Communion and the Myth of Getting Right with God

I no longer bother trying to get right with God before taking communion at church.

I don’t take communion in an effort to help me get right with God, either.

I take communion because through Jesus I am always and eternally, now and forever, right with God.

So are you, if you belong to Jesus. Amen.

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10 Responses to Communion and the Myth of Getting Right with God

  1. I think if we are living in willful sin, we are exhorted to examine ourselves and not partake of communion according to 1 Cor. 11:27-34.

    My Reformed church practices “fencing the table” so that someone who just comes to church for the first time will not be served communion unless he/she has met with the pastor or an elder ahead of time. This was hard for me to get used to 14 years ago when I joined my late husband’s church, but it does cause contemplation even though it seems unwelcoming. My Southern Baptist brother and his wife never have communion when they come to my church because they hate this practice.

    • Tim says:

      Those are thought-provoking points, Carol, and the passage on not taking communion in an unworthy manner is interesting. I think it has to do with reverence and respect, rather than unconfessed willful sin, though. The most important part of that passage is what’s not in it: Paul does not say that you can’t have communion if you haven’t examined yourself, but only that discerning communion as being the body and blood of Christ is important.

    • Marsha says:

      Is a pastor a mediator between a person and God? Does he get to police who comes to God? There is no way for him to truly know whether someone is right with God and I would not attend a church where the pastor so exults himself.

      • Tim says:

        I like when whoever’s up front explains that the Eucharist is an invitation from Jesus and we come into communion with him if we belong to him. After that, it’s up to the person to decide whether to partake. The New Testament doesn’t say it’s up to the church to police the table, but up to individuals to make sure they discern Christ in the bread and wine.

  2. Jeannie says:

    Thanks for this post, Tim — and the comments are very interesting, too. I have probably already mentioned this in a comment before, about when our former pastor did a role-play in which he appeared before the “communion police”. The first time he brought all his good deeds and accomplishments; the second time all he had to say about why he should take communion is that Jesus had died for him and invited him to partake. I think the I Corinthians passage has more to do with recognizing the significance and meaning of the sacrament — but even then, there are people who can’t mentally recognize that significance (e.g. the developmentally handicapped), yet I still think they should partake. It’s a big subject: I went to a Reformed church for many years so I know where Carol is coming from, but today I would say I don’t agree with the strictness of much of Reformed practice in this area. I am just thankful to Jesus that (as you say) He’s made me right with God, forever.

    • Tim says:

      Your take on it is the same as mine, Jeannie. We come to communion because of Jesus, and whether we understand it all or not he still wants us to come. As CS Lewis put it, “… the command, after all, was Take, eat: not Take, understand.

  3. nomoreperfect says:

    I agree, Tim. I was a member in reformed churches – various denoms – for 24 years. It astounded me when I went to a different denomination to visit and they offered the table to ALL Christians, no strings attached.

    I will say, that that Eucharist experience was the first one I truly felt what it meant to partake of the body of Christ.

  4. Pastor Bob says:

    The title confuseth, but the context context containetht he power!
    Thank you!!

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