By Dr. Bascom Ratliff
Pastor, Parker/Beagle/Fontana United Methodist Churches
A discussion about communion is usually not a riveting, thought-provoking topic. Nearly all churches practice communion of some sort. Some do it weekly. Some do it monthly. Some do it on special occasions. Regardless of how people practice communion, it is a celebration and remembrance of the Last Supper.
While preparing for this message, I read a number of articles about the importance of taking part in the Lord’s supper. These articles listed a number of reasons and benefits for regularly taking communion. I would like to take this opportunity to discuss some of these and to reinforce the notion that regular communion is a sacrament that has been blessed by God and provided for our nourishment and renewal.
First and foremost, communion is about remembering the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. We remember that one of his greater gifts was to provide us the wine and bread as a symbol of his sacrifice for us. Communion is an opportunity for us to remember his love and commands. It is an opportunity for us to shed the problems and distresses that seem to drag us down and sap our strength. Through communion the Holy Spirit renews our spirits and strengthen us for the weeks ahead.
Communion is about fellowship with Christ and other Christians. During the Lord’s Supper, Jesus had a meal with his followers. He blessed them and gave them a message about struggles and tasks to come. He encouraged them and assured them that he would be with them through the toughest of times. It was a powerful time of fellowship and sharing with the disciples.
When we take communion, it also is a time for sharing and fellowship. It is time for renewing our relationship with each other and with our church. It is a time to acknowledge that we are Christ centered and deeply appreciative of the sacrifices that Christ has made.
Communion is an act of powerfully proclaiming our faith and our belief that Christ will return. Believing in his promises and doing his will sends a wonderful message to others that our Lord is a loving and committed Savior who continues to support, protect, and care for us with an unfailing and consistent love.
Finally, communion is an act of obedience and confession. We confess our shortcomings to a loving God, humbly seeking forgiveness and mercy. We commit to following Christ and to doing God’s will. We acknowledge membership in his faithful church and we pledge to love and support God’s church as he commands.
As I read the thoughts and messages from others, I was overcome with a deep sense of humility and wonder. To recognize and accept that through communion Christ has given us his blood and body as a healing and sacrificial act is truly amazing. Through communion we have been renewed. Through communion we have been strengthened by the Spirit of God within us. And through communion we had been invited to partake of the nourishment and wonderful gifts that come only from a loving God. To me, there is no greater message of love and sacrifice.
If you want to hear more about God’s wonderful promise of unfailing love and enjoy a great morning of music and worship, come visit us at the Beagle, Kansas United Methodist Church on October 2, 2022. We will be worshiping at the Beagle UMC during the month of October. All services are at 10 a.m.. We’ll be sure to give you a warm welcome, a hot cup of coffee, and the best seats in the house.