the weblog of Alan Knox

Sharing a meal with the Lord and our brothers and sisters

Posted by on Jul 9, 2012 in blog links, ordinances/sacraments | 9 comments

Recently, two posts have brought up a question that I’m very familiar with: “Should the Lord’s Supper be a full meal?”

First, Miguel from “God’s Directed Deviations” asked this question in his post “Grape Juice Drops and Cracker Crumbs Lord’s Supper?

Also, Jon from “Jon’s Journey” asked the same question in his post “Lord’s Supper Thoughts.”

In all of these questions and positions and discussions concerning the Lord’s Supper (Eucharist / Communion / whatever you want to call it), there is one thing that seems very clear in Scripture: whatever else it may have been, it was a meal.

This is the comment that I left on Miguel’s post:

I’ve always found it interesting that every mention of “the Lord’s Supper” in Scripture referred to a full meal, and many times the same language is used for a full meal when it did not refer to “the Lord’s Supper.” For example, see Acts 27:33-36. Also, Jeremiah 16:6-8 can help us understand what was meant by “breaking bread” and sharing “the cup.”

What do you think? Is it important that we understand that “the Lord’s Supper” is intended to be a meal, or can the meal be set aside?


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 7-9-2012

    The answer to your question can be addressed with another question. Does “communion” mean a community in communion with the Lord, or is it each individual in his own separate communion with the Lord?

    When people are part of communion, then it makes sense to have a full meal, because there is sharing. When an individual is in communion, no sharing is necessary, so crumbs and drops are okay, even if there are many more around you. Right?

  2. 7-9-2012

    Thanks Alan for sharing those passages Acts 27:33-36 and Jeremiah 16:6-8. The Jeremiah one makes me wonder if there is another connection being made… if breaking bread when mourning was a common custom, or sharing a cup of consolation. If so the early church would have naturally done these things together. Kind of like how our custom here is to have little egg sandwiches, cheese, pickles, and juice after a funeral. I haven’t flushed out the implications of this thought yet… I’ve always thought it was a Passover tradition that was being fulfilled, but then didn’t understand why the early church repeated this more frequently than they would have the Passover…

    OK… enough thinking out loud. 🙂

  3. 7-9-2012

    i do not know if the meal can be set aside or not, Nor do I think this is the point of the last supper. I think this was the last passover meal. And it is directly in correlation with the last sacrifice and shedding of blood. For as like the blood placed on the door posts to save those that were covered by this, for the angel of death past by those that were covered by the blood on the door posts. Today those that believe are not only covered by the blood of Christ are also smothered. Seeing this in this transfered context, we are saved and God is not judging any of us on the basis of failure. Hebrews 10:17 and then he adds their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more. This is the allegory of the last Supper and Jesus completeing all the law and prophets before going to the cross, thus bringing life to all those that believe Faith = Salvation performs the work as the result of faith

  4. 7-9-2012

    in some circles, a “full meal” has grown up as a reaction to the neglect of what early saints knew to be an agape feast; as a reaction to what Protestants (via RCC legacy) have accomplished toward minimization of the memorial (of His death).
    Even when our remembrance is embedded in the “feast” [meal], feast & remembrance consistently function differently (in a friendly way). Also, there is no obligation from Scripture to always an “open” remembrance — we may remember His death individually or corporately; “as often as”.
    The mature can be observed no longer outputting a defense or definitions for the relationship of a shared/commmon meal and remembrance of Christ.

  5. 7-9-2012

    The Corinthians had a problem with this. 1 Cor. 11:20-21 says some were getting full, while others were leaving hungry. Obviously some were not treating this as the Lord’s supper. Didn’t they know everyone’s supposed to leave hungry? (sarcasm intended)

    I think ideally communion should be a meal – not an all-you-can-eat gastronomic event, but something where you don’t have to go elsewhere for the ‘real’ meal afterwards. It seems silly to call a itty-bitty cracker and swallow of juice a ‘supper’. However, it might be a bit much to do this regularly or if your church is too small/large.

  6. 7-10-2012

    good observations & questions that help us to consider central issues in this all-important observance of the community of faith. I’d like to add some thoughts of my 2010 blog on “Observing communion w/ the carnal Corinthians”-

  7. 7-10-2012


    Interestingly, the word “communion” is the same word as “fellowship” – koinonia – which I call “sharing life.” I would say that if we are not sharing life while eating together, then we should not call it “communion.”


    I think the Jeremiah passages shows us one way that people “broke bread” and “shared the cup”… i.e., when comforting someone who was grieving. The point, though, is that it was not just a piece of bread and a sip from a cup.


    The last meal that Jesus shared with his followers was definitely part of the Jewish passover celebration. I’m not sure the meal was always shared with that connection later in Scripture, especially when we see them eating together daily.


    My primary concern is that the meal represented much more than a remembrance, while it was a remembrance. It was also representative of their hospitality and fellowship. Setting aside the meal is a demonstrations that we have also set aside the importance of hospitality and fellowship. Those are key contexts in the NT for teaching, discipleship, correcting, etc.


    Interestingly, from the smallest group of believers to the largest group of believers, meals are a part of their lives. What’s changed? Meals have ceased being part of our lives together.


    Thanks for the link. I’ll try to read your post, but I’m far behind in my blog reading. Could you summarize it for us here?


  8. 7-10-2012

    Alan writes,
    “Setting aside the meal is a demonstrations that we have also set aside the importance of hospitality and fellowship.”

    could be (I haven’t yet observed such a failure outside institutional forms). However, the meal as a “ritual”, formality or tradition, can be equally telling of something gone amiss?

    a few do “the meal” as smaller groups during the week in one another’s homes. a few more have the agape feast less frequently than a eucharistic remembrance with bread & cup. There’s come to be much variation, along with some temptation to conform others a la S.O.P.

  9. 7-10-2012


    Yes, anything can be turned into a ritual. Although, I did read something once that called meals the “anti-ritual.” I don’t remember where that was now though. I’m excited about anytime brothers and sisters in Christ share meals together.