Table for one?

The communion service is a very important part of the life of the church. Many congregations make it a part of their weekly or monthly worship. But have you ever considered taking it on your own? I was first introduced to this idea in an article in Discipleship Journal, Nov/Dec 1996. The author went through a difficult time and felt God urging her to have communion with him every day. She did, and it changed her life. She shared her experience with others, and they also began having supper for one.

At first, I thought this sounded a little strange, especially considering my fellowship took it only once a year for much of its history, and always as a congregation. I didn’t add it to my quiet time until recently, though I have thought of it many times since reading the article. It turns out, this is a wonderful way to go deeper with God and experience a greater intimacy with him.

I go to a quiet place in my house, light a candle and read scriptures and quotations I’ve collected about communion. I pray, meditate on what I’m doing and what it means and then eat the bread and wine. I know you are probably thinking it’s supposed to be done in community with other believers and that’s true. But when I take the Lord’s Supper by myself, I’m not alone. I experience unity with all my brothers and sisters in the Christian community, including the cloud of witnesses from the past, through God’s Spirit. Because I don’t have to rush through, as we often do at services, I can take my time and linger as long as I want with Jesus.

If you’re looking for more intimacy with the Lord, set the table for one and let Jesus feed you. You might find yourself, like me, going back for more, again and again.

 

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How to forgive

Forgiveness is a tricky thing. As Christians, we know we are forgiven, and we are told to forgive in the same way. It’s easy to say, “I forgive you,” but it’s only real if it’s from our hearts.

Dallas Willard, in his book, Life Without Lack, said we make three errors when it comes to forgiveness. First, we tend to believe it requires reconciliation; second, we think we have to forget what happened; and third, we think we have to stop hurting. None of these are necessary.

We forgive by making the choice not to punish or seek revenge, which means we let people off the hook. It lets us off our own hook, too and frees us—from anger and bitterness—and allows us to love them the way God wants us to.

If we wait for reconciliation (which often never comes), tell ourselves we have to forget what happened (can’t do that) and wait to stop hurting (the pain might lessen, but will never go away), forgiveness will never happen, at least not in this life. Forgiveness is God’s way of life and his way to life (N.T. Wright) but doesn’t happen in our hearts without God’s help and much prayer. It is possible, even when it feels like it’s not, if we can avoid these mistakes and trust God to make it work.