christ.
- Lord’s Supper: This is the most common name for the sacrament. It refers to the fact that the meal was instituted by Jesus Christ himself.
- Breaking of bread: This phrase is used in the Bible to describe the act of sharing bread. In the context of the Lord’s Supper, it refers to the sharing of the body of Christ.
- Feast of the Lord: This name is used in the Bible to refer to the Passover meal, which Jesus celebrated with his disciples on the night before his crucifixion. The Lord’s Supper is seen as a fulfillment of the Passover meal.
No matter what name is used, the Lord’s Supper is a sacred meal that is central to the Christian faith. It is a way for Christians to remember the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and to receive his grace and forgiveness. For the purpose of this post, I will refer to it as communion unless necessity requires a different word.
This post actually requires an explanation of why I believe some things are not as important as they are made out to be. At first, the faith was simple and understood spiritually. See 1 Cor 2:14, reading the entire chapter for context. For this reason, it was easily understood by people who lacked formal education and worked from sun up to sun down just to survive. As time went on a class of educated people became more interested in the granular details.
For example, communion started as a simple reminder of the broken body and blood of Christ spilled for our sins. See Mark 14:22-25 As time went on and the philosopher class became interested in the teachings of the Christian faith. A never-ending series of arguments arose about whether the bread and wine were to be understood literally or figuratively.
The Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 AD settled the argument for the Roman Catholic Church. (See also the United States Conference of Bishops). Along with these types of Councils, there were decrees on how to deal with Heretics. They outlined how to treat both clergy and regular people who held views counter to the Council. These were violent and ungodly times in the history of what calls itself “the church”. Punishments for disagreeing or even being unsure were severely dealt with.
People reading this should understand that I do not judge the true body of Christ (the real church which is invisible and not a denomination). I do however wonder how anyone or group who claims to be in Christ could torture poor souls in the name of Christ. That includes centuries later when reformers were doing it to Roman Catholics and each other. I am not singling out the RCC for these anti-Christian acts.
Some may say these were different times. That is true. Who knows how you or I would have reacted in those days? That does not change the fact that these acts were ungodly and Jesus Christ would not approve. Yet, there was a time before Christ when whole armies were sent by God to wipe out every man, woman, and child. See Joshua 11:15. However, this was not over minor misunderstandings or differences among brothers.
As a retired military member I can best explain my view this way. There is an enemy you must destroy in war and it is not pleasurable. It is necessary. However, the US Army does not turn on the other branches and vice versa. We are one regardless of our differences. The Old Testament examples of war are not the same as the ungodly practice of Christian brothers killing brothers.
Are we not united in Jesus Christ? If so then let each have their opinion about things. In the end, God will be the Judge. Jesus was very clear about this in Matthew 13:24-30. That is the parable of the weeds.
There will be more differences among Christians as time goes on. History has proven that. We may think the Roman Catholic Church is united. It is not. The doctrine may be but the clergy and members (what I consider to be the real invisible church) differ over many issues. The more any group insists that you believe everything their way the more it leads to division. A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.
In conclusion, there are legitimate ways to differ on things regarding aspects of the faith. There is only one legitimate way to view Jesus Christ. That is the sole thing that binds us. Do not justify ungodly actions and thoughts about others in His name. Isaiah 5:20. Since Jesus said to love your neighbor as yourself we should also remember 1 Corinthians 13:4