If you have attended a communion service here at Sligo in recent years, then you know that it is my favorite service of those we celebrate as Christians, and I am proud to say that it has become that for many of our members as well. Sadly, this cannot be said of many of our churches. Whatever the reason, the celebration of the Lord’s Supper does more to drive believers away from the worship of God than it does to draw them to it. And yes, I am referring to Seventh-day Adventists in particular. Throughout my thirty-two years in ministry, I have witnessed firsthand members that arrived at church ready to worship God, but no sooner than they discovered it was going to be a communion service, were quick to make a beeline for the nearest exit.
This is not unique to any particular church or congregation; I have witnessed it wherever I have served. I’ve always said that one of these days I’m going to take a poll to see why so many Christians avoid the one celebration that does more to focus on Jesus and the sacrifice that he made to guarantee our salvation than any other. You would think that the goal for attending a worship service would be for the purpose of using it as an opportunity to give thanks to our Creator for all that he has done in our behalf; especially when we take into account that what we really deserve is death. You would think that the celebration of the Lord’s Supper would be the one service where our churches would be packed to the brim in much the same way they are during the Easter and Christmas seasons.
As I have pondered this conundrum for quite some time, I have sadly come to the conclusion that one of the main reasons why this service is by far one of the least attended is that, quite frankly, for many believers the worship of our Creator is not the main reason for attending Sabbath worship. Like most people in our consumer driven culture, we take part in the things we feel will satisfy the selfish desires of our hearts, and that includes our worship. And when it comes to the Communion service and what it represents, it is the antithesis of fulfilling self- interests; quite the contrary. It is in the celebration of the Holy Communion that we learn what it truly means to deny self. It is in the taking of Communion that we learn what it truly means to love without expecting any love in return. It is in the taking of Communion that we truly learn that it’s not about us, but rather what has been done “for” us. And it is in the celebration of this holy service that we learn that our place is at the Lord’s Table, not because we deserve to be there, but because through his broken body and shed blood, Christ has reserved a place for you and for me.
As we prepare to celebrate Communion this Sabbath, my prayer is that you will occupy the place that God has reserved for you at His table. And I can’t wait until we all joins hands and sing the hymn, “When We All Get to Heaven.” By God’s grace, I hope to see you there!
(by Charles A. Tapp)