About Holy Communion at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
(from our communion statement published each week in the bulletin)
The Lord’s Supper is celebrated at Zion in the confession and glad confidence that, as He says, our Lord gives into our mouths not only bread and wine but His very own body and blood to eat and drink for the forgiveness of our sins and to strengthen our union with Him and with one another. Our Lord invites to His table those who trust His words, repent of all sin and set aside any refusal to forgive and love as He forgives and loves us, that they may show forth His death until he comes. Because those who eat and drink our Lord’s body and blood unworthily do so to their own great harm (1 Corinthians 11:27), and because Holy Communion is a Public Confession of the faith which is confessed at this altar, any who are not yet instructed, are in doubt, or who are not members of The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, or one of its sister churches should wait until properly instructed before communing.
If this is your first time communing at Zion please speak to the Pastor or a Deacon before approaching the altar.
Zion practices closed Communion for three main reasons.
First, we all believe and confess the same things, especially about Holy Communion. We express and celebrate that closed Communion is true fellowship with each other when we commune together.
The Second reason is, because it’s the historical faithful practice of the Holy Christian Church. We would love for the church to all be united, sadly were not. As such we want to be sure that all those who communion are receiving the great benefit of Holy Communion that is the forgiveness of their sins. Any church and its pastor who does not practice closed communion is allowing a harmful and unfaithful practice to occur at their altar.
The third is more serious. Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 11:29 make it important for us to teach people about Holy Communion, or at least be sure they have been taught, before giving it to them.
St. Paul wrote, "For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself."
St. Paul gave instructions in this regard to the Christian congregation at Corinth regarding their responsibility to make sure people receive the Sacrament to their blessing and not to their harm. It would be very irresponsible to let anyone and everyone receive Communion when they may very well be eating and drinking judgment on themselves. So, Christians commune not only as individuals, but also as people who share the same confession of faith (fellowship) as formally confessed in our church.
It is important to emphasize that God has given to all Lutheran congregations the responsibility of administering the Lord's Supper properly and to exercise spiritual care toward all those who desire to commune. This, of course, means the congregation has a responsibility to do what it can in Christian love and concern to help people understand the nature of the Sacrament and why they come to it. It also means in Christian love and concern to ask those who doubt are unsure or unclear to not communion until they are instructed.
Thank you for abiding by and understanding our faithful practice.
For further information and instruction please see Luther’s Small Catechism and explanation of the Lords Supper.