On the sixth day of Christmas, my Father gave to me, the sacrament of communion so that His body and blood I could receive.
“… the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
This gift is one I wish I used more, but find I don’t participate in very often. My church only has communion once a quarter and if I happen to be out of town that Sunday or miss church for some reason, then I miss the opportunity to participate with my fellow believers. I know that some churches have communion every week believing that this is what was commanded in the New Testament and while I am not envious of that group, I wonder if weekly communion would make the gift become something we take for granted rather than something we anticipate and prepare for. I don’t know that there is a right or wrong way to approach the act of communion, at least not in regard to when we participate.
However, the Bible is clear that we should guard our hearts and participate in the act of communion only after examining ourselves and knowing that we are worthy of the act. The next three verses of 1 Corinthians 11 warns us: “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself, if he does not judge the body rightly.” 1 Corinthians 11:27-29
I read these words again and I wonder how many times I have participated in communion when perhaps my heart was not prepared because I had fought with my husband or children on the way to church or I was still angry with a friend for a perceived wrong committed, or maybe because there was some other unresolved sin in my life that I didn’t want to face and hadn’t asked forgiveness for yet participated anyway knowing it would be my only opportunity for at least three months.
But, is that what this gift is supposed to be? Something that we only do occasionally or something we do so often that it becomes routine? The Bible also tells us “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:20. My desire this Christmas season is to recommit to the gift of communion not in participating only when my church has The Lord’s Supper, but to incorporate the act of communion into my family worship as well.
My prayer for this coming year is that communion will become for me and my family the precious gift that Jesus intended it to be when He first gave it to the disciples right before His crucifixion. A gift this rare shouldn’t be relegated to an occasional use but should be something we use and treasure as we treasure our personal relationship with our Father.