The Last Supper/Holy Communion
In the sacred ordinance of communion, believers partake in a profoundly blessed and sacred bond, both with their risen Lord and with one another. This act unites heart and mind in devotion to the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. No other service so profoundly reflects the essential elements of Christian experience and faith. As a pastor, it is my solemn duty to understand and convey its truth and to direct its observance in such a manner that its holy significance is deeply felt by each participant at every observance.
Given its special nature, it is imperative that we ensure proper preparation of the table and the elements. The use of clean linens and immaculate communion-ware is indispensable, symbolizing the purity and faultlessness of Jesus, who was without sin. Holy Communion should never be treated as a mere appendage to a service, nor should it be disconnected from the service's theme. Its sacred character and spiritual depth warrant its position as the climactic point in the worship service. As a pastor, it is crucial, though done with grace, to clarify that the Lord's table is reserved for the Lord's people – those who are born again and living a holy life. Scripture clearly states that each individual must bear the responsibility before God to assess their readiness to partake: “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup” (1 Corinthians 11:28). However, participation is not optional for the believer: “This do” (11:24). I firmly believe in the utmost importance of allowing a time for personal reflection before proceeding with the rite of Holy Communion.
Within Eagle Wings Ministries, anyone of adult mind, capable of making their own decisions, is encouraged to appropriately examine themselves before partaking in Holy Communion. In the context of families, parents should be given the prerogative to decide when and if their children are ready to receive the elements, particularly if they are confident that their child has prayed to receive Christ and understands the symbolism involved.
Simultaneous communion, commonly practiced due to its enhancement of congregational unity, involves communicants retaining the bread when served, and all partaking together upon a given signal. Similarly, this is done with the cup.
As the act of Holy Communion is fundamentally about obedience to the Lord Jesus and reflects the sacred bond between the individual and their risen Lord, it is also the first act completed after the sealing of a husband and wife in Holy Matrimony. In the context of a wedding ceremony, the act of Holy Communion takes on a special significance. As a pastor, I have the privilege of administering Communion to the newlywed couple, symbolizing their first act of unity under the lordship of Christ. This sacred moment lays the foundation for a marriage centered on Christ, reflecting the strength and unity of a three-stranded cord, as beautifully depicted in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12. This passage eloquently speaks to the strength found in companionship and unity, both with our spouse and with Christ. A marriage rooted in Christ is like a three-ply cord, strong and resilient, capable of withstanding the trials of life.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (CEB)
“Two are better than one because they have a good return for their hard work. 10 If either should fall, one can pick up the other. But how miserable are those who fall and don’t have a companion to help them up! 11 Also, if two lie down together, they can stay warm. But how can anyone stay warm alone? 12 Also, one can be overpowered, but two together can put up resistance. A three-ply cord doesn’t easily snap.”
In conclusion, Holy Communion is a profound expression of our faith, a moment where heaven touches earth, and we, as believers, are drawn into a deeper communion with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is a time of reflection, thanksgiving, and renewal, reminding us of the sacrifice of Christ and the hope we have in Him. As we partake in this sacred ordinance, let us do so with reverence, gratitude, and a heart attuned to the profound mystery and grace it represents.