“Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night when He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to the disciples and said: “Take, eat; this is My body, which is given for you. This do in remembrance of Me.”The Words of Institution, according to Matthew (Matthew 26:26-28), Mark (Mark 14:22-24), Luke (Luke 22:19-20), and St. Paul (1 Corinthians 11:23-25).
In the same way also He took the cup after supper, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you; this cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.“
Receiving Christ’s Body and Blood
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 10:16, “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread
that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?” Paul also writes in 1 Corinthians 11:28-29, “Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.”
Because the Lord’s Supper is a true participation in the Lord’s body and blood, and because Scripture instructs each person to examine himself concerning the Lord’s Supper and warns against eating and drinking without discerning the body and blood, and so eating and drinking judgment on oneself, Redeemer continues the historic practice of Closed Communion. As an act of spiritual care, Redeemer will only commune those who discern the Lord’s body and blood in His Supper and desire to receive His gifts for the forgiveness of sin.
It is good for all Christians to examine themselves each time they prepare to receive the Lord’s body and blood in His Supper. You may use Christian Questions and Their Answers to examine yourself in preparation for receiving the Lord’s Supper.
Redeemer also offers private confession and absolution, where you may confess to the pastor any sins that are troubling you, and the pastor will listen and forgive your sins according to Jesus’ promise (John 20:19-23). If you would like to meet for private confession and absolution in preparation for receiving the Lord’s Supper or at any other time to receive comfort for your troubled conscience, please contact Pastor Nemec. To read more about confession and absolution, click here.
Unity in Faith
The Lord’s Supper is a Communion with Christ, and it is also meant to be an expression of our unity together in Christ. The Lord’s Supper is not a private, personal supper, but it is corporate. As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 10:17, “Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.”
Sadly, when we do not believe and confess the same things concerning God’s Word and Sacraments, we show that we are not yet united but are still divided. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 11:18-20, “For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part, for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized.”
When we commune together, we are expressing our unity of faith in Christ. When we commune while divided on matters of faith, we are not truly united. We strive towards unity of faith, so that we may commune together as fully united by faith in Christ and His Word. Because of this, Redeemer communes only those Christians who have been instructed in the chief articles of the Christian faith and who have confessed their belief in these teachings.
Redeemer Lutheran Church is a part of the Lutheran Chruch – Missouri Synod. Our church body practices a formal process of instruction in the chief parts of the Christian faith in preparation for receiving the Lord’s Supper. This instruction is commonly referred to as catechesis, confirmation class, or catechism instruction. Those who have received catechesis and have publicly confessed their belief in the Christian faith are “confirmed members” in our church body. To learn more about becoming a confirmed member of our church, contact Pastor Nemec.
If you are visiting Redeemer for the first time, please speak to Pastor Nemec regarding participation in Communion. Those who share our confession of faith are confirmed in and in good standing with the Lutheran Church— Missouri Synod are welcome to fully participate. Everyone else is welcome to come forward to receive a verbal blessing. Anyone who wishes to receive a blessing from the pastor may approach the altar during the distribution. Please approach the altar with your arms crossed over your chest so that the elder and the pastor know you are receiving a blessing and not being communed.
At Redeemer, those who may be unable to climb the steps to the altar may gather first at the first row of pews, where the Lord’s Supper will be brought to them. Others may approach the altar as ushered by the elders, climb the steps of the altar, and kneel at the communion rail to receive the Lord’s Supper or a verbal blessing.
Redeemer uses individual cups as well as a common cup. After the Lord’s body is received, the individual cups are presented to the members first, and the common cup is presented second. The pastor dismisses each group of communicants with a blessing, at which time they return to their seats and the next group of communicants approach the altar.
If you are not currently an LCMS member and would like to commune with us in the future, please speak with the pastor about how you can share our confession of faith regarding God’s Word and Jesus’ gifts to us in the Lord’s Supper, and so receive these gifts with us as a confirmed member.
To learn more about the Lord’s Supper and our beliefs and practices, click here.