The Mystery of Communion

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Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.”

And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Matthew 26:26-28

According to Matthew, the inception of the ritual of Communion occurred during the last Passover meal – the Last Supper – that Jesus shared with his disciples. Today, the elements of wine and bread, or grape juice and a cracker, are ritually administered in remembrance of Jesus’ sacrifice for our salvation. The Catholic church takes it further with the concept of transubstantiation, the belief that the blessed sacraments actually become the blood and body of Jesus.

The word communion carries the meaning of communication. The mystic sees communion as an actual union, a natural communication between God and the individual. The practice of spiritual communion, going directly to the indwelling Father, was the secret of Jesus’ power. Because of the challenges involved in silencing the busy mind and becoming receptive to the still small voice of God, ritual often takes precedence over the actual practice of the Presence, as the now famous mystic, Brother Lawrence, called it.  

Few Unity leaders have adopted the formal ritual of Communion. We have preferred the route of communion, or communication, with our spiritual source, which we do through meditation. While religious institutions can withhold Communion from those they deem unworthy, Unity recognizes that each individual is one with God and all are free to establish a first-hand experience with their spiritual source. We do not advocate the use of ritual or specific elements as requirements for communion with God. We leave that up to each person.

It is easy to substitute a ritual for an actual experience. We should remember that nearly every religious ritual has its basis in a spiritual principle. In terms of spiritual advancement, the practice is the principle is mandatory. The ritual is optional.  

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