Monday, July 26, 2010

Close Communion beyond an announcement

This Sunday was an amazing time in worship. Not only was I on a high because I was able to announce the birth of my daughter, but it also was the first time I was presiding over the body and blood of Christ "for you."

There is no greater honor as a pastor to repeat the same words as Christ over the bread and wine and distribute these gifts with the words "for you." I think we as pastors need to spend more time reflecting on the wonder and miracle we are part of.

I am a firm believer in taking the Lord's Supper very serious. In my church body, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) we believe in close communion. This means that we believe from passages from Acts and I Corinthians that the Lord's Supper should be taken only at altars that one has fellowship with. In practical terms this means that a LCMS member should not be communing at other altars and vice versa. This is more of a simple doctrinal stance.

Yet, I experienced on Sunday how close communion is also a physical reminder of how "close" one is to be with those surrounding them. Two older blessed women of faith, were standing next to one another as I announced, "Welcome to the Lord's Table." At that moment, one gal noticed the other becoming unstable and instantly grabbed her hand in order to keep her upright. Throughout the distribution they held onto one another and physically showed one another and the whole congregation that they were not only in doctrinal unity, but also going to hold each other up beyond the Supper. What a witness to me.

We all should think about this before we partake in the Lord's Supper wherever you attend. It makes me wonder about communing at other LCMS churches. When I stand up there, I'm not only saying that I believe in what you believe, but also saying that I will be there for you when in need. I'm not saying that therefore only commune at your home church, but I am also thinking that there are times one would not commune because of that very reason. One should ask will I help this guy next to me if in need as I am part of this close communion?

May we serve one another beyond our time in worship and may Christ who lives in you through His means empower us to do so.

Lord have mercy

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