by Tony Nester

How to Receive the Lord's Supper
Tony R. Nester
1 Corinthians 11:27-32

I've always enjoyed inviting people to Holy Communion. I've seen people come to Communion with tears in the eyes - sometimes tears of sorrow after losing a loved one; sometimes tears of joy because of the arrival of an unexpected blessing. I've seen couples holding this sacrament in their hands while asking God to heal their marriage. I've watched elderly people who can barely walk hobble down the aisle, open their hands to receive the sacrament, and with a smile on their faces say, "Praise God!"

I, too, know what it means to take the bread and wine in my hands, clutch them in faith - sometimes in fear - and ask God to feed and fill me with His love.

This is why I've always been glad that in The United Methodist Church we have a policy of "open communion." "Open communion" means that we invite into Holy Communion all who seek to be right with God through faith in Jesus Christ. It means that we do not turn away people because they do not belong to our Congregation, or our denomination, or because they haven't satisfied some other church requirement. United Methodists often say, "This is the Lord's Table. Not ours."

There is a danger, however, with the way we practice the Lord's Supper. The danger is that we turn "open communion" into "empty communion". We must be careful that in our openness we don't become too casual with this sacrament and empty it of its mystery, its power, and its authority over us.

When we invite everyone to receive the Lord' Supper we don't mean that you can come anyway you like. Our Scripture today is a warning against coming to Communion in an unworthy manner. It's found in 1 Corinthians 11:27-32.

Before I read this Scripture I want to try and stop a misunderstanding of this Bible passage. This Scripture is not about who is and who isn't worthy to come to Communion. No one is worthy to come and receive the Body and Blood of Christ based on his or ...

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