Matthew 26:17-19 & 26-29
“On the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where do you want us to make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?” He said, “Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is near; I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.’” So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover meal.
While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will never again drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
After services this Sunday, the Second Quarter group (Sheridan’s 20s & 30s group) gathered for our monthly coffee and conversation to talk about the Scripture and sermon. We had a lot of great discussion about people’s experiences with communion, but one idea that stood out was being “prepared” for communion. The Catholic concept of needing to confess to a priest in order to be spiritually ready for communion was brought up, which is interesting since, at Sheridan, we always do communal confession right before taking Holy Communion. But this brought up another interesting idea: do we have to actually do anything special to truly partake in communion?
No matter how beautiful a spiritual practice is when it’s repeated on a regular basis, there’s always the risk that we’ll take it for granted sometimes. We find ourselves going through the motions and not really appreciating the profound spiritual importance of the sacrament. This is totally normal and human. But should we let that hold us back from participating in communion? Absolutely not.
Communion is Jesus’s way of reminding us that He sacrificed His life to save us, knowing that we could never earn that salvation on our own. So if communion is remembering that sacrifice, why should we feel we need to do anything special to be ready for it? Even if we’re distracted thinking about the week ahead while partaking in communion, God still reaches out to us in that holy meal. Even if we haven’t asked forgiveness for our sins in months, Jesus still wants us to remember Him with the bread and the wine. Just as there’s nothing we can do to earn our salvation, there’s nothing we can do to prepare for communion. Jesus reaches out to us whether we’re ready or not, and that’s what communion reminds us of.
Holy Father, thank you for reaching out to us first. We’re so blessed that You saved us knowing that we could never save ourselves. Help us remember that communion is You meeting us where we are, and that we don’t have to earn that any more than we do our salvation. Amen.
Written by Preston Thiemann
Preston Thiemann and his wife, Rachel, live here in Lincoln. He is the Web Content Coordinator for the ASEM Marketing team at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, where he’s worked since April 2015. At Sheridan, he also plays guitar on the Praise Band and is active in Sheridan’s 20s & 30s ministry, Second Quarter. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, watching movies and spending time with friends.