Welcome to Becomning Closer! 

Communion Meditations (2023)


Open or Closed

Originally scheduled for April 2

Perhaps it does not seem important, but there have been many church fights over the question of just exactly who can be served communion. Many churches today practice what is called “open communion” in which practically anyone who claims to be a Christian will be allowed to participate. Other Christian groups restrict who was allowed, either by church law or custom.
An example of this is found in the church in Richmond, Virginia in 1866. One rule was observed:  Communion could not be given to a solitary person -- at least two must be at the rail.  This was to preserve the spirit of Matthew 18:20.
From the back of the sanctuary, a former slave stood up and strode forward.  The minister was taken aback.  This was a “white” church;  racial separation was the firm belief of virtually all the members.  This was also the Lord’s Supper.  The minister hesitated.  The man was at the rail alone; the minister was not obliged to serve Communion to a solitary worshiper.  What was he to do? .
Another worshiper rose from his seat. He walked down the aisle and without a word knelt by the first man to take Communion.  His example decided the minister’s action;  Communion was served to both men together. A courageous example from a courageous man: Robert E. Lee.
Why such a fuss over communion? The answer is found in Christ’s statement that his blood is the new covenant. His sacrifice defined the new relationship with God the Father. You are either in such a relationship or not; you either are a Christian or you are not. That’s why it’s important; it’s the common signal that tells the world and the church you are a Christian.
Communion is a sign of the unity of the church. That does not mean we are all interchangeable parts; the concept of being a “member” still applies. But there are certain things we do hold in common that show up at communion.
·        It’s a reminder that we are all sinners, in need of a Savior.
·        It is a reminder of the atonement of Christ, his sacrifice. It is thus also a reminder of the price he paid for our forgiveness.
·        It is a reminder of his walking out of the grave — the resurrection of which he is the firstfruits, with his church to follow.
·        It is reminder that Christ is the root of our faith.
Taking communion is not a privilege guaranteed by having your name on the roster. To take it honestly, you must be a genuine member — a working part — of Christ’s church. We are united in seeing his body in the bread; we are united in seeing his blood in the cup. As the old hymn put it, “the Church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord.”

Previous     Home     Next