Here at Sovereign Hope, we celebrate communion together on the first Sunday of every month. Communion is one of the few things which Jesus himself explicitly told the church to do (Luke 22:14-23). I have had the privilege of being raised in the church, but one downside of that is I can become thoughtless about communion. I have taken communion hundreds of times and if I am not careful I can take a special thing, and treat it as something ordinary. Rest assured, there is nothing ordinary about the gospel. Communion helps us celebrate the gospel together as the church of Christ. So here are some practices you and your family can do to help prepare your hearts for this Sunday:
Just pause. Set an alarm on your phone, maybe for when you are driving home, or walking to class, or after the kids have gone to bed, and just pause. Think about what communion represents. Glance at Leviticus 16, and look at all the hubbub that went into the Day of Atonement. See how the weight of sin amidst God’s people demanded an annual sacrifice of Biblical proportion. Then look ahead to Hebrews 10 where we see that the Day of Atonement, all the blood, all the sacrifices, all the death pointed forward to Christ, in whom true atonement is given to all of God’s people.
Memorize 1 Peter 3:24, “He himself bore our sin in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” Such a great reminder as to why we are eating a cracker, and drinking a cup: they represent the brutality that brought us life. We don’t take the elements (cracker and juice) together on cue, so you have some liberties as to when and how you take it. But this is a great verse to recite as a prayer as you remember Christ’s sacrifice.
3. Bear the Church in Mind
When Jesus gave the church the task of communion, he did so with the whole church in mind. It’s very easy to come to church as an individual, and leave church as an individual. But no part of church is individualistic. God raised a person to save a people. We are celebrating Christ’s sacrifice with all the believers which are present with us that weekend. This is a great celebration. As we commune over the sacrifice of Christ together, we are bound together all the more through Christ. Paul speaks of this special unity in Ephesians 2:18-22.
In the days leading up to communion pray that God judges you. That sounds morbid and unloving, but it is just the opposite. In 1 Corinthians 11:32 Paul says, “But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.” For the non-believer, judgment is a fearful matter, for the believer judgment enhances the glory of Christ because it shows our sin in light of the cross. Paul wrote that verse in the context of preparing one’s heart for communion. We prepare our hearts by facing and confessing our sin head-on. Forcing the cross to bear the weight, and displace the burden of sin in our redeemed hearts. Pray that God gives you the grace of conviction and then present those sins as dead in Christ.
Easter, salvation and communion should be the three greatest celebrations we as Christians make much of. Easter is the party, salvation is the result, and communion is the joyful, penitent remembrance of Christ’s completed work on the cross. Bask in the beauty of redemption. Rejoice in the shadow of the cross. Ask God to stir in you a great affection this Sunday as we take the elements as a church in remembrance of Christ.
Teach these things to your family. Read the scripture with your roommates. Pray for a greater celebration with your community group. But more importantly come this Sunday ready to worship Christ in a special way as we take communion together.