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Unified Presence: An Encouraging Approach to the Act of Communion

Bread and Wine on Communion Table

COVID and the current state of the presence in Communion

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 restrictions, churches everywhere have had to adapt their weekly practices. My local church, like many, enacted many safety measures in order to keep their congregations safe. 

One difficult impact from these guidelines was the disappearance of the Communion act—also called the Eucharist. These new safety restrictions caused churches to evaluate their practice of Communion. Many churches, including my own, paused their participation in order to keep their congregations safe.

While this was a decision based on safety, it was a relief and joy for many when churches started reintroducing the blessing of Communion back into their worship. 

For me, this came just recently, and to be honest, it was refreshing in a multitude of ways. 

This expression of faith, while practiced in many different ways, is a universal act done by the church to express their devotion and identity to Christ’s heavenly Kingdom. It is a beautiful and divine opportunity for the people of God to partake in. 

As we uncover the beauty of the Communion table, we should do so in light of our current state—the era of COVID-19.

A time divided

Before the pandemic started, many us may have claimed the world was divided. Yet this reality was only further revealed after the COVID restrictions went into place during the lockdown of March 2020. 

Looking back, it is clear to see how “social distancing” has divided us to a breaking point.

We see it in our politics. There is no middle ground. Red or Blue, and the wrong answer is grounds for verbal altercation (or worse).

We see it in our churches. To mandate masks or not. “You don’t have faith!” “You don’t care for those around you!”

We see it in the way our society treats others different from us.

We see all around us. COVID-19 has driven division to the brink of breaking everything open. 

We are divided in so many different ways.


How can we begin to bridge these divides? How can we approach this division?

The presence of Christ in the act of Communion

The obvious place to start is more than likely the best. 

It would be wise for believers to start to answer those questions with the presence of Jesus. Thankfully, now that many churches are beginning to partake in Communion again, we can have this discussion. 

How does participation in Communion seek to heal the division we see right now?

Communion begins to heal the divides among us because at its core, Communion is a unifying act for the people of God. 

As yourself, “Why do I take Communion?”

Hopefully, your answer displays some aspect of remembering Christ and his sacrifice, uniting with Christ in preparation and anticipation for his return, or to declare his Lordship and victory as the unified “body” of Christ. These are all valid reasons to partake of the Eucharist (think thanksgiving or grateful). 

While some protestants do not acknowledge Christ to be present in the elements [bread and wine (or grape juice)] they do see communion as a spiritual act. 

However, I would like to suggest that the believer has much more to gain than lose should they believe and experience Christ miraculously present in the Communion table. 

As my fellow radical and friend, Corbin White, asks, “Have you ever felt the presence of God specifically during the Act of Communion?” Hopefully, most of you can say yes. I would like to suggest that Jesus is present with us as we approach the Communion Table. 

How amazing would it be if Christ’s presence is in and around us each time we partake? I think that is realty for those who are open to Christ and his presence. 

The early church of the first and second century would have thought of the Communion elements in direct correlation to the body and blood of Jesus. 

For my fellow Pentecostal believers, do we really believe the Spirit of Christ to be ever present in our midst except in the act of Communion? The Spirit saturates our service until we break the bread? Once that happens, the bread and grape juice are simply meaningful objects to eat without any supernatural presence involved. Communion is the only aspect of our service with is merely mental and memorial instead of living and experiential. If we really believe the Spirit to be present in our service we should welcome the real presence of Christ to inhabit the Communion experience. 

We need not fully comprehend Christ’s words “This is my body…” just as we will never truly understand the mystery of his atoning sacrifice. A large portion of the Christian faith is a “miracle.” Hence, why faith is important for the believer. 

The presence of Christ at the Communion table is yet another example of the divine mystery; a mystery in which we can actively see the revelation of God’s majesty and beauty.  

Unity in Communion because of the presence

Let’s imagine that Christ is in fact present when we partake of Communion. When we partake, we then are both symbolically and experientially unified with Christ as a realized member of his “body.” When we eat the bread and drink from the cup, we ARE a part of the “body of Christ.”

Thus, upon our participation, we are made one with the living Christ through his body and his blood. We are one with Christ, and the Communion act declares our identity in him. 

Being “his body” has a duality of meanings. It means we are the gathering and people of Christ, and it also means that we are becoming like Christ, by becoming part of his body—his being. We are renewed and remade in him. 

So, if those who take Communion are one with Christ, what is the next step?

You have become one with Christ. The person sitting in the pew or chair next to you has become one with Christ too. Your pastor or minister has also become one with Christ in the Communion act. 

If those who partake of the Lord’s Table are all one with Christ, then we are one with EACH OTHER also! When a community takes Communion together, they collectively declare that through Christ they are the unified Body of Christ Jesus!

If we all become one and unified with Christ, then via our mutual relation to Christ, we all then are one and unified with each other (Eph 4:1–7). There is no separation, no break in the body. Christ is the center of unbroken unity and peace. This does not mean we are all the same, or the body must be made uniform (1 Cor 12:12–31; Rom 12:3–8). In the passages listed above, the Apostle Paul clearly notes individuality at work within the unified body. We can see the Apostle John’s clear depiction in the Revelation of Jesus Christ that the Kingdom of God is comprised of ALL tribes, tongues, and peoples. The goal of the Kingdom of God is unity, not uniformity. 

In Christ, we are ONE body. Through his presence, which we can joyfully experience at the Communion table, we become a unified Kingdom, which universally aligns with the Good News of Jesus Christ. 

A time divided: Revisited

We are divided in so many different ways.


How can we begin to bridge these divides? How can we approach this division?

We begin to bridge these divides together, as ONE unified body of Christ.

Next time you are able to enjoy fellowship at the Communion table, do NOT close your eyes! If you are in a physical church, look around at your brothers and sisters. You are one with Christ, and you are one with them.

If you are participating virtually or remotely, pull out your church directory, open church Facebook page or friends list, look at pictures of your church. Then, dwell on the blessing of community and unity we have.

This is a beautiful and unified step we can take as a unified body to begin healing these divides.

The beauty of Communion is that we are now connected to a body of saints that transcends space, time, death, or division. 

In Communion we are:

  • Connected socially through the fellowship of the saints.
  • Connected physically through the body of the living Christ.
  • Connected politically through the Kingdom of the Lamb.
  • Connected spiritually through the blood of loving God.
  • Connected emotionally through the joy and peace of Christ Spirit. 
  • Connected experientially through the presence of the Almighty God in each one of our lives. 

I pray this encourages your spirit in a divided time, and I hope we can frequently experience the loving and unifying presence of the living and true God—Jesus Christ our Lord.

Brothers and sisters, peace be with you!

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