Maybe you have been attending our church for a while and didn't want to ask anyone. Or maybe you're watching our church services online and have seen us talk about "the Lord's Supper" or "communion" and didn't really understand what we were talking about. Well, here is a simple post to explain what communion means to us.
Some of the information comes from an MB Confence pamphlet on communion which I adapted it for this post. If you want to read the complete pamphlet, you can click here.
There are a few terms for this practice of eating a small piece of bread and drinking a bit of juice or wine from a cup. Sometimes it's called "communion", sometimes "the Lord's Supper", sometimes the "Eucharist". Whatever it's called, it is practiced regularly when Christians meet together, usually during a church service. We do this because Jesus asked us to on the night before He died. We know the early church continued to obey His command and that we are to continue to do so because we are told so by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 11.
The night before Jesus died, He used the symbols of broken bread and a cup of wine to represent His broken body and His blood; they represeent the sacrifice of His life broken and poured out for the forgiveness and salvation of the world. To participate in the Lord’s Supper is to declare that God’s gift of grace and forgiveness has been accepted and a covenant relationship with Christ and his Body, the church, has been established.
There are a lot of meaningful ways that the symobls of bread and wine connect back to the story of Israel and of Jesus' life and forward to the day of Christ’s triumphant return. Participating in the Lord’s Supper expresses that memory and anticipation. I hope we can share more about that with you- if you are interested please ask! But for now, let's just say participating in Communion, communing with him and his followers, is a necessary and significant part of Christian life.
A simple answer to the question of who is invited is “all believers;” that is, people who confess Jesus Christ as Lord in word and life and are seeking to live in right relationship with God. Additionally, we want people who take communion to understand its meaning, and be accountable to their congregation and in right relationship with people in their church.
As followers of Jesus, we belong to him and his spiritual family. Believers are called to grow in their faith and support each other in their relationship with Christ and the church. This involves self-examination, confession, and the recognition of forgiveness received. Ultimately this self-awareness is best declared by the step of baptism.
The normal pattern in the New Testament was that baptism preceded participation in the Lord’s Supper. Our churches have emphasized the importance of adult believers’ baptism, so communion has generally been an adult celebration. In the New Testament, a confession of faith was immediately followed by baptism (Acts 16:29-33). Does that mean only those who have been baptized can participate? The New Testament does not speak to this situation and requires that we practice discernment when we invite non-baptized believers to the Lord’s table. This is why it is best if you are part of a congregation to whom you are accountable and who can guide you in this matter.
We would love to talk to you more about what communion is and what it means to us. If you have questions, please reach out by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.