A Brief Explanation of Our Communion Practice

In the Lord’s Supper, according to Christ’s own Word and institution, his true body and blood are objectively present in the consecrated bread and wine and are received orally by every communicant (Mark 14:22-24; 1 Cor. 10:16). Communicants who repent of their sins and trust in the promises of their Savior receive from him the forgiveness of their sins and all the blessings that flow from this forgiveness (Matt. 26:26-28), but those who commune in an unworthy manner, without discerning the Lord’s body, sin against Christ’s body and blood and eat and drink to their own judgment (1 Cor. 11:27-31). Participating in this Sacrament is, therefore, a very serious matter.

For this reason communicants are solemnly commanded by St. Paul to examine themselves before partaking (1 Cor. 11:28), in light of the Christian instruction that they have previously received (1 Cor. 11:2). Our congregation offers such instruction from God’s Word, in the form of Confirmation classes, to those who wish to become communicants in the Lutheran Church (Matt. 28:18-20). These classes are taught with the use of Luther’s Small Catechism, which is one of our church’s official Confessions, and which we believe to be a faithful summary of the teachings of Holy Scripture on those matters that are directly applicable to a Christian’s preparation for Communion (Heb. 13:7-9a).

Our mutual participation in the Lord’s Supper is also an outward manifestation of our Biblically-based oneness in the faith (John 8:31-32; 1 Cor. 10:17). As we commune together, we remember our Lord and everything he has taught and accomplished for our salvation (Luke 22:19-20), and we jointly proclaim the saving Gospel of Christ crucified in all its fullness (1 Cor. 11:23-26). Our Confirmation instruction helps to prepare us for this aspect of the Lord’s Supper as well, since it enables us to unite at the altar in an informed confession of what we all believe, as a Christian fellowship, about the Savior who there meets us (2 Tim. 3:14-17; Rom. 15:4-6; 1 Cor. 1:10).

One of the important ways in which our congregation publicly testifies to its faith is through its membership in the Evangelical Lutheran Synod, an orthodox Lutheran church body affiliated with the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference. In their mutual adherence to the historic faith of the Lutheran Church, the congregations of our ecclesiastical fellowship share a fundamental unity in doctrine and practice that we believe to be based on the clear teachings of Holy Scripture (Jude 3).

We invite confirmed Lutherans who are in confessional unity with our church to commune with us (Acts 2:42). If it is possible, we do ask those who have not previously communed in our congregation to speak with the pastor beforehand (1 Cor. 4:1). Visitors who may have some questions about our Communion practice, or about any other subject, are also cordially invited to speak with the pastor.

Mark 14:22-24: And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” Then He took the cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. And He said to them, “This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many.”

1 Corinthians 10:16: The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

Matthew 26:26-28: And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”

1 Corinthians 11:27-31: Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.

1 Corinthians 11:28: But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.

1 Corinthians 11:2: Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you.

Matthew 28:18-20: And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

Hebrews 13:7-9a: Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines.

John 8:31-32: Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

1 Corinthians 10:17: For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread.

Luke 22:19-20: And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.”

1 Corinthians 11:23-26: For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.

2 Timothy 3:14-17: But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Romans 15:4-6: For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 1:10: Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

Jude 3: Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.

Acts 2:42: And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.

1 Corinthians 4:1: Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.

All Scripture quotations are from the New King James Version, copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

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