How To Prepare For Communion



Jesus, the king, invites us to sit at his table to commune with him. The table is a symbol of his acceptance of us, the bread a symbol of his body given for us, and the wine a symbol of the blood poured out for us. We do this “in remembrance” (Lk 22:19) of our king “who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil 2:6-7).

In Scripture remembering has less to do with memory and more to do with “bringing to account.” God does not remember our sins, not in that he forgets and cannot recall them, but in that he does not bring them to account when he judges us. Simply put, he does not hold it against us. We are also told that God remembered Noah and the animals in the flood (Gen 8:1), God remembered Rachel and enabled her to conceive a child (Gen 30:22), God remembered Israel when they were in bondage (Ex 2:24), and David cried for God to remember him (Ps 25:6-7). Did God forget? Read all these stories and you will see that ‘God remembering’ always has to do with bringing into account God’s promises. We “remember” Sabbath by “bringing to account” that God is the sovereign king of the universe who is both creator and deliverer. “Bringing to account” simply means presenting a fact or a reality as a piece of valuable evidence to determine an action or response.

So, we too, when we take communion in remembrance, we are “bringing into account” what has allowed us to sit at the table of the Lord, and what makes Jesus worthy to be Lord. It is grace, mercy, forgiveness, gentleness, meekness, compassion, patience, longsuffering, service, and most importantly love. Hebrews 2:10 tells us that Christ was “perfected through suffering.” What does this mean? It means that in heaven Jesus was perfect as God. In his incarnation, he was perfect as man. But by his suffering, he became perfect as savior. Only a compassionate savior who knows what it feels like to suffer as we suffer can be worthy to save us. In remembering, we are bringing to account the evidence that makes Jesus worthy to be king, and the radical call to follow in his example.

At his table, we are welcomed as adopted children, and heirs of the promise (Rom 8:17, Eph 3:6, Gal 4:6–7). In one act we offer ourselves as a living sacrifice (Rom 12:1) and confess with all the heavenly host and the universal ecclesia that Jesus Christ is Lord.

This beautiful act of worship requires preparation. How can I prepare?

Read Scripture

Read the following passages: Luke 22:19–20; Matthew 26:26–28; Mark 14:22–24; 1 Corinthians 11:23–25. Immerse yourself in the story of Christ and allow your imagination to go wild. Place yourself in the upper room with Jesus and consider the gravity of the moment. Jesus, being God, has become fragile flesh and his taking the role of a servant by washing feet and serving food.

Examine Yourself

Paul commands us to “examine ourselves” before taking part in communion (1 Cor 11:28: rf 2 Cor 13:5, Gal 6:4). As Socrates’ famous dictum says, "The unexamined life is not worth living." Examine your heart, your intentions, your judgments, your words, your actions, your thoughts, your life, your relationships. Ask yourself, am I living the way I want to live? Am I living the way God wants me to live? What do you love? Why are you behaving the way that you are? Examine yourself not to shame yourself, but to receive clarity and self-awareness. As I said in one of my blog posts, “How else can we achieve joy unless we truly allow ourselves to examine what may be preventing it? The restless heart is an unexamined heart.”

Confess

Examination allows Christ into hearts. His presence illuminates it’s deep and mysterious caverns. You may not like what you find in your examination, but you’ll be glad you found it. Confession is a joy when we know that God is faithful to forgive and purify a repentant sinner (1 Jh 1:9). As it is written, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb 4:16)

Be reconciled

If the table of the Lord is a physical reminder of God reconciling us to himself (2 Cor 5:19), then we should also be reconciled with our neighbors. To use Johns' logic, how can we say we are reconciled with God who we cannot see if we are not reconciled with our neighbor who we can see? (1 John 4:20) Jesus teaches us that being reconciled with our neighbors is more important than our worship (Matt 5:23-24). Who have you wronged? Who are you holding a grudge against? Go and be reconciled. Fasting

Although there is no Biblical warrant for fasting before communion, there are many Christians around the world who dedicate the 24 hours before communion to prayer and fasting. Start Your fast on Friday just before lunch and break your fast with communion.


King Jesus invites us to his table. Let us prepare to receive the bread and the wine and commune with our savior.

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