The following is a quote without (much) comment from Leroy Garrett, who is something of an elder mentor to me. I’ve been in his home only once but have to come to respect his constancy in faith, and his wisdom and persistence in spiritual-emphasis writing. I disagree with him sometimes, but I never question his sincerity of conviction or his devotion.
In the passage below, Leroy uses the phrase “break bread” to refer to the Lord’s Supper or Communion. It’s a nice expression that simplifies the beauty of the memorial “meal” and makes it all sound more familial, which is a good thing. But “break bread” in the scriptures, as I have pointed out, does not seem to refer specifically to Communion. More important here is the view of the geographically and chronologically unbound family of believers….
I often ponder “the family of God in heaven and on earth” when I break bread with my fellow believers in assembly each Lord’s day. From sundown on the seventh day to sundown on the first day the family upon earth, all around the world, is in assembly remembering the Lord Jesus in the breaking of bread. I recall dear brethren of different color, nation, race and language with whom I have broken bread — in Australia and New Zealand, in India and Japan, in the Philippines and Thailand, in Russia and Eastern Europe, and even in China, meeting with “underground” believers. And of course Western Europe, Canada , Mexico, and South American countries. The family of God on earth! I love them all in precious recollection, and in my old age I yet break bread with them each Lord’s day.
And I remind myself that I am in some sense breaking bread with the family of God in heaven, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, “I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom (Matthew 26:29). There is an ongoing fellowship in the heavenly banquet, realized in glory and anticipated in this vale of soul-making. We all have beloved brethren who have gone on to become part of the great cloud of witnesses that encompass us, the family of God in heaven.
We are all the one body of Christ, one church, separated only by time. They are there now, we will be with them then. “Now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face” (1 Corinthians 13:12).