Communion is the sharing of a meal. Meals nourish and sustain life. Life depends on balanced eating and drinking. Life as a child of God depends on this particular meal because it is the source of life itself: Jesus Christ.
In bread and wine, with bread and wine, and under bread and wine, Christians receive the very body and blood of Jesus Christ. That may seem strange, implausible and fantastic. But both the concept and the practice point to the faith of the church: through the waters of Baptism, God dwells in you; and in receiving Communion, this bit of God dwelling in you is nourished and sustained.
Nourished and sustained so much that this meal provides a glimpse into a world in which no one is hungry or wants. Everyone is welcome at this incredible banquet! Everyone is welcome to receive such incredible life!
Sometimes communion is referred to as Eucharist, a Greek word meaning "thanksgiving." Giving thanks is a form of commitment, commitment of both giver and receiver.
Martin Luther put commitment in thanksgiving this way: "We give you thanks, almighty God, that you have refreshed us through the healing power of this gift of life. In your mercy, strengthen us through this gift in faith, toward you and in fervent love toward one another."
Just as a family sits at table for Thanksgiving supper, the whole Christian community is united in sharing this meal of the Church: both those Christians on earth and those who dwell in God’s nearer presence. Communion is the closest we are to experiencing life as a whole Christian community united across time and space.But the community gathered on earth is not united. Division in the Christian family is widespread. We grieve this fact; God grieves our divisions, too. God also grieves when Christians feel as though, for some reason, they cannot share in this meal. The unity of the community of Christ is prominent in the public prayer and work of the people of Saint Peter’s Church, which is enriched by people who share the same concern and prayer.