According to Gerald Stafford, in his book entitles "Theology for Disciples:Systematic Considerations About the Life of Christian Faith", Holy Communion is more than just receiving the body and blood of Christ. To Jesus, communion was a way to show the disciples how strong He wanted His relationship with all people, throughout all time, to be. Jesus showed His authority over life and death by signifying that His blood would bring His followers life everlasting.
I especially agree with Stafford when he says that, through communion and the partaking of the bread and the wine, Jesus wants to continually renew His relationship with us. When we partake of the elements, we not only remember what Jesus did for us when He gave His very life for our benefit, we also remember that the sins that we have forgotten or refused to confess because of pride can keep us from the much closer relationship with Jesus, since sin is a barrier to having all that Jesus wants to give us. I know that the Bible says that we must not partake of the communion if there is any un-confessed sin in our lives, for if we do, we make a mockery out of Jesus' death and resurrection by thinking that we can come to God any way we choose.
For me, communion is the time for me to stop being pig-headed and confess to God those sins I stupidly held on to for whatever prideful reasons I chose to, before I partake of the bread and the wine. I walk away from communion knowing that I have been cleansed from the stain those sins had created in me, and that my relationship with Jesus is as strong as it can be at this point in my life. For me, communion is a time when I can worship Jesus by the way that He Himself ordained as worship for Himself. Of course, I don't understand those religions where the congregants receive only the bread but not the wine. Is that not mocking God in the greatest sense by only allowing people to gain only half of what communion is supposed to provide for the believer? Did not Jesus say that followers must do both things in remembrance of Him?
For some churches it is just a weekly ritual with no meaning other than Jesus told them to do it. I have trouble with churches that only allow you to partake of the bread only and not also of the wine. That seems to me to be doing only half of what Jesus commanded. This week in church we had communion. I sat and watch a couple of teenagers doodling on their church programs. They stopped when the elements were handed out, and then after communion, went right back to doodling. Do you think the meaning of communion was lost on them, treating it as an interruption of their artwork?
Comment: "For me I believe communion should be observed whenever you get together to worship. Most churches don't observe Holy Communion, or if they do it's only once a month or on special occasions. Communion is a renewal of your faith and relationship with Christ through the ritual of communion. It shaped my faith by making feel closer to Him, and more a part of the kingdom of God."
Author Response: In my church, we have communion every two weeks. It is felt that, if we had it every week, then it would lose its meaning and become just another ritual for our church (Assemblies of God). This seems to work well for us as our church membership has continued to grow by leaps and bounds. Many new people find every other week to be just right for them. Our pastor treats communion with the seriousness it deserves. In our church, it's not just "here's the bread, here's the juice: let's eat and drink together." Our pastor makes sure that everyone has had time to "come clean" in front of the Lord so that all may partake of His blood and body.
Comment: "The Bible says for a man to examine himself because if the participant partakes of the Lord's Supper and is unworthy of it, he brings damnation upon himself."
Author Response: That's what I like about communion: I must examine myself before partaking because I know that I must then confess any sins to God so I can have a pure heart before Him so that I don't mock what Jesus did on the cross. Like some, my sins are ever before me, and sometimes I stupidly hold onto them for too long before confessing them to God for whatever reason, especially if I knowingly sinned and I don't admit it even to myself. Communion forces me to swallow my pride and look at my sin in God's eyes. I must confess them or I cannot partake in communion. I pray that I will always give God my best.
Stafford, Gerald W. (1989, 1996). Theology for disciples: systematic considerations about the life of Christian faith (pgs. 92-99). Warner Press.
Bobby Bruno was saved 15 years ago in a way that left him no doubt that Jesus wanted him to reach others with His great and abounding love. He started writing at the age of 12 and hasn't stopped since. He achieved Associates Degree in Biblical Studies from Ohio Christian University in early 2014.
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