Christmastime, like any other year was pretty hectic this last year. I had to stop and take stock one day, as I found myself with my mouth full and overflowing with sugar cookies with globby green icing, short tempered, and resenting the box of decorations sitting on my living room floor in front of the naked Blue Spruce. As I stood in the middle of the kitchen, it was as if the Lord whispered in a southern accent, “Honey, you are more worked up than a mule running the Kentucky Derby. I didn’t even ask you for a birthday party!” “You didn’t?” I said out loud.
It was true! I suddenly realized that the Lord didn’t command us to celebrate His birth. It is a wonderful meaningful time, but nowhere in scripture did Christ ask for a birthday party every year (as much as I love to give Him one anyway!)
Then my mind immediately went to all the things that He did ask His followers to do — one, namely, was to remember His death. Or participate in our version of that memorial service — Communion. Did I spend near enough time preparing my heart for Communion the way I did for Christmas? Not even close. So I determined that this year I would start with that one thing. I would pay attention to and prepare my heart for remembering His death and the supernatural power that it has to set me free.
So, this Sunday is Communion Sunday. I put together a cheat sheet for properly preparing my heart to come to the Lord’s Table. Feel free to use it to prepare yourself for this important ordinance! You’ll be amazed at the depth that the Holy Spirit will bring to the service for you.
Who should and should not take communion:
Anyone who has a personal relationship with Christ should come. No one needs to stay away from communion or “the Lord’s Table” because they have sin in their life – we all have sin in our life. No one needs to stay away from communion because they have doubts – Jesus included doubting Thomas at the table along with the rest of the disciples. No one needs to stay away from communion because they are struggling spiritually – Jesus invited the weary and heavy laden to come to him and find rest. If you do not yet have a personal relationship with Him there is no reason to remember His death, and you might actually be doing more harm than good.
Why the way we take communion matters (Why bother to prepare?)
There are a couple of things that scriptures instruct us to do prior to taking communion, or coming to “the Lord’s Table” .
A) The first is that we don’t take communion in an “unworthy” manner. Because “whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.” 1 Cor 11:27 Ack! I know I don’t want to be guilty of that!
B) Nor do I want to bring weakness, illness, or even death upon myself (I don’t know if he was referring to physical or emotional/spiritual, but I don’t want either of those – physical or spiritual weakness, sickness, sleepiness, or death! 1 Cor 11:30)
PREPARING YOUR HEART AND MIND FOR COMMUNION…before you get to church — ideally throughout the weekend…
(1) Examine your heart for ongoing sin and choose to turn from it. You are already forgiven, but should speak your sin to the Lord in agreement with His view of it, and then change your behavior/thought processes/attitudes.
I Cor 11:28 A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.
(2) Take care of any business you have outstanding with other believers
Matt 5:23-24 23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. 1Cor11:31 But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.
(3) Take time to remember/muse/meditate on why He died
Matt 26:26-28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
1Cor 11:29-30 For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.
(4) Take time to “proclaim the Lord’s death” — tell someone!
Just wanted to bounce that past you so we can all come before the Lord in a worthy manner on Sunday!