This week at Flint Hill UMC we will be celebrating the sacrament of Holy Communion and I wanted to share what we as United Methodist believe regarding this Holy Sacrament.
The sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion are crucial means of grace, or vehicles, that God uses to reach humanity. They are channels by which the grace and love of God flows, and it is through them that we can receive prevenient, justifying, and sanctifying grace. They are outward and visible signs of an inward, invisible grace.
The sacrament of Holy Communion confirms the justification of our sins through the action of Christ. It also refreshes and strengthens our souls as Wesley described in “The Duty of Constant Communion.” The Christian life is not an easy journey, and there are temptations and stumbling blocks along the way. As with our physical life, which requires proper nutritional sustenance in order to grow, our spiritual life also requires sustenance, which is found in the bread and wine of Holy Communion. We obtain our strength from this sacrament, and it is the “food of our soul.” Holy Communion is a remembrance, a commemoration, and a memorial, but it is more than just a simple intellectual recalling. It is a representation of past gracious acts of God in an action that makes them present today. Jesus Christ is risen from the grave and alive in the here and now.
Several summers ago, my wife and I directed a Senior High Camp at Sumatanga. One night during the week, Holy Communion was included in the worship service, and I witnessed the power and significance of the sacrament in a wonderful way. A young man, who was a junior in high school, had become a very popular youth in the camp and was a guy whom everyone just seemed to like and looked up to. During the Communion portion of the service, everyone was invited to stay at the altar and pray as long as needed. I noticed that young man was staying for an extended time, and then I noticed his shoulders quivering from crying. I went over and asked him if I could pray with him, and he just grabbed hold of my hands. Without my saying a word, he started telling me that he was not worthy of what Christ had done for him and that he was not living the life that God was calling him to live. Through tears we prayed together. He asked God for forgiveness and the strength to live the life that God had called him to live. Through the sacrament of Communion, God reached out to Frank (Not his real name) and confirmed the justification of sin through Christ and conveyed a grace that went straight to the heart of this young man.