The centrality of Holy Communion…

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Scripture: Luke 22:14 When the hour came, he took his place at the table, and the apostles with him. 15 He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16 for I tell you, I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; 18 for I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 20 And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”

Observation: We often refer to this passage as “The Last Supper” and it is from this story that we derive the Christian practice of Holy Communion – a.k.a. The Lord’s Supper or the Eucharist. A high regard for the practice of Holy Communion is a defining characteristic of the Lutheran church, of which I am a pastor. When you enter most Lutheran churches you’ll notice the front-center spot in the worship space isn’t a pulpit for the preacher, or seating for the choir, or a platform for the worship band – as you might find in other churches. What stands front-center is… the altar. It’s the table to which God’s people are invited to celebrate Holy Communion, where we receive the body and blood of Christ through bread and wine.

Application: At the church I lead we’ll soon be launching a “contemporary” worship service on Sunday evenings. As I’ve worked with the planning team these last few months, we’ve had interesting conversations about what the service will include and what it will not include. I haven’t insisted on many things, but the inclusion of Holy Communion is one of them. When we come to the altar during worship, stretch out our hands to receive the bread, open our lips to drink the wine – we remember Jesus’ sacrifice for us. It’s a sacrifice we can never repay, but one we should never forget.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, you willingly humbled yourself before wicked men. You were mocked, cursed, beaten and crucified for our sakes. Give us grace to never forget who you are as our Lord and savior, who we are as God’s children. We ask this in your precious name. Amen.

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