Now, in just a minute, we’re going to celebrate Holy Communion. And as I said at the very beginning, this sacrament reminds us of the old, old story. It tells the story. But it’s more than that. This blessed sacrament invites us to enter into the story – to become a part of it.
In fact, through his Holy Spirit, we actually meet the main character of the old, old story – the Lord Jesus Christ. As we gather with our brothers and sisters in Christ and bow before him, Christ gathers with us in our midst. He’s with us in and through his Spirit as we receive his body and blood that he so lovingly and freely gave on our behalf.
But as I said, you have to enter into this by faith. United Methodists believe that this sacrament is an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace. In other words, we don’t receive this grace simply by going through the motions. Instead, it’s with joyful, thankful, love-filled hearts, that we receive the bread and cup in faith and trust and by which we commune with our Lord.
This is why you’ll always hear Pastor Bruce say, right before he invites you to come forward for Communion, that we’re no longer United Methodists, but Christians. That’s why everyone is invited to come.
But he also says, and our liturgy also reminds us, that we must come in faith and repentance. Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 11 that we must participate in a worthy manner. The liturgy that we’ll use this morning says…
Christ our Lord invites to his table all who love him,
who earnestly repent of their sin
and seek to live in peace with one another.
A few pages further in the hymnal, another order of Communion says this…
Ye that do truly and earnestly repent of your sins,
and are in love and charity with your neighbors,
and intend to lead a new life, following the commandments of God,
and walking henceforth in his holy ways:
Draw near with faith, and take this Holy Sacrament to your comfort,
and make your humble confession to almighty God.
Now, does that sound casual to you? Do those words indicate a lax attitude?
Beloved, if you’ve never genuinely and consciously repented of your sin and placed your trust in Christ as your Savior and Lord, I can’t imagine a better time and place for that to happen than today. And I want to encourage all of us, as you read the liturgy this morning, I want you to let it really come from your heart.
And then, when you come forward this morning to receive the bread and cup, do so with humble, joyful, and thankful hearts for what our Lord has done for us.
Thanks be to God.
Grace and Truth,