New Apostolic Church USA


"Do this in remembrance of Me: Celebrating Holy Communion" from the Spring 2018 Vision Newsletter

On the same night in which He was betrayed, Jesus instituted Holy Communion in the presence of His disciples during their celebration of Passover. Holy Communion, also known as the Lord’s Supper, the Eucharist, and the breaking of bread, is the moment set aside for Christians to gather to remember Christ’s sacrifice and all that He accomplished for them through His selfless act of love. The celebration of this sacrament can never be taken lightly nor can it be allowed to become mundane; every time is an opportunity for a soul to remember and fellowship with their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Why do we continue to celebrate Holy Communion during our divine services today? Simply because Jesus Himself is the origin of it, He is its focus and content, and He commanded that it be continued. When Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper in the Upper Room, an element of this institution was His command to repeat this supper in remembrance of Him as He said, “Do this in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19). The Apostle Paul re-iterated this point and expounded upon it when writing to the Corinthians. In 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, Paul says,

For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.

Notice the command being repeated – “do this in remembrance of Me.” And then the repetition of the words, “as often,” indicating that this celebration wasn’t just to be a one-time event. “You proclaim” indicates that this meal is a moment of professing our faith. And finally, “till He comes” tells us that we are to continue remembering what He has done through His death until He fulfills His promise to return.

It is clear from Scripture that we should continually celebrate Holy Communion, but the New Testament doesn’t dictate how often we are to celebrate it. In the New Apostolic Church, we have the opportunity to participate in Holy Communion every time we come together for a divine service. While that opens the way for us to share in fellowship with Jesus each week, it also opens the possibility for our celebrations to become routine and dull, and for us to become callous to the moment. Some may ask themselves, “Why do we have to do this same thing repeatedly?” In addition, it’s possible that for some, Holy Communion means it’s time to nudge the person next to them because their mind has gone elsewhere during the service. And sadly, for some of us, it’s just an indicator that the divine service is coming to its end.

As believers in Jesus Christ, we must do our best to protect ourselves from becoming apathetic to the celebration of Holy Communion and keep it from becoming part of a routine. Holy Communion is an integral part of our life with Christ, and is a moment that we should look forward to, prepare ourselves for, and be fully present in.

Our lives are very busy and time flies by for many of us. In order to keep up with all of the things we need to accomplish and everywhere we need to go, our minds are constantly working to remind ourselves of those things. In order to celebrate Holy Communion properly, we must intentionally set aside time to remember what Jesus has done on our behalf. This act of remembering cannot just be done in the moments immediately preceding Holy Communion. Time must be spent throughout the week to remember how great the grace of Jesus is.

How can we do our best to protect ourselves from diminishing the importance of the Lord’s Supper in our life?

First, we keep our focus on Jesus Christ. Take the time to remember that Jesus’ death on the cross was a historical event. It really happened!

  • It happened because our Heavenly Father loves us so much that He wanted to restore His relationship with us.
  • It happened because it was the only way for us to be forgiven of our sin.
  • It happened because we were powerless against sin and could not enter into fellowship with our Heavenly Father on our own.
  • It happened so that the Scriptures could be fulfilled.
  • It happened so that we could be rescued, set free, and receive the promise of eternal life.

When we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, we feast spiritually by faith on all the promises of God that were purchased by the blood of Jesus.

Second, in preparation for this meal, we have to consider what it means to be forgiven. What impact has Jesus’ act of grace had on your life? What does it mean to you that you no longer have to live with the guilt of your sin? What has Jesus set you free from? As you answer these questions, it’s very possible that you will end up standing, sitting, or kneeling in awe of Jesus. Take the time to worship Him and give thanks for all He has done for you. In these moments, you may discover a deeper understanding of the Lord’s Supper. Imagine how powerful our celebration could be if we would all come together prepared in this way.

Third, Paul cautioned those participating in the breaking of bread to do so worthily by taking the time to examine themselves prior to coming to the table (1 Corinthians 11:28). We are to come with a proper attitude of humility and repentance. Recognize that you did not earn your place at the table by your works and good deeds, but that your place was secured by the grace of Jesus Christ and that you have the opportunity to take your place only by faith. Examine your life and see where sin has creeped in, and then, through repentance, invite Jesus into those places so that you can turn away from the things that seek to separate you from God. Humbly reflect on any offense you committed against a brother or sister, and resolve yourself to make it right with them. Strive, as Paul wrote to the Philippians, to let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ (Philippians 1:27).

Holy Communion is one of the most precious gifts Christ has given to His church. When we participate in the Lord’s Supper, we meet with the living Christ and receive the benefits of communing with the Bread of Heaven. Never take the opportunity to share in this moment lightly, and encourage each other to celebrate Holy Communion with the proper preparedness, reverence, and sensitivity.

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