HOLY COMMUNION — A GUIDE FOR VISITORS
Out of love for our Lord and respect for what he has given us in Holy Communion, we follow Biblical guidelines in administering and receiving it. It is sometimes called the Lord’s Supper because it is exactly that: His, not ours. We want to be careful and responsible stewards of this special gift.
God’s Word says this about communing:
The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ”This is my body which is for you; do this in remembrance of me . . . This cup is the new covenant in my blood . . .” Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself.
Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf. (1 Corinthians 10 and 11, NIV)
Shouldn’t everyone go to Communion ?
There are several Biblical reasons why a person may not be in a position to receive Communion:
• Not able to remember what Christ has done — Jesus said that we ought to participate in remembrance of him. Those who have not been instructed concerning Christ’s redeeming work would not be able to commune in remembrance of him. The very young would not be able to examine themselves, another Biblical requirement.
• Not believing that Christ’s body and blood are truly present — The Bible specifically warns us about not recognizing what we are receiving. Some churches deny this fact.
• Not repenting of sin — God counsels us in his Word to examine ourselves before we commune. We need to let the unwavering standards of his law expose our need for forgiveness.
• Not in agreement about God’s Word — The Bible teaches that Holy Communion is an expression of unity, not only with our Savior who instituted it but also among those who receive it. Participation is based on full agreement in all that the Bible teaches. That is what binds us “close” to our Savior and “close” to one another.
If you are a communicant member of a sister congregation of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) or the Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS), we invite you to share Holy Communion with us based on our Biblical unity of doctrine and practice. An usher will guide you in registering.
If you are not a member of a sister congregation of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) or the Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS), we are not able to share Holy Communion with you at this time. This is not a reflection upon your personal faith. Since human beings can’t look into hearts, we can only react to denominational connections or the absence thereof.
Why haven’t I heard of “Close Communion” before ?
Participating in Holy Communion only with churches whose beliefs are what you are convinced is Biblical is not new. Christ gave Communion to his closest followers only, not to the general public. The early Christian church practiced close communion and so have most Christians until recent times. The Bible has not changed but many denominations have since chosen to ignore Biblical directives.
Won’t people wonder why I don’t commune ?
Our church understands that there are valid reasons not to commune, especially if you are a visitor. The Lord has not forgotten you. The good news in his Word of forgiveness for sinners extends to everyone. Participation in Holy Communion is a privilege that comes at the proper time. Please speak with our pastor after the service or during the week about your own situation and the essentials for being one with us also in Holy Communion.