As is our tradition, this Sunday we will celebrate the coming of the New Year by sharing the Lord's Supper. In reflecting on the value in the sacrament as a way of ushering in new beginnings in our spiritual life, I was gratified to
encounter this article on the same subject by Rev. Grant Odhner in New Church Life. May it inspire in us a commitment to develop our relationship with the Lord as our highest priority for the New Year.
Love and Peace,
PREPARING FOR HOLY SUPPER
The repentance that we do before the Holy Supper need not always be an intense sort. The Word recommends that we do that kind once or twice a year. Most of the time what is required is the kind of repentance that Christians do daily: noticing when we're thinking ill and when we're thinking well, resisting the bad thoughts, affirming the good, asking the Lord for power in this work.
Is the Holy Supper just an individual matter, or is it a communal one as well? [We are taught that] Holy Supper expresses our love for our neighbors and our communion with them. It does this even as a private act. We find true communion with other human beings chiefly by accepting into ourselves the Lord's unselfish love and purposes (the "bread") and sensitive and uniting wisdom (the "wine"). In this way we become a "branch"
joined together with other branches in the "Vine."
At the same time, Jesus fed all of His disciples together. He offered them bread from a common plate and He passed the cup among all His disciples, saying, "Drink from it, all of you."
We do not find [God] in isolation. We can know the Lord's love and learn the Lord's truth only through the agency of other people. Unquestionably there is a great value to us as individuals and to us as a church group in seeking the Lord together and expressing our mutual dependence on each other and on Him.
Am I ready for that Am I committed enough? These are good questions. It is an important act of worship, and certainly needs to be done in a considered way.
On the other hand, these questions can become false barriers. How does someone who is "ready" feel? When does someone feel old enough or committed enough?
There's something in us that will never feel ready, old enough, committed enough. At some point we must listen to what our better self hopes for
and "make the plunge." At some point we must act, trusting in the Lord's mercy and power to change us and help us grow.
One simple way to assess whether we're ready is to look at our life and ask, "Do I make efforts to do what is right? Do I, at least some of the time, resist doing and thinking things that are evil? Do I
recognize my need for the [Divine] help?" If so, chances are we are committed enough to benefit from the Holy Supper.