At least once per month, most churches practice the ordinance of communion. Some partake of the bread and the cup weekly. For older believers who have been faithful in church participation, it is likely that they have taken communion hundreds of times, if not into the thousands.
It might be tempting to wonder, “what’s the purpose of taking these elements repeatedly? Nothing about the death and resurrection of Christ has changed. Do we really need to take communion this many times — after all, we understand that the redemptive act of Christ was on the cross and is not in the communion bread or cup…”
So as our church prepares to come to the table again this Sunday, I began preparing my heart for that event this week by reading a sermon from the Puritan preacher, Richard Vines. In “The Fruit and Benefit of Worthy Receiving,” he reminds us of the value of regular communion remembrances. By taking these elements, we remember:
Here Christ is offered and faith is quickened. Here Christ crucified is exhibited and here repentance is renewed. These are the main benefits God can give, the main graces that we can have, such as are essential, without which salvation is nonexistent. This I would have observed for the honor of the ordinance, and the quickening of your approach to it.…
This body and blood were really offered up to God for us, which in this sacrament are really offered and applied to us by faith.…
We have no graces of benefits without Christ, but first in order of nature we have union as members of Him, and then of His fullness we receive.…
Let no man think that a believer has no further use of Christ after his first believing and receiving of Him, for then this sacrament would not be useful; the effect…[is that it] serves for confirmation of one who is already in a saved state.
So take communion this week remembering that there really was reason for Him to die (my sin and God’s gracious and costly redemptive plan). And remember that Jesus really did die. And God really did pour His infinite wrath on Him and He really absorbed and satisfied that wrath. And that I have nothing and am nothing — apart from being a child of wrath — without His death and resurrection. And that this regular act of remembrance is a sign of my intimate union with Him.
I was dead, but He died. I was unrighteous and He was righteous. And He took my unrighteousness and now declares me to be righteous. And I became His and am still His — a friend and brother to the Redeemer and a son to the King of kings.
That is (part of) the value of communion.