I barely held it together in two communion services this summer. The Lord spoke powerfully to me through His Word – though the services could not have been more different. RSVP HERE for our PPI Cookout/Update on Weds, Sept 7 from 6-9pm.
The first communion service took place in Haiti last month. We joined Esau at his church, Église Chrétienne La Boussole (The Compass Christian Church), where he is associate pastor. Esau led us to chairs behind the pulpit and near the praise team. This is the place of honor accorded to visiting pastors, and usually where we’re asked to sit when we attend Haitian churches. On this morning, we had a front row seat to communion preparations. WATCH a video of this post.
While the praise team led the congregation in song, a deacon and deaconess (pictured) carefully unwrapped containers of broken bread. Then as the deacon steadied the tray, the deaconess slowly, lovingly poured wine into each glass, one by one, as I watched.
That’s when it hit me.
I fought back tears as the Lord reminded me that He poured out His life so that we could have not only peace with God but also peace with one another! I looked around me. Three sweaty American believers worshipping the Savior of the World with some 50 Haitian men, women, teens and children. “In this moment, we are a picture of what You died to accomplish,” I thought. I thanked the Lord as the tears flowed. “Lord, you poured out your life to give us peace with God and peace with one another.” Esau then stepped to the microphone, quoted Paul’s teaching on communion in 1 Corinthians 11, and led us in sharing the bread and wine together as Jesus’ people.
After communion, the pastor asked me to greet the church (another common practice in Haiti). As part of my greeting, I read Ephesians 2:13-19:
“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility . . .”
Last Sunday we shared in communion at a church here in Michigan, my second communion this summer. We sat with the congregation instead of on a platform – which I prefer – and received an all-in-one communion packet. You’re not in Haiti anymore, Dorothy! Like Esau, this pastor read from 1 Corinthians chapter 11. He also included verses 17-22 and did an excellent job explaining the background of Paul’s teaching about communion. He told us that churches met in homes in Paul’s day, often the larger homes of wealthy people because they could accommodate more people. Paul called Corinthian believers on the carpet for their hypocrisy in eating the Lord’s Supper. Sophisticated church members were feasting in one room, probably attended by servants, and leaving scraps – or nothing at all – for more common believers in other rooms.
That really hit me! Too often we limit Scriptures like this to our own local churches – and certainly God is speaking here to our local churches. But what if verses like 1 Corinthians 11:17-22 also apply to the larger Body of Christ? To the relationships between American Christians and Haitian Christians, for example? I have no doubt they do.
I fought back tears again. “Lord, help us to honor our brothers and sisters in Christ in places like Haiti,” I prayed. “Make it our joy to give them more of the feast, while we’re willing to eat more scraps!”
As our Savior poured out His life for us so He calls us to pour out our lives for one another.