To get community right, individual believers in Jesus must reclaim the communion table.
For the last 14 years, Disciple Daily has partnered with T Bar M Camps to take their Timothy Team discipleship group to Israel. Our itinerary includes two days of walking in and around the Old City of Jerusalem. The focus is on the last days of Messiah Jesus, including the Last Passover that He shared with His first disciples. We mirror the possible routes Yeshua traveled on His way to the cross.
Our small community of Israel explorers had walked nearly 6 miles since the day began. We were almost “hangry!” The restaurant we selected for lunch is very popular. Our good friend and guide, Shlomo, said it had the best food in Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter.
Tables were pulled together in one long line, and all 16 of us sat down. Shlomo joined us, making our number 17 in total. Other people were seated all around us, enjoying their meal.
In the Jewish Quarter, kosher dietary laws are strictly observed by eating establishments. Having a meatless menu, in our restaurant there were no beef or lamb dishes available. Fish was their specialty. Of course, chicken and all the regional vegetarian favorites were displayed in abundance. Their pita and hummus were outstanding.
The food and ambiance were enjoyed by all. When everyone was satisfied, Papa Keith (Timothy Team Director) took a piece of pita bread in his hands, tore it into pieces, and passed it around the table.
I am challenged by the picture of the community that is painted in Acts 2:41-47. The atmosphere in Jerusalem could not have been more charged in the months following Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection, and ascension. And yet, the number of Jesus followers was explosively growing day by day. How was this possible? It appears that the fledgling Church understood the priorities of the time they lived in.
Devoted to the Apostles’ teaching
Eating their meals together
Focused on prayer
No pride of possessions
Generous to those in need
Meeting daily from house to house
The 2nd Chapter of Acts community seems so otherworldly in the 21st Century. They enjoyed totally uncommon communion!
God became man in the person of Jesus Christ. Throughout His ministry, He used everyday objects to teach the simple things we seem to have so complicated. As Keith began to share his heart with those assembled at our table there in the Jewish Quarter, it became clear that something special was about to happen. There was nothing fancy about our impromptu communion observance. The simple elements came right off the table we shared.
A Piece of Pita Bread – “Take, eat; this is my body.”
A Glass of Tea – “Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
What a profound moment. We were out in public, proclaiming the Lord’s death, in a busy place where all could hear. And they did. A few got up and left after their meal. Some stayed and watched. It has been said, “We hear with our eyes.”
As we left the restaurant, the owners and workers went out of their way to thank us for coming. One commented, “Please come back soon.” I wonder what would happen if we, the Body of Messiah Jesus, took communion out of the Church buildings and into the places where we do life? Maybe more would “hear” the Good News in action and choose to join us as so m any did in Jerusalem almost 2,000 years ago.