Agape Meal

What is the authentic version of communion: sharing small cups and pieces of bread that are passed to us in our seats, or walking up to the communion table for a piece of bread that you dip in a cup? Or is the real communion served with wafers and wine? If by authentic you mean original to the church, then the answer is none of the above.

The best understanding of what the first Christians did was that they imitated Jesus. They actually ate a meal. The “People of the Way” as the Jesus’ first followers were called, would meet on the Sabbath evening to share a meal and talk about what Jesus meant to them. They were predominantly Jewish and would attend traditional services in the morning and then secretly meet to discuss their controversial messiah at night.

It was only when the church began to be popular that communion became a commemoration of the last supper, rather than an actual supper. As with most of our religious practices we ritualize our practices in order to capture of the feeling of the event, but we don’t actually do the thing itself. To use another example–the early Christians also shared all their belongings, whereas we give a small portion of our material goods to support the church and help others.

This Sunday we will seek to have a more direct experience of the first followers early worship. Our communion will be an “Agape Meal” in which we will sit at tables and share food while talking about Jesus and his impact on our lives. You will find the sanctuary filled with tables and chairs on Sunday and we will share a simple meal. By this we may experience the supper, not just remember it. I hope you can join us.

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