Today’s hymn from Sing Praise is “Behold the lamb who bears our sins away” by Keith Getty and Stuart Townsend. Unlike many of their hymns, this is a straightforward four-verse hymn with no chorus or bridge. The opening words are of course from the traditional communion prayer “Agnus Dei” (O Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us).
The repeated words common across the four verses are ‘remember’ and ‘share’. This is significant, because firstly in the communion we remember what Jesus has done for us: “we remember the promise made that all who come to faith find forgiveness at the cross … remember the wounds that heal, the death that brings us life … remember he drained death’s cup that all may enter in … remember our call to follow in the steps of Christ as his body here on earth”.
Secondly we share in the broken bread: communion by one person alone is not normally allowed (although in the Catholic church the priest can say mass alone on behalf of others in certain circumstances). The chorus of the first three verses is “So we share in this bread of life, and we drink of his sacrifice, as a sign of our bonds … around the table of the King”. But the ellipsis there represents differing phrases: the sharing is as a sign “of our bonds of peace”, “of our bonds of love”, “of our bonds of grace”. The fourth chorus is different, looking to Christ’s coming again.
The communion is a time to remember the past but also to acknowledge our shared life in Christ and to commit ourselves again to following him “until he comes again”.