For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” (I Corinthians 11:23-24 NIV)
The tradition of communion is a simple ritual that must be performed by all Christians out of respect for the sacrifice of Christ. A lot of different denominations argue and wrangle about some of the specific aspects of this ritual, but in reality communion is not very complicated, and it is easy for a Christian to partake of it in a way that honors God, just as it is easy for a Christian to partake of it in a way that does not honor God. The bread represents Christ’s body, which was sacrificed for us, and we are commanded to remember Jesus when we eat it. A lot of churches add extra rules to this ritual. They claim that it can only be served as a certain kind of specially made bread, must be blessed by a priest speaking special words in Latin, etc. But none of that really matters. What matters is the condition of your heart. You must take the bread in humility, understanding that you are a sinner, gratefully pondering the sacrifice that Jesus made to save you from your sins on the cross. You must not be distracted by selfish, lustful fantasies while you are taking communion, and you must repent of some recent sin if you do not have a clear conscience. There may be someone in particular that you need to apologize to before you take communion.
A lot has been written by theologians about the phrase “this is my body.” Clearly, Jesus was not implying that the food was His physical body, since there is no record of the color or texture of the bread changing after he broke it, nor is their any credible testimony of that ever happening. Many people will argue for hours about how the bread has mystical properties, or that it spiritually becomes the body of Christ the moment that it is blessed. Frankly, I think that such drawn-out debates are distracting. These complicated questions are really not something we need to worry about, as long as our hearts are right with God. All we need to do is follow Christ’s instructions to Remember Him, and eat the bread as respectfully as if it really is His body. Rather than pondering the metaphysics of it all, we need to be pondering the work and person of Christ, who died for us sinners to save us. You do not have to have all the deep theological issues figured out in order to honor Christ in communion, all you have to do is to remember Him with a thankful, humble, heart.