26 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” Matthew 26:26-29
Communion, or the Lord’s Supper, is an ordinance that is to be observed repeatedly throughout our Christian lives as a sign of continuing fellowship in Christ. When we participate in the Lord’s Supper, we symbolize the death of Christ: when the bread is broken, it symbolizes the breaking of Christ’s body, and when the cup is poured out it symbolizes the pouring out of Christ’s blood for us.
When we take the bread and the cup for ourselves, we are essentially proclaiming, “I need you and trust you, Jesus, to forgive my sins and give life and health to my soul, for only by your broken body and shed blood can I be saved.”
Only those who believe in Christ should participate in communion because it is a sign of being a Christian and continuing in the Christian life. Paul warns that those who eat and drink unworthily face serious consequences: “For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died” (1 Corinthians 11:29-30). Similarly, prior to participating in communion, believers are to spend time in self-examination per Paul’s instructions: “Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup” (1 Corinthians 11:27-29).
In an effort to create the appropriate atmosphere of self-examination, reflection, prayer, and praise, we often dedicate an entire service to hold communion at all five of our weekend services.
Our next communion weekend services will be the weekend of August 10-11.