Friday, February 03, 2006

Sinners and the Lord Supper

Should a sinner be allowed to join in communion? We get into problems with this issue, because we have a magical understanding of communion. Many Christians believe that we receive Jesus by eating bread and drinking wine. They also tend to belief that only Christians should be allowed to eat the bread and drink the cup. This belief results in a communion service being divided into those who are allowed to participate and those who can only watch.

This awful division comes from a false understanding of how Jesus is present at communion. He is present through the Holy Sprit. When Christians share a meal together, united in their love for Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes in a special way. We cannot shut someone out from the blessing of the Spirit by preventing them from eating and drinking, as he will touch whoever he chooses. For example, if some one does not eat the bread and wine, because they are ill, the Spirit can still be present for them.

If the Holy Spirit can touch whoever he chooses, it makes no sense for us to try and prevent those we think are unrepentant from eating. They Holy Spirit will touch them anyway. We should be careful about shutting people away from the table, as we might grieve the Holy Spirit and rob everyone of his blessing.

If the Holy Spirit is present he will touch everyone present, whether they are eating or not. We cannot control what he does, so we cannot to prevent anyone present from experiencing his presence. Those who are repentant may experience his presence in a different way, but this may be what is needed for conviction of sin.

Any person who comes to a Christian meeting should be allowed to east and drink share with Jesus. None should be excluded, whatever their sin. They are participating in communion simply by being present. Praise God, cowards are allowed to share in communion.

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