Should you :) during Communion?

My friend is a new Christian. And she smiles during Communion.

While everyone else averts their eyes and stares ahead like I’m a drill sergeant searching for my next push-ups-til-you-puke victim, my friend locks eyes with me and smiles.

Because she believes what I taught her.

I’m not sure what you believe about Communion, but I want to suggest that Communion is a smiling sacrament. Here are three reasons why:

  1. This is forgiveness—Jesus said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood” (Luke 22:20). Yes! If you’re not smiling right now, you might not know what “new covenant” means. It is God’s promise to forgive you of your wickedness (pride, defensiveness, bad priorities, etc.) and—get this!—to remember your sins no more (Jeremiah 31:34). In Communion, God is swearing that he will never call your sins to mind when he decides how to treat you. When it comes to answering your prayers, blessing your next Tuesday, or letting you into heaven, God will not remember a single sin you have ever committed! :)
  2. This is for you—In that same passage, Jesus continued, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you” (Luke 22:20). Yes! If you’re not smiling right now, you might not know that “for you” includes . . . you! This ridiculous remember-sins-no-more promise is not “for him” or “for her” or “for them,” but “for you.” For you who royally messed up with your kids. For you who took the easy path in high school and are paying for it years later. For you Christian leaders who lack genuine love for the people you lead. Yes, for you. Jesus gave his body and his blood not just for other/better/holier people, but also for you! :)
  3. This is for y’all—English doesn’t distinguish between just you and, as our Southern friends say, “All y’all,” but the Greek word in this passage is the latter. This blood of the new covenant is for “all y’all.” Yes! If you’re not smiling right now, you might not know who “y’all” includes. My friends and my wife and my parents and my church come to Communion. I see the woman who is battling anxiety and the man who is struggling sexually. I see Christians who thought they’d be better at “being Christian” by now. Here y’all are, with so many struggles and issues, but you receive the same smile-inducing gift—the new covenant in Jesus’ blood. I don’t robotically recite the words, “Go in peace,” but I urge them into my brothers’ and sisters’ hearts. Go in peace! You’re good with God! God isn’t mad at y’all! God isn’t thinking about last night! Because this Supper is for you! :)

I realize this smiling thing might be an uphill battle. You might have decades of serious-faced communing to overcome. But give my three points some thought. Picture the face of God shining upon you, looking on you with favor, and having no reason not to smile at you because of Jesus’ blood.

And you might find yourself :) as you walk back to your seat.

Pastor Mike Novotny has served God’s people in full-time ministry since 2007 as a pastor in Madison and now Appleton, Wisconsin. He also serves as a host and speaker for the Time of Grace television program and contributes to the written resources of Time of Grace Ministry. Pastor Mike is married to Kim and has two daughters.

 

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