THE TRADITION OF PASSOVER

Communion, a Christian rite or ordinance, involves the eating of bread and drinking of wine in remembrance of Jesus’ sacrifice and death on the cross. The bread is believed to symbolically represent Jesus’ body, while the wine is referred to as a symbol of his blood.

Communion, also known as ‘the Lord’s supper’ or ‘the table of the Lord’ was instituted by Jesus Christ himself, the night before he was crucified. Gathered with his 12 closest disciples, he was celebrating with them the annual Jewish commemorative meal called ‘passover’, an event which was intended to remind the Jews of their deliverance from slavery in Egypt, many years before. Part of the original passover events involved the killing of a sacrifical lamb, whose blood was then painted around the doors of each Israelite household. When the Angel of Death went throughout Egypt, killing the firstborn, he would see the blood and ‘pass over’ that house’, sparing all those who were inside.

 Passover was a festive meal, celebrating Jewish freedom from bondage but it was also a powerful metaphor for a greater story of deliverance that God would one day enact on behalf of the world. It told the important and significant story about Jesus, long before his arrival, and the work that he would come to do of behalf of humanity – the story of redemption.

Jesus uses this commemorative passover meal, already 1,500 years old by this time and full of ancient symbology and meaning, to institute what he calls ‘a new covenant’. (Mark 14:24, Luke 22:20, Hebrews 7:22). We know this new covenant by many different names today, such as ‘the breaking of bread’, ‘the table of the Lord’, ‘communion’, ‘the eucharist’, or ‘the Lord’s supper’.

“DO THIS IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME”

Disciples of Jesus – Christians – have continued to celebrate this new covenant since that time, through the participation together of communion, the eating of bread and the drinking of wine ‘in remembrance of Jesus’ (Luke 22:18-20). Through something as simple as bread and wine, Christians are reminded of God’s promise of deliverance and of their forgiveness and freedom gifted through Jesus’ sacrifice. It is a tangible witness to the transforming power of the Gospel in people’s lives and the faithfulness of an eternal God.

It’s significant that Jesus connects the institution of communion – which speaks of his sacrifice and death, motivated by love – with the importance of his followers showing his love by loving one another.

Sharing the meal of communion powerfully connects each member of the church to one another as they acknowledge their commonality in Jesus, who is the life force that unites the church. For this reason, we believe in the power and significance of the local community of believers and the necessity of believers to meet regularly together for the ‘breaking of bread’.

“Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins.” Hebrews 9:14-15

We welcome at the table of the Lord anyone who professes belief in the gospel of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15) and who has demonstrated that belief by repenting and having been baptised (fully immersed in water) (Acts 2).