Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup.
—1 Corinthians 11:28
Many churches have different customs for celebrating the Lord’s Supper. Some churches celebrate this sacrament weekly, and others do it less often. Some of these also urge members to engage in a process of preparation during the week before communion. A preparatory litany is read, and members are challenged to examine themselves so that they do not take communion “in an unworthy manner.”
The examination is not meant to determine worthiness, because none of us is worthy. It is meant for careful self-reflection on the manner in which to take communion. The Lord’s Supper is a holy meal, in which we remember the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. In this sacrament God transfers the work of Calvary into our lives. This is also where the benefits of our victory over Satan and this world and the forgiveness of our sins are proclaimed.
If we take what is holy with an unrepentant heart, then we engage this meal in an “unworthy manner.”
The examination means that we treat the Lord’s Supper for what it is, a connecting point between us and Calvary. The sacrament is meant to bring life.
The next time you take communion, be sure to think about its deep meaning and the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf.
Lord Jesus, thank you for being “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” Forgive us if we have dishonored you by downplaying your sacrifice on our behalf. We pray in your name. Amen.
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