In September, seven young Christians, baptized members of First Lutheran, after hours of instruction and experience, received the Lord’s Supper (also known as Holy communion, the Eucharist) for the first time in their life…. But certainly not the last time. They are bright, alert, and well taught (who wouldn’t be with Valerie Grohne as their dedicated and consecrated teacher). From now on, they have the right and privilege of standing in line and/or kneeling at the communion rail and receiving the precious body and blood of our living Saviour, as Luther described it, ‘in, with, and under’ the bread and wine. Through not Confirmed (voting members) they have every right to receive the presence of Our Lord in their lives as much as any adult member has.
They are: Allie Allgeier, Isaac Byrkit, Tessa Byrkit, Brett Giltner, Krista Giltner, Leighton Oliver, and Mason Oliver.
We as a congregation rejoice with them. So does their Mothers and Fathers and other siblings and grandparents. So does the very angels in heaven.
Psalm 144:12 conveys our wish for them.
“May our sons flourish in their youth like well nurtured plants. May our daughters be like graceful pillars carved to beautify a palace.” We pray that as they continue to grow and experience the presence of Christ, they will grow in body, mind and soul.
In Baptism, the Holy Spirit came to enable each of them to receive the message of the Saviour Jesus Christ and to experience God working in their lives. Now they are open to receive the Divine Saviour in person, in their very being.
They are reassured that God loves them, reassured that God forgives sin, reassured that Jesus wants to fill their minds and bodies as well as their souls.
Holy Communion was instituted by Jesus himself…as the Bible says “given and shed for you and for all people”.
As I considered the happy serious privilege of being a child of God and receiving the precious body and blood of our Saviour through the Eucharist, I had some thoughts I wanted to share with you.
RISK! Consider the risk involved with receiving. Our Lord takes a risk in coming to a person. Christ does it to bring grace to the receiver.. but Christ does not know whether the receiver will belie e in HIS presence, or even welcome HIM, or understand the sacrifice Jesus is making in giving HIS grace.
Will there be a serious appreciation, an acknowledgement of how precious a gift is given? Will there be joy at the very idea that Jesus now lives inside the receiver? We know that when we eat food, it nourishes our body and mind. It becomes part of us. Jesus gives himself taking a risk that the communicant will not want or allow Jesus to be alive in his/her life.
Then there is the risk that the sincere receiver has in receiving the elements of the Lord’s supper. What will God expect of me? Where will Jesus take me in life? What opportunities will come my way to share my faith, if not in words, then in deeds? The risk is that the Living Lord who has come to indwell may give us situations where we must totally depend upon God to work our way through… Risky business!
What joy there is at a Sunday service to see Christian after Christian line up to experience the risk Jesus takes, and the risk Jesus gives to us. Going back to the seven youth… and each of us were once like them… a first time experience that has led to a weekly experience of receiving our Lord anew…
Going back to them… Each are loved by parents and family. Now parents an family have the gift of witnessing to their son or daughter how serious they are about their faith by the way they follow through and also are receivers. What joy there is when Mom and/or Dad kneels down at the communion rail to receive the presence of Chist anew and by their side is also kneeling the youthful Christian.
Think of the great potential of who that son or daughter might become because of the faithful love of the parents and grandparents sharing the same holy meal together. No matter how old I get, or how old my family members are, there is a warm, positive feeling, (do I dare say a thrill?) when I am joined at the side at the communion table and I hear the words.” the body of Christ given for you, the blood of Christ shed for you” spoken to me and to my son/daughter. I feel like our Loving God is tying us together with a golden ribbon. We are bound together in Christ our Saviour. It is a privilege, an honor, a gift, a blessing from the grace of God when the family comes together at the Lord’s Supper. No one can take that away from you. Never surrender to some lesser cause that privilege of communing together. Treasure the Lord’s Supper as (not a gift FROM God) nothing less than the gift OF GOD/
Welcome to the Lord’s Table. Again and again and again and ………..