I’ll miss having watchnight service tonight… the old fashioned kind with foot washing and communion and worship, praying the old year out and the new year in. Its been around 5 years since I was in an old fashioned watchnight service. Those held a lot of meaning for me.
Communion, renewing commitments to God, remembering His commitment to us… foot washing, starting the new year out clean and fresh, remembering we’re called to serve… prayer and worship, ending one year and bringing the new one in with praise and prayer. We had some good services through the years. But the last few have felt pushed and contrived.
There hasn’t been foot washing or communion for several years at my former church- ever. My former pastor believes that if you take communion “unworthily”, or with sin in your life or not right with God that you will die or backslide. Not the worst I’ve heard… one pastor actually taught that if there were two people in conflict in the church, serve communion and the one that is wrong will soon leave! I guess, since he believes communion can kill people, he’s decided he doesn’t want to be responsible for serving it. I don’t know. But that understanding of communion is far from Jesus’.
There are several things horribly wrong with using communion as a judgment or condemnation. Mainly, communion is done in memory of Jesus’ sacrifice, mercy, and forgiveness. Nothing about a condemning or judgmental ‘communion’ points to these. God wants to draw us closer to him, not push us away. Communion should bind us together in love and forgiveness and unity, not bring us to look at each other questioningly. No one who gets sick within the weeks and months after communion is taken should be afraid that they did something “wrong” by taking communion. Jesus said “Do this in remembrance of me.” And that is what we should do. Remember Him.