On Receiving the Lord’s Supper

Greetings in Christ,

Martin Luther was very clear that a Christian should receive the Lord’s Supper as often as it is offered.  He was also quite clear that the Lord’s Supper should be celebrated as frequently as possible, preferably at every Divine Worship.  The Supper is an essential part of the Christian life.  

Should a person ever avoid taking the Supper?  If a person does not believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus, then that person ought not take the Supper.  If a person has not been baptized, they should refrain until they have been baptized.  If a person is living in knowing and unrepentant sin, then that person should repent and let go of their sin before coming to the Supper.  

A Christian who is alive, is baptized and has faith in the promises of God, should feel free to come to the Supper.  If a Christian has doubts about God’s mercy and grace, which we often do, that should be no barrier to receiving the Supper.  The Supper is given for the strengthening of faith and not as a sign of perfection in faith.  If you are worried that you may not be worthy of Jesus’ Body and Blood then go, for your heart is yearning to be healed by Christ.  

It has been asked concerning those who, due to recovery from alcoholism and/or allergy to alcohol, if something other than wine or grape juice could be provided.  We use wine and bread because those are the elements our Lord used and has commanded His Church to use.  Under normal circumstances we ought to use what our Lord has given us to us.

For those who cannot take the wine or the bread because of allergy or recovery, it is important to remember that the Body and  Blood of our Lord comes to us in both elements of Holy Communion.  Just as our physical bodies have both flesh and blood within them, so to is the Lord’s Body and Blood present in both elements.  If a person can only receive the Bread of the Supper, they are receiving both Body and Blood.  The same is true for someone who can only receive the wine.  Receiving one element of the Supper is to receive all that Jesus offers in the Supper. A believer need not worry that they are missing something important if the can only receive one of the elements.

Nor should the Christian be ashamed if they can only receive one of the elements.  Our human frailties do not destroy what our Lord can do in the Supper and He rejoices when we receive as we are able to receive.  Let no one feel diminished in any way if the cannot because of the frailty of the flesh receive both elements of the Supper.  You may be confident that God’s mercy and grace is yours.

As with all matters of faith and Christian practice, it is useful to talk with the pastor and other believers so we may grow in our practice and understanding of our faith.

Blessings in Christ