Shock “faith” post: questioning communion

I took communion this morning.

Nothing unusual about that. I’ve been part of my church since 1986, so even if I estimate once a month I’ve probably taken communion about 300 times.

But it’s been a long time since I’ve given it any thought. For quite a while I’ve vaguely wondered, should I still be doing this? And when I say ‘quite a while’, I mean it: I see that it’s nearly four years since I wrote about the “words of invitation” that our minister uses at communion. The ones that include “come not because you must, but because you may”. I concluded back then that I should indeed be “doing this”, (as you can see here) and I don’t see that anything’s changed since then.

However, the last couple of times I’ve told myself I really should think a bit about why I’m doing this. So this morning for a change I sat looking at the communion glass in my hand and asking a few questions. (Tempted though I was to take a photo of said communion glass in said hand to illustrate the point, I resisted. Here’s a stock photo of a communion glass instead.)

A few of the questions that went through my head were these:

  • So, what’s this all about then?
  • Why do we do this?
  • Why am I doing this?
  • Should I feel anything when I do this?
  • What does this represent?
  • Is this thanksgiving?
  • Is this forgiveness?
  • Is it remembrance?

And you know what I concluded?

I haven’t the faintest clue.


Now, I’m sure there was I time I would have been able to come up with some answers to those questions. And on one level, of course I still can; I haven’t forgotten all that I once knew about my faith, and I’m sure I could trot out some stock answers. They just don’t mean anything to me.

So there you have it: a long-awaited post about faith and stuff, which is where this blog started. It’s been a while.

While we’re on the subject, the speaker this morning quoted Richard Dawkins as saying “Questions are the enemy of religion”. Er, surely some mistake, Mr Dawkins? Questions are religion, I’d have said.


2 thoughts on “Shock “faith” post: questioning communion

  1. Andy Goodliff

    Trevor, a few days later, and I’m still thinking of how to respond to this post. I don’t presume to resolve any of your questions. I guess my view of communion – if I think about it, although is not always how I feel about it, is its about an identification with and a participation in the story of Jesus – its an attempt to say this is the story and person in which I’m trying to live; it acknowledges that my life is shaped by both cross and resurrection, suffering and new life; it acknowledges that I need God and the people of God (and in particular the church community in which I share bread and wine), that is, there is no way I can follow Jesus – live the Christian story, without God and without the church; it recognises that God is one who welcomes me to share in his life, that God is gracious towards me, in other words, although I don’t follow very well, God does not turn me away; and so it is an opportunity for me to be thankful that God is this kind of God.

    1. Mim

      I think questions are very good Trev… Jesus asked loads. I agree that the Dawkins quote is odd- somewhat arrogant and polemic in seeking to insinuate that people of faith can never question (as opposed to be ” sciency which involves questioning and never being dogmatic and unchangable… ?!?!)
      Some questions needs answers; others just need to be asked.
      Sometimes people ask questions they already know the answer to whilst sometimes it is simply in articulating the question that clarity comes.
      My question/answer would be that ultimately, is truth not an answer to a question, but a person?
      M x


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