In this season of my life, my weekly church experience is small and simple. No buildings, worship bands, Sunday school classes, children's programs, etc. Just me and MM and some friends endeavoring to read, contemplate, pray, both alone and together, and coming together to share how the whole following Jesus thing is going.
Part of our weekly experience involves communion. MM and I actually celebrate communion twice. We have our own time on Sunday or Monday night, and then we celebrate again on Wednesdays with our friends. We do so simply, crackers or bread and wine or juice. A few simple words and a time of prayer. No fancy music or sermons. Just good friends passing a bit of bread or a cup and reminding each other, "...broken for you... shed for you..."
Celebrating communion with such intimacy speaks to me about what it means to follow Jesus in community. We don't just sit in the same section of pews once a week. We are connected to each other. We know each others stuff. Weaknesses, fears, hopes, successes, failures, frailties, and joys are in plain sight, and getting plainer the more we interact like this.
Large group settings do not offer the same opportunity to "bear one another's burdens." To extend grace and mercy to one another. To even "one another" at all. That verse telling us to "first be reconciled to your brother..." (Matt. 5:23-24) doesn't really hold the same meaning in a gathering of 400+ people as it does in a gathering of four. If our fellowship is broken, we will feel it! And, hopefully, make amends. In larger groups, fellowship is often broken, but no amends can be made because the problems go unnoticed.
Celebrating communion with such frequency reminds me how receiving grace is a daily thing. We are - I will just say it bluntly - sinful creatures. We hurt each other and ourselves and "turn each to his own way" daily, and are in constant need of restoration. Remember that you are loved. Forgiven. Restored. Renewed. Again and again, remember. "...for you."
It is good, this communion of saints. I'm glad to be in this place.