ANOTHER ADDITION TO THE GALLERY
In the Christian Family Center, you can find a gallery of Confirmation Class pictures going back almost to the beginning of photography. It is a visual record of who, how and when we assure that young people are able to “examine” themselves in preparation to receive the Lord’s Supper.
If receipt of Holy Communion were merely a symbolic act showing some sort of solidarity with everyone, then we could dispense with any intense training and invite anyone who feels that “in general” they agree with us in believing in Jesus Christ (whatever that means). In reality, the Lord’s Supper is much more than a symbol of solidarity. It is a public acknowledgment that in and with the bread and wine is the miraculous presence of the body and blood of Christ.
The so-called “age of discernment” in which one is able to examine himself/herself is essentially that point in life when, despite all evidence to the contrary, we accept by faith what God says to be true. We know that it looks and tastes like unleavened bread and wine. It does not take much discernment to reach that conclusion.
It is by faith, however, that we embrace this sacrament as being more – being something miraculous – being something done to us and for us and not just by us. By faith we believe it is also the body and blood of Jesus Christ. By faith we believe that the body and blood of Christ was given for the forgiveness of our sins. By faith we believe that through this sacrament the Holy Spirit works and strengthens our faith.
Because of sin none of us is “worthy” to receive this sacrament. We all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). It is, however, our realization of our sin and our unworthiness that qualifies us to receive this sacrament. It is our ability to set aside our reason and any notions of self-sufficiency and to throw ourselves completely and without reservation on the mercy of God that enables us to receive the sacrament.
When we attend the Lord’s table we demonstrate to everyone our unworthiness because of sin. It is a public proclamation that it took the sacrifice of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, to make things right between God and us. In receiving the body and blood with the bread and wine we show everyone that our hope, our confidence and our faith rests entirely, wholly, and unequivocally in Jesus Christ and not in ourselves.
Any notion otherwise means we could be receiving the sacrament to our own judgment. To think that our salvation might belong to us because of our church membership or our especially good behavior endangers our souls. That is why there is instruction.
We welcome this new addition to our gallery and our membership. May this annual event remind all of us of God’s mercy and sacrifice in Christ. May we be mindful and vigilant in respecting the body and blood of Christ by our regular and thoughtful attendance at his table.
~ Pastor Robert Fleischmann
Commit your way to the Lord. Trust in him and he will do this. ~ Psalm 37:5