Danish TV Station TV2 recently published a short film entitled “All That We Share”, on their YouTube channel where they state “We live in a time where we quickly put people in boxes. Maybe we have more in common than what we think?”
Every month, most churches around the world celebrate Communion, and this video made me think about communion.
Communion can be a little box that is part of our lives. It can be a routine, in the latter part of the service on the first Sunday of the Month (my Church is rather radical, we hold it on the 2nd!).
Was Jesus giving us something routine, or giving us something transformational?
In our busy lives, getting to church can sometimes be an amazing feat, and there is something useful about routine, it is known, it is comforting, it is a known place, it can be a safe space, and sometimes the only safe space that on some occasions we see inside.
In the darkness’s of my life, that routine has been a saving grace.
But, very little about Jesus was routine, and I think with Communion we need to step outside of it being a routine event.
So what do I see as the connection between this Danish TV video and Communion.
I think the timing of this video in the context of the global political landscape is very interesting, with tension in Europe over refugees, with Brexit in the UK not about the economy but the ill-informed using Brexit as a referendum on people different to us and not the economy, with Australia pushing refugees trying to come to Australia out to foreign countries for processing to avoid its international obligation towards refuges, and President #45 of the USA trying to ban people from entering his country on religious grounds.
I think it is time for Christians to reflect on what communion may be about, what might be the radical thinking for Christians within the geopolitical landscape.
The video showed the modern clans of Denmark, which are not dissimilar to our own. The poor, the workers, the rich, the business elite, those we fear based on our imagination of their image, those we don’t know and know nothing about. Yet when questions were asked about life experiences, people came forward from pretty much all groups, except the single guy who responded to the question who was bi-sexual. What the video demonstrated that there is more that connects us, than divides and disconnects us.
What was also most interesting, out of this group there was only one bi-sexual person, and yet he was applauded. I would not expect that this group would have done that in the past, however, having realised their similarities, already being made aware of those that had been hurt by others, he was rewarded for his honesty and bravery, because people were getting the message that there is more in common with each other, and the differences don’t mean very much. He was not a threat to them at all.
When it comes to communion, we are reminded of the Passover Meal, that Jesus spoke when he broke the break and shared it, and raise the cup and shared it asking those to take the meal to remember him.
This was a motley crew of disciples, fishermen, tax collectors, possibly a nobleman and a treasurer. Each was very different, and yet each called to walk with Jesus.
At this special occasion, and around it Jesus was aware that one would betray him, and another would lie about knowing him. Yet Jesus included them all in this meal.
“This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” Luke 22: 19(b)-20 NRSV
At the table Jesus included all he had with him in the meal knowing what was ahead and how those around him would respond.
“The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.” 1Cor 10:16-17 NRSV
In our communion setting, we do not hear Jesus or Paul saying, come and eat, except for the black, or except for the pregnant teenager, or except for the LGBTIQ person, or except for the disabled, or except for the refugee, or except for the poor, or except for the ……..
When you next have Communion in your church, my prayer for you is to think inside, Jesus calls us to love one another as we love ourselves. (“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”) Matt 22:36-40 NRSV
So who are the people; in your heart, in your community, in your society, that you are excluding (silently or explicitly) from the Communion Table and from our communion with life?
Jesus is calling us to be people who are All That We Share. If we are alert to those that we exclude, we may be more able to welcome those that we and our political leaders are encouraging us to exclude, which is the opposite of Jesus’ call to us, and take the first step to welcoming them in.
Will you be open to the transformational power of Jesus at your next communion to welcome rather than exclude?