Originally scheduled for September 16
It did not appear to be a major difficulty at
first. The lady was dying of brain cancer, and her husband wished
that she should have communion brought to her at home. It is a
custom well-established in many churches that communion can be
brought to the sick and the dying rather than have them travel to
the church building. There seemed to be no one else available, and
it appeared to be a small thing.
Perhaps we should have expected this; but there
was no one appointed to do this on a regular basis. Indeed, it was
with some difficulty we found the traveling communion kit. It
evidently had not been used in some time. Apparently, no one thought
this little ministry worthwhile.
It brings up the question: why do we take
communion to people who are too sick to come to the church building
on Sunday morning? Why would we go out of our way to perform this
ritual in their home? The answer takes some examination.
If you go back into the original texts of the
Scripture you will find that the word we translate as “communion”
comes from the Greek word
koinonia. It is often translated “fellowship.” There are a
number of uses for it:
We are told that the Lord’s Supper is
fellowship “with the blood of Christ.” When you take the Lord’s
Supper you are in fellowship with Christ.
The same word is used to denote the
sharing of worldly goods by the church. This means everything from
sharing a meal to loaning your brother some of your tools.
It’s also used in the context of
charitable giving, especially where one church gives to another
church in a different area. A modern example might be your support
of missionaries in Africa.
Finally, it is used to describe a
certain oneness of experience. Those who have been through the same
troubles together understand that they are in fellowship with each
So then, communion is fellowship with Christ
and his church. Can you imagine how important that must be to
someone dying at home? We tend to do our dying in private places,
out of other people’s sight and mind. This may or may not be good,
but it does have the effect that sometimes we ignore the dying.
Likewise, when we don’t ignore them, it is a great comfort to them
to know that they are in fellowship with Christ and with the church.
After all, when you’re about to enter eternity the difference
between heaven and hell is rather important.
But may I point out to you this: all of us die?
The question of heaven and hell they become the most important thing
you have at any moment. You want to face that moment of eternity in
complete fellowship with Jesus Christ and his church. Taking the
Lord’s Supper means that you are in fellowship with the blood of
Christ and with his church. If the ritual symbolism portrays the
truth of Christ in your life, then you indeed have accepted his
sacrifice on the cross. That means your destination for all of
eternity is with Christ.
So, just how important is communion?