For the first time in my life, during a Sunday morning worship service, it was made clear to everyone present that only the members of churches within their specific Protestant denomination should participate in the Communion Service. I am not a member of the denomination.
On Sunday afternoon I explained to the pastor that, though not a member of a church within the denomination, Jesus Christ was my Savior, and I very much desired to live with Him as the Lord of my life. After an hour of conversation in which I was asked many questions, Bottom Line: No. He was satisfied with my answers to his questions, but he could not know how I lived out my faith. He said he was concerned that I might eat and drink in an unworthy manner. After this experience, I talked with two other pastors and a college president within the denomination. They were sorry I had this unfortunate experience.
At this point I am very glad I was denied participation in the Lord’s Supper because it has caused me to work through what I really do believe, and why. I have read the 50+ page document prepared by the above un-named denomination on who should be able to, and who should kept from, the fellowship of Breaking Bread together. I have carefully studied the passages that tell about Jesus’ last supper with His disciples: Matthew 26:20-29, Mark 14:17-24, Luke 22:15-22. John does not include an account. The Apostle Paul wrote In I Corinthians the most complete account of that evening. Before serving the elements at DL, I would read the words Jesus said to His disciples: “For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” I Corinthians 23-25.
Paul wrote verse 23 to say he had not been present at he was not present at that Breaking of Bread service, but is sharing what he was told concerning it. The bold print is what Jesus said.
Looking back, I wish I would have also read the words Paul wrote after the words of Jesus: “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. Therefore, 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. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself “ Corinthians 11: 26-29
The pastor who denied me communion was taking very seriously my participation in the Lord’s Supper. This is right to do. But, I do not feel the pastor could know my heart, In fact, I cannot fully understand my own heart. The prophet Jeremiah wrote (17:9) “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”
If I am to live In Partnership With God, I absolutely must take the time to examine my own heart before I break bread together with my brothers in Christ. And when we are going to make it possible to have our children, or campers, break bread with us, we must be sure they know to examine themselves, to check out their own hearts.
Each of us must ask forgiveness of Jesus Christ for our sins, and, when possible, this may require that we ask forgiveness of other people. And we should be joyful in our hearts that we know our sins that separate us from God have been forgiven because Jesus Christ gave His life – He let His body be broken; He was willing to give His blood for us.
In the Old Testament perfect lambs were sacrificed for the forgiveness of sin. Jesus Christ was the permanent lamb that gave His life for us. “What a wonderful Savior is Jesus My Lord, What a Wonderful Savior Is He”.