I find the more I blur the lines of where I end and others, nature, and God (or Spirit if you prefer) begin, the better life gets. Along those lines, in a podcast I recently listened to, one of the speakers said something about “communion”, both a powerful relational intimacy and a central Christian practice, that brought a YES! to my heart and got my soul singing soprano! Could communion be a central point of this all?
Putting Webster’s definition into my words, communion is: The act of sharing, as well as intimate fellowship or rapport. It’s also a Christian practice where people partake of bread and wine (as symbols of Christ’s body and blood) to remember his death, in addition to moving more deeply into union with the Divine.
While I can’t recall the sentence or two in the podcast (“The Bible for Normal People”) that got my wheels spinning, this is the exciting place it took me: Communion is marked by intimacy, sharing, harmony, bonding, blurring, and union, in spiritual, relational, and physical ways. It’s being seen well, heard deeply, valued highly, Loved infinitely, and held tenderly and closely, and don’t we all, to one degree or another, crave and want to do that?
The Christian practice of Communion, to me, isn’t solely a ritual we participate in at church or something only for Christians. Jesus said the bread was his body and wine his blood, and told his followers to eat and drink to “remember”, as in recalling the Divine’s unending Love for us shown by Jesus, and to be re-membered, as in put back together and made whole. Part of what I hear the Christ inviting us to in this practice is realizing the world is Spirit-soaked, noticing all of creation is sacred, and opening our eyes to the possibility of tasting the Divine in every bite of food, filling ourselves with the Creator with each drink, experiencing our Parent’s Love with each hug, and glimpsing God’s beauty with each lovely sight we enjoy. Communion is never further than a mindful breath away. And it even goes beyond that!
In a very real way, what I described about experiencing the Divine in the last paragraph is also true of connecting (i.e. communing) with others and nature. The food we eat not only comes from someone’s hard work (as do the clothes we wear, appliances we use, places we live, transportation we take, and so on), but also literally contains atoms that once were part of other people, animals, and plants! We’re truly all connected and in constant communion.
AND, the “rabbit hole” goes even deeper than that. The people I know who are most vibrantly alive are those who purposefully practice the relational intimacy aspect of communion. They share their highs, lows, dreams, sorrows, stories, fears, triumphs, moments of bliss, laughter, tears, and all the other things that make for close, caring, and compassionate relationships. I think we sometimes avoid or run from authentic community because we’re scared of being hurt (spoiler alert, you will be!), and the people I know who shine the most do it anyway! And it is SO worth it!!
At the end of Colossians 3.11, I read Saint Paul as cryptically saying The Point can be summed up as “Christ is all, and is in all.” Yet, what does that mean? There are a good number of passages in the Bible that talk about Christ being in all the things, the Designer of all things, the energy or life-force between and within all things, the Creator of all things, the Reconciler of all things, and the ideal for all humanity (Colossians 1.15-20 for instance). In other words, one could truthfully say Christ already is all, and in all. Looking both before and after the line in Colossians 3.11, though, sheds light on what I think Paul is getting at and draw us to a close.
I read Colossians 3.1-17 as a call to communion. The author implores us let go of egocentric pursuits, selfish activities, “me first” mentalities, and the destructive energies of rage, hatred, and gossip, in order to embrace unity with all people and the Source of all life. Communing is characterized by compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, naming wrongs, forgiveness, peace, gratitude, togetherness, and, above all, Love. And the more we embrace this way of being, the more we experience Christ anywhere and everywhere, and taste heaven on earth. That’s communion, what Paul is getting at with Christ in and as all, what the yogis name oneness, and I think they’re all pretty awesome! How about you?
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