There’s a pretty big change coming to Immanuel: Starting in March, we are going to have Communion at every service!
So, why are we doing this? Isn’t Communion every other service good enough? Is it wrong to NOT have Communion every service? Well, no, it’s not wrong. (Unless we’re passing up the opportunity for Communion just to go watch more football—speaking as a fellow football fan, here!) Communion at every other service is great! There’s nothing wrong with that. But if we CAN have the Lord’s Supper at every opportunity, we should ask ourselves, “Why not?”
“We don’t want to get too used to it.” “We don’t want to take it for granted.” “We want to keep it special.”
I hear that. Those are great intentions. But here’s the thing: Communion isn’t special because YOU make it special. It’s special because JESUS makes it special. It might just be that when you don’t want Communion on a Sunday that Jesus is trying to teach you something: “You may not think you need this, but you do. Take, and eat.”
So what is The Lord’s Supper that makes it so needed, special, and important?
Communion is an extraordinary gift.
It is Jesus, in the flesh, literally, not figuratively, for us. If Jesus happened to be up in Wausau for the day, really there, in the flesh, wouldn’t you drop whatever you were doing and speed up there? That’s exactly what Jesus does for us. Every Sunday. In the flesh. For us. His true presence in the Body and the Blood together with the Bread and Wine is here at little, old Immanuel Lutheran Church. Wow.
Communion is generous nourishment.
Jesus doesn’t skimp on forgiveness. He gives it to us generously. Abundantly. In 1 Corinthians 11, it even tells us to commune “often.” In the early church, persecutors knew who the Christians were because they were the only ones who had wine on their breath in the morning. Early Christians communed often enough—first thing in their day—that their persecutors reliably identified them by the wine they had drunk during in the Supper. Communion was a part of the daily lives of early Christians. It was daily because they knew they needed the spiritual strength that Communion provides. Jesus didn’t put limits on this gift.
Communion is forgiveness.
The Lord’s Supper isn’t what you make of it. It’s what Jesus makes of it. It doesn’t matter what doubts, sins, or emotions you bring when you commune. In fact, those are the exact reasons Jesus gives us the gift of Communion. That’s when we should RUN to Communion! Communion is forgiveness for sinners. For us. The Lord’s Supper is not us as humans reaching up to God in our holiness. It’s the opposite. Communion is a lifeline—more than that—Jesus coming down to us for people who are not worthy. What makes you worthy to take Communion is not how special you treat it; it’s knowing you’re a sinner who needs it.
Communion is a spring of eternal life.
In the Body and Blood of Jesus, we are nourished in the eternal life our Creator gives us. “We proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” precisely because he is the same Lord who was once dead and is now alive. We proclaim his death because he defeated it. In Communion, Jesus wields that power for us. He has promised you—YOU—eternal life. The gift of Communion Jesus gives you is a reminder to you that Jesus will “make good” on his promise. Not only that, but it IS life in Jesus. Why? Because he said so. Jesus promised. His Body and Blood is the source—the spring—of everlasting life.
Communion is a uniting event.
As Christians, we look forward to the day when we will live together with Jesus and each other in the resurrection and New Creation. And that reality has started now—albeit in a much smaller way, but it has started. When we partake of the Supper together, we are seeing a glimpse of that day. We can see the people communing to the left and right of us—the same people who will be there on that day. We partake of the Supper with those who have gone before us: relatives, Christians from centuries past, the apostles themselves. We partake with Christians from all over the world: Europe, Africa, China, perhaps even the Viking fans in Minnesota. The Lord’s Supper unites Christians living and preaching the same story of Jesus across time and space.
Communion is the best thing this side of the resurrection.
Let’s be clear: If someone offered you a million dollars to skip the opportunity to partake in Communion, receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus would be the better deal, hands down. Communion is the climax of the Christian’s week. It’s Heaven on Earth. Jesus present among us. Unity with fellow saints across time, space, and eternity. It’s your Creator giving you life and forgiveness abundantly. There is not one thing on earth that you can experience greater than Communion. It is Jesus. For you.
Now served weekly, at Immanuel.
Come, take and eat; take and drink. Given and shed for you.