correspondence: the breaking of bread
A brother has forwarded the following letter taken from The Christadelphian Magazine, published in 1998 where the writer expresses concerns similar to ours:
Dear Brother Michael,
My mind has been exercised over the last few months by ideas which seem to be held about the reason for the Breaking of Bread and what it should do for us.
Is it just my imagination or are we as a body coming to the conclusion that this act of remembrance is a form of sacrament that brings with it a special blessing? Many who are called upon to give thanks for the emblems do not do so; instead they ask God to bless the bread or wine that it may strengthen us. In doing so they use the word “bless” differently from the giving of “praise and thanks” extended by our Lord (compare Luke 22:17–20 with Mark 14:22, 23).
Not wishing to detract from the excellent exhortation by Brother Elliot in the September issue, words in parenthesis in the opening sentence also remind me of another idea we seem to have. Is the memorial service really a time for “renewing our faith”? Does the fact that it is held on the first day of the week really suggest to us that each week begins anew with a confession of our sins and a rededication of our lives as we also sometimes hear?
Surely this feast was inaugurated that we should remember our Lord (Luke 22:19) and “show forth his death” (1 Corinthians 11:25, 26). Thus our faith is sustained or strengthened rather than renewed. Whilst the words of the Apostle Paul in that chapter develop implications because of our relationship with each other as being “in Christ”, and call upon us to recognise our own and each other’s needs, these are personal matters and should be dwelt on during the week leading up to the Breaking of Bread, so that we come to the table with a right frame of mind and heart.
I appeal to all, especially those who pray on behalf of us all at such meetings and to those who exhort, let us not impart some mystic meaning to what we do but accept that it is as simple as our Lord made it, a token meal in remembrance of him to show forth his death.
Sincerely your brother