A couple friends were discussing the different ways communion is taken in churches. They agreed that the only method they liked was when they were given their own cup to drink from and a piece of bread—it seemed to be the most sanitary. In a sense, I had to agree with their opinion that this method was probably the most germ-free, but I felt at the same time that focusing on individual cleanliness might be missing the point!

It’s easy to get so caught up in an event or ritual that we miss its purpose. Paul carefully explained to the Corinthians the importance of the Lord’s Supper. The church had been corrupting it—feasting and drinking (even getting drunk) while leaving the poor in attendance to go hungry (1 Corinthians 11:20-22). These abuses of the Lord’s Supper were not only taking away from its significance, but also sinning against the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:24).

Remembering in the Lord’s Supper what Jesus has done for us through His death is a form of worship, and it takes place with other believers. Paul wrote that those who participate in the Lord’s Supper “unworthily [are] guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 11:27). This is why it’s important to examine where we stand with other believers before worshiping through communion (1 Corinthians 11:28-32). We can’t honor Christ and His sacrifice for us without honoring others who also believe in Him.

According to Paul, we participate in communion because “every time [we] eat this bread and drink the cup, [we] are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again” (1 Corinthians 11:26). Communion is meant to be a time to remember not only Jesus and what He did for us, the body of Christ, but to hope in His return and our future together in Him.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: John 17:1-26