Word of the Month

Holy Communion – central to the congregation

April 2013

When we celebrate Holy Communion, we proclaim the sacrifice of Christ. Today people attach great importance to morals and ethics, but unfortunately people try to bring everything down to this level: “All you have to do is do something good. All you have to do is be a better person, and everything will be alright!” In other words, people believe that if you are morally beyond reproach, if you have an ethically correct attitude and align your life by it, then everything will be alright and you will find your way to God. It is not wrong to have morals and ethics! Of course we need morals and ethics, but these alone will not suffice. With ethical values and moral actions alone we will not come to God. In order to enter into fellowship with God, we need the sacrifice of Christ. Without the sacrifice of Christ, this will not happen. When we celebrate Holy Communion we celebrate the sacrifice of Christ and thereby emphasise how important the sacrifice of Christ is for salvation. This is central to the gospel and to Christian doctrine: we absolutely need the sacrifice of Christ in order to enter into fellowship with God.

Certain Christians might object: “I only need Communion twice a year or maybe, at the most, once a month!” Are we still credible if this sacrifice does not seem all that important to us? When Christians, children of God, no longer feel a need for Holy Communion, they are actually no longer credible. But when a congregation has cele­brated Holy Communion and is joyful and grateful to God, one can tell: indeed these people are glad that they have the sacrifice of Christ!

When we celebrate Holy Communion, we celebrate the victory of the Lord. By human standards everything seemed lost on Good Friday. From a human point of view, everything had come to an end with Christ’s death on the cross. And yet it was precisely then that the Lord triumphed over hell and death! We profess this and it strengthens us. When we celebrate Holy Communion it is as though we were telling one another: “Don’t worry, the Lord has gained the victory! He will continue to conquer!” This certainty of the Lord’s victory is something we share among one another, but let us also spread this message to others! After all, if the congregations are empty people will also have some trouble believing in the victory of Christ! The Lord instituted Holy Communion in the circle of the Apostles. In the New Apostolic Church we celebrate Communion among and with the Apostles. Therefore when we celebrate Holy Communion, we profess: “We have found the Lord in the Apostle ministry!” This is something special. It will also have outward effects when a congregation celebrates Holy Communion together, when the Lord’s Supper is at the heart of the congregation. Holy Scripture states: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Corinthians 11: 26). We thus proclaim the death and the victory of the Lord! And we also proclaim the power of love! When Jesus gained the victory, He did so by the power of love. Love has triumphed. The love of God for mankind, the love of the Son for mankind and His Father—this is what has led to the victory! When we celebrate Holy Communion we celebrate the power of love.                   

(From a divine service by the Chief Apostle Helper)