Serving communion to the body of Christ is one of my favorite things to do at New City Church. Early on, we decided to observe The Lord’s Table every week and, despite the repetition, this moment in the Worship Gathering has never grown tedious or stale. It is such an honor to be able to say a blessing over the people as we share in a meal, together remembering the amazing work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Thus, our time apart over these past few weeks has been especially sad for me.
But this coming Sunday is Easter! And we are not going to let this holy day pass without observing the Sacrament as best we can considering the circumstances. I hope you will join us online for the Worship Gathering and also partake of the Lord’s Supper when the moment arrives.
Here is what you need to know (and do) to be prepared:
THE ELEMENTS OF THE SACRAMENT
- BREAD | The Scripture tells us that Jesus broke bread when he instituted the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. Most likely he had a loaf of unleavened bread. Any loaf of bread will do, or you can use crackers (especially if you are avoiding gluten.)
- Before the Worship Gathering, set aside a small portion of bread for each person who will be partaking. This should be the size of one bite.
- WINE | Jesus instituted the sacrament using wine. Many people prefer to use grape juice instead, but any drink made from grapes would be sufficient.
- Before the Worship Gathering, set aside a small portion of drink in any kind of glass for each person who will be participating. Just one swallow’s amount is sufficient.
- That’s it. The preparation of the elements should be done with the reverence and honor due to the sacrament, but there is no special blessing or ritual necessary.
- When we take communion the Holy Spirit is present and He communicates Jesus to us, and makes us present with Him in Heaven, but Jesus remains at the right hand of the Father and does not come and “hide” within the bread and the wine. Something very real and very profound occurs spiritually, but the bread and wine do not actually change; though we call them the body and blood of Christ.
- After the worship gathering, if you have bread or wine left over, you can dispose of them as you normally would. Again, they remain simply bread and wine.
PREPARING YOURSELF SPIRITUALLY
Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.1 Corinthians 11:27-28
- Whenever we know we will be coming to the Lord’s Table, it is very important that we have prepared and examined ourselves spiritually. The sacrament is intended as a means of grace for those who believe, but Scripture warns us that we bring judgement upon ourselves if we partake in an unworthy manner.
- Sin does not make us unworthy to take the Table. Indeed, only those who know they are sinners saved by grace, are worthy. The Heidelberg Catechism says that “those who are displeased with themselves because of their sins” are welcome at the Lord’s Supper.
- We examine ourselves by acknowledging and repenting of our sins, and determining to seek reconciliation with others when possible, and relying upon our Savior Jesus for forgiveness.
- If you find that you are unwilling to repent, it would not be wise to partake of the Sacrament. Instead you should pray and ask God to help you to truly hate your sin and to give you the resolve to recommit yourself to obedience.
WHO SHOULD TAKE COMMUNION?
- In your household, only those who are believers in Jesus Christ and who have been examined by the elders of the Church and found to have a credible profession of faith should partake of the sacrament.
- If you have not-yet-believers staying with you, they should not take communion.
- If you have young children who have not yet been baptized and have not yet made a profession of faith, they should not take communion.
- Everyone who believes in Jesus Christ, and has examined themselves and can partake in a worthy manner, should take communion.
- Those who are unable to participate are encouraged to spend the moment in contemplative prayer, perhaps asking God to reveal Himself to them in a new way.
HOW IS IT DONE?
- Pastor Ryan will walk us through this time of communion, explaining each of the elements and then giving you a moment to eat and drink each of them.
- We recommend placing the elements in a spot where everyone can reach them, and then allowing each person to serve themselves as Ryan leads.
This Sunday, know that I am excitedly anticipating this moment together, and that I yearn to be able to serve you in person very soon.