Communion: The Backstory Our Reformation Roots

Matthew 27:17-30                                                                          7.21.19

Today is part three of our summer sermon series on Communion.  You can find the previous sermons on our church website.  We began by exploring the Passover roots of the last supper Jesus had with his disciples.  It was the ancient Jewish meal which shaped the traditional sharing of the bread and the cup to remember the sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf.  Then last week we learned from the apostle Paul that in the early Christian church, before sanctuaries and steeples, the Lord’s Supper was shared in homes around the dinner table.

Today we are jumping forward about 1400 years to the time of the Protestant Reformation.  Our current communion practices stem from our reformed tradition, so this morning we will dig a bit into how they were shaped back in the 1500’s as groups of church leaders began to question some of the practices and doctrines of the Roman Catholic church.  Any time people come in with new ideas and practices the atmosphere can get stormy.  The Reformation was a time of religious upheaval, heated discussions and strong language that we cringe at in the ecumenical environment we live in today.  I am very aware of the Roman Catholic connections that many of us have today, and that we have visitors from a nearby Catholic School with us this morning!   Generally speaking, most Protestants and Catholics get along quite well in the sandbox of life today.  But 500 years ago, it was very important for our Reformed forefathers (and they were all men at the time) Continue reading “Communion: The Backstory Our Reformation Roots”

Communion:  The Backstory—Early Church Roots

1 Cor. 11:17-34       7.14.19

It was a community meal, a tradition in Greek culture, very familiar across much of the Roman empire in the first days of the Christian church.  So the church in Corinth, made up of Greeks and not Jews, included the Lord’s Supper when they gathered for a community meal.  It reminds me of the way we have been celebrating the Last Supper of Jesus with his disciples on Maundy Thursday for the last several years, gathered around tables, with a shared dinner that includes the breaking of the symbolic bread and the drinking of the symbolic cup as a part of the community meal.

It also reminds me of our pot-luck dinners, where all come together to gather around a common table, each one offering some part of the meal.  But then it doesn’t.  Because this practice in Corinth did not make room for all at the table. Continue reading “Communion:  The Backstory—Early Church Roots”