Preparing Your Heart and Home for Communion
During these unusual times, you may be wondering: “How do I prepare for Calvary’s Communion service? Is it OK to do this at home?”
Obviously, the current situation has necessitated major changes to our normal worship gatherings. This month, our Communion service will be held online. For many of us, this is the first time we have ever attempted something as meaningful as Communion online. While it is not ideal and normally we associate the commemoration of Communion with gathering as a church family, there is no biblical reason why we cannot “gather” through means of technology to remember our Lord’s death and proclaim our faith in Him through this sacred symbol.
Many people are influenced, in some measure, by Roman Catholic teaching and tradition which views the actual elements, the bread, and the cup, as somehow transformed by the act of a priest into the actual body and blood of Christ. Even Protestants, who reject this doctrine known as transubstantiation, still feel sometimes that the actual bread and cup at the church are sacred in some mystical way.
These ideas are not rooted in scripture. The purpose of Communion is primarily to remember our Lord’s sacrifice and to profess our faith in the same. Jesus took real bread and wine, the actual elements on the table, and used those to symbolize His body and blood. The elements used in the church are the same that you could purchase or make yourself. There is nothing inherently magical or mystical about the elements themselves, but it is the truth they symbolize and what they commemorate that make the act of Communion so important to us.
So, how do you get ready at home?
Prepare the Elements
The elements of Communion are unleavened bread and wine, or the unfermented juice from grapes. Unleavened bread was the type of bread used at the Jewish Passover meal. You can buy unleavened bread at a store or make your own using a recipe like the one in the link below. In fact, it could be a good family project to do this week as a way of preparing. Rest assured though you can participate even without unleavened bread. Use whatever you have and do the best you can.
The conversation about whether the “wine” used by Jesus is fermented or not and the implications of using real wine or unfermented grape juice is beyond the scope of this brief instruction. For many reasons, we always use unfermented juice at Calvary, just like you buy at a store. Prepare according to your conscience and custom.
Make sure you have elements prepared for everyone in your family or a few friends you may gather with while maintaining all the appropriate social distancing guidelines to protect yourself and others.
The purpose of Communion is to:
• Remember – We remember what Jesus did for us. The bread symbolizes His body broken for us upon the cross. The cup symbolizes His blood shed for the forgiveness of our sins. As we take the elements together we are remembering what Jesus did for us.
23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, and said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me. 1 Corinthians 11:23-25, CSB
• Reflect – We are commanded to examine ourselves. Is there unconfessed sin? Are our hearts right toward God and others? The Bible warns about those who partake in an unworthy manner. This means that those who approach spiritual truths in a flippant or reckless manner bring judgment upon themselves as they disregard the saving grace of God toward us. Take this seriously. Ask God to search your heart. Confess your sin to Him. Ask for His cleansing forgiveness and submit yourself to His will and authority in your life.
Let a person examine himself; in this way let him eat the bread and drink from the cup.
1 Corinthians 11:28, CSB
• Repent – If God speaks to your heart, act on it. Don’t ignore the voice of God. Don’t marginalize what the Holy Spirit may be saying to you at this time. Make the changes God is telling you to make.
If we were properly judging ourselves, we would not be judged, 1 Corinthians 11:31, CSB
We hope you will be able to gather with your family or with a few close friends while maintaining all the social distancing guidelines to protect yourself and others. However, even if you’re alone, know that you are not alone. We are all in this together and Communion is a reminder that we are part of God’s family, the greatest family ever. We may not be physically present with one another, but we can join together to remember and give thanks. Watch the 9:30 or 11:30 service online and let’s receive Communion as best we can to remember all that this day means, all our Savior has done for us, and that we are indeed one body in Christ.