Blue Bloods, my favorite TV show, is entering its 14th season on CBS. This is the fictional account of the Reagan family on New York City, with Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck) leading the family and the NYPD as Commissioner, along with his cop sons, district attorney daughter, and former PC father sitting around the table for family dinner on Sundays.
And this is a regular feature of every episode: Sunday dinner after church at the Reagan house. After spending the week fighting crime and working for justice, the Reagan family returns to the homestead to reconnect and share a formal meal together. Nobody eats until they all get there, and they say grace as a family – in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and making the sign of the Cross! (CBS allows it!)
It is with this theme in mind that I share with you the new opportunities to celebrate Sunday Dinner at God’s House. Starting in September, we will offer the Lord’s Supper at every regular worship service, every weekend.
There are a couple reasons for this. First off, this is the model of the New Testament, in which every worship gathering of believers included the Supper (Acts 2:42), which continued throughout the history of the Early Church until around the 18th Century, when some Christians disavowed the Real Presence of Christ in His Sacrament, and so it lost meaning and importance to them. Now, in the Lutheran Church at least – and the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod in particular – we are rediscovering the power and joy of tasting the forgiveness in Christ’s Body and Blood.
Holy Communion is what Jesus says it is, regardless of what we may think or feel. When Jesus says, “This IS my Body,” IS means IS. If I don’t believe that, the problem is with me, not with His Word or His Sacrament. Because He has taught me this and inspired me to cling to this soul-saving, life-giving truth, I receive what He promises to give at His Table: the forgiveness of all my sins, through His Body and Blood.
Secondly, Jesus says to do this often. He doesn’t define often legally, but given how often I sin, I can’t get His grace often enough! I treasure how frequently Jesus tells me, “Your sins are forgiven,” in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I rejoice in every opportunity I receive His Body and Blood, which He has freely given and shed for me, taking my sin and upon Himself, and refueling my faith with His grace.
On any given worship day, you or I may be feeling the weight of our sinfulness and selfishness. What a relief it would be to take in the righteousness of God’s Son, while He takes out my unrighteousness. But this is the wrong worship day, you’ll just have to wait until next time! Now, starting in September, we will always have the grace we need, when we need it, right there at our fingertips, and on our tongues.
Keep this in mind: you do not have to take Communion every time it’s offered. In your spiritual walk with Christ, if every other week suits you just fine, then that’s what you do. You are not a better Christian for taking it every week, and you’re not a worse one if you don’t. The Lord will guide each one of us. If He leads you not to partake at a given service, then sing the communion songs loudly, with all your heart, celebrating His amazing grace!
As a reminder, here’s our Confessional Communion statement (I dislike the terms “Open Communion” or “Closed Communion,” as neither are in the Bible and cause confusion):
1. We confess we are sinners in need of God’s forgiveness.
2. We confess Jesus is our only Savior from sin and death.
3. We confess the Real Presence of Christ’s Body and Blood.
4. We confess our Spirit-led intent to amend our sinful lives.
If you share in this confession and faith, then please join us in receiving Christ’s Body and Blood in His Sacrament. If this is not what you believe, or you have serious doubts or questions about these things, then please speak to one of our pastors before you participate in the Supper.
Pastor Steve Kline was installed as Senior Pastor at SHLC on May 25, 2014, after serving 12 years as Senior Pastor at Zion in Wayside, WI. He was ordained in 1992 and previously served congregations in Pulaski and Hales Corners.