Unity in the congregation: a sign of Jesus Christ
The sincere celebration of Holy Communion could solve problems. This view was taken by Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider in a divine service in Colonia (Uruguay). Holy Communion is more, much more, than mere liturgical routine.
“You know, I don’t understand this. They have celebrated Holy Communion so often, but it has achieved so little. Their problem should have been solved long ago,” the Chief Apostle cited one of his predecessors in the District Apostle ministry regarding a problem in a congregation. “If only they would celebrate Holy Communion properly just once, the problem would be solved.” He went on to ask the assembled congregation whether his thinking was idle fancy or an unattainable ideal. His answer: “No, it’s a divine fact that one celebration of Holy Communion is enough to overcome problems.”
Fellowship in the sacrament means fellowship with God
The Chief Apostle based his sermon on 17 March 2019 on a word from Paul: “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread.”
The Chief Apostle helped along in explaining this old biblical text: “When we gather and celebrate Holy Communion, our fellowship with God is strengthened and our fellowship among one another. This is what Paul means in a nutshell.” And then the Chief Apostle listed the various aspects of fellowship:
- The sacrament of Holy Communion nourishes and strengthens our fellowship with God. Why? “Because we remember the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and are constantly reminded just how completely dependent we are on God.” Man depends on grace and the forgiveness of his debts. That is why Holy Communion is so important: the believer shares in the merit of Christ, the Chief Apostle said. “He fought and won, and now shares His victory with us. There is nothing we could give or do to save our soul.”
- The celebration of Holy Communion strengthens our bond with Jesus Christ. The celebration of Holy Communion strengthens the bond with Jesus Christ. Every time we celebrate Holy Communion, He reminds us: “You are mine! I have redeemed you, I love you, I died for you.” No matter what happened, the Chief Apostle said, “Jesus loves us! He says, ‘Don’t worry, you still belong to Me. You are Mine!” Our response to this is, “Yes, I am Yours! This is what I promised You at my baptism, at my confirmation.”
- The life of God, the new creation, which has been laid into us, is nourished and can grow within us, the Chief Apostle said. “In Holy Communion we draw the strength we need in order to grow in the mind of Jesus Christ and to assimilate His nature.”
- When we celebrate Holy Communion we realise that we are part of the body of Christ. “He is the head and we are the members.” The head decides what must be done, the members execute it, the Chief Apostle said. We must preach and disseminate the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Chief Apostle said.
- Finally, the celebration of Holy Communion is also a foretaste of and a means to prepare for eternal fellowship in the kingdom of God. “All of our imperfections, our shortcomings and faults will no longer exist. Nothing will separate us from God any more. We will have perfect fellowship with Him.” This is a fact that strengthens the fellowship of God’s children among one another, the Chief Apostle said. “If all of us are aware that we are completely dependent on the grace and merit of Jesus Christ, then we also know that it is superfluous to reproach or accuse our neighbour.” If we are aware that we are completely dependent on the grace and merit of Jesus Christ, we will be humble towards our neighbour. “There will be no more discussions or competitions to find out who is the best.”