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Celebrating Communion Remembering Redeeming Savior's Sacrifice!”

Ramesh C. Reddy

When I was growing up, I loved to take Holy Communion with my mommy after I became a follower of Christ. Taking Holy Communion at home was a way of remembering the ultimate sacrifice Jesus paid when He went to the cross shedding His precious cleansing blood for me to save me, redeem me, ransom me, rescue me, and deliver me from the bondage of sin and death when His body was broken for me. Taking a piece of bread and drinking an ounce or less of grape juice while reflecting on what Jesus did for me was a very somber moment. I loved to take Holy Communion with my mommy.

When I was part of New Hope Christian Community church, I was so excited to give the Holy Communion message to the congregation and then take part in Holy Communion with my brothers and sisters in Christ as the bread and grape juice was passed in each pew.

When I was part of Asian Indian Christian Church of Pittsburgh (AICCP), it was also special to take Holy Communion with my Indian brothers and sisters in Christ.

When I was going to Allegheny Center Alliance Church (ACAC), I tried my best never to miss the first Sunday of the month because of the Holy Communion service. What made it more special was having someone sing a song to reflect during Holy Communion while we remembered Jesus' sacrifice when His body was broken for us and His blood shed for us. After everyone received the  bread and grape juice, we would take it in unison after prayer and reflection on Christ's sacrificial death for us, confessing our own sins before the Lord Jesus Christ.

When I would go to a St. Paul's Cathedral for Christmas or Easter Mass, it was a different experience because we had to all stand in line and go up front and take the wafer dipped in wine/grape juice as the priest blessed us and said, 'The Body of Christ' while he put it in our hands for Holy Communion and we said, "Amen' or 'Thanks be to God'

When I went to an Episcopal Church, it was a new experience again because we stood in line while the priest put the wafer in our mouth and then we would drink a sip of wine/grape juice from a chalice remembering Jesus' sacrifice for us when His body was broken for us and His blood shed for us.

When we went to a church in India, my precious wife Chandraleela would sing a special song while the bread and juice was passed so those taking part in Holy Communion could reflect on the sacrifice Jesus made before taking Holy  Commuion together.

My favorite song to hear was, 'There Is A Redeemer' that Chandra sang with another sister. It was a sung originally sung by Keith Green

The lyrics are,

There is a Redeemer
Jesus, God's own Son
Precious Lamb of God, Messiah
Holy One

Jesus my Redeemer
Name above all names
Precious Lamb of God, Messiah
Oh, for sinners slain

Thank you, oh my Father
For giving us Your Son
And leaving Your Spirit
'Til the work on Earth is done

When I stand in Glory
I will see His face
And there I'll serve my King forever
In that Holy Place

Thank you, oh my Father
For giving us Your Son
And leaving Your Spirit
Til the work on Earth is done...

I have also not minded to take Holy Communion when I saw Pastor Jentezen Franklin invite those from home who were watching his service to partake of Holy Communion. For me whether I took it live with people physically present or whether I took it via satellite church or from the confines of my home, my excitement and joy was always to take part in the Holy Communion remembering Jesus' sacrifice for me. It has always been a special time!

Now I have been excited to be part of Oakland International Fellowship (OIF) to partake of Holy Communion with my brothers and sisters in Christ.

My favorite moment of taking Holy Communion to remember the Lord's sacrifice for His body broken for me and His blood shed for me was on New Year's Eve many years ago when I was at an Urbana Missions Conference. There I was blessed to take Holy Communion with thousands of people in unison from all over the world! Thank you Jesus!

Everytime I partake of Holy Communion, I am reminded of Jesus' words:
"And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me." In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you." (Luke 22:19-20, NIV)

"In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me. For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes." (1 Corinthians 11:25-26, NKJV)

"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." (1 Corinthians 10:16-17, NKJV)

When I see the word WE, I am reminded of Jesus' words when He said, "For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them." (Matthew 18:20, NKJV)

This is why it gives me confidence that Holy Communion can be taken amongst two people too whether they are husband and wife, mother and son, etc. Holy Communion should not be confined to a building itself but can be taken anywhere is what I believe.

Even though I don't mind taking Holy Communion with another person after reflection remembering Jesus' body broken for me and His blood shed for me for the remission of my sins, it is not the same as taking it with the body of believers in unison. This is what I have missed since March 15, 2020 since the COVID-19 started.  As of this writing, we have not had a Holy Communion service yet at OIF since we opened three weeks ago. Even if we do, even though the worship service is broadcast live on YouTube live, I am not sure if the Holy Communion service will be.

In moments like this, I am tempted to take Holy Communion with my wife  remembering the Lord Jesus' sacrifice unless Scripture gives a clear command that individuals who love the Lord Jesus Christ and want to remember His sacrifice cannot take it on their own. If so, I have not found those Scriptures yet. If anyone knows of any Scripture that forbids people to take Holy Communion on their own between them and the Lord, please let me know.

But, I also believe if I am able to join a body of believers in Christ to take Holy Communion, I should never forsake that opportunity and decide to take Holy Communion on my own as an excuse not to meet with people unless there are COVID-19 restrictions, medical restrictions, travel restrictions, etc.

"Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, NOT GIVING UP MEETING TOGETHER, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching." (Hebrews 10:19-25, NIV)

Holy Communion should be a time to celebrate our relationship with the Lord Jesus in remembrance of what He did for us.

Jesus said to them, "Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has Eternal Life. I AM the Bread of Life...Here is the Bread that comes down from Heaven, which ANYONE  may eat and not die. I AM the Living Bread that came down from Heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This Bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world...Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my Blood remains in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the Bread that came down from Heaven...Whoever feeds on this Bread will live forever." (John 6:47-48, 50-51, 53-58)

It troubles me when restrictions are placed on Holy Communion unless those restrictions are supported by God's Word.

Just because there are Bible passages where Holy Communion always took place where there were more than two believers does not negate the fact of Jesus' words that say, "For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them." (Matthew 18:20, NKJV)

If ANYONE has grown up taking Holy Communion in your family remembering the words of Jesus being there with you, continue to remember the Lord Jesus this way if you cannot join with other believers for Holy Communion. But, if now you believe Holy Communion needs to just follow Acts 2:42-47 amongst a body of believers, don't take Holy Communion on your own.

"And they devoted themselves to the Apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer." (Acts 2:42, NIV)

Holy Communion should be a reverent act of worship remembering our Lord as many times as we partake it. There is no limit to how many times a person takes Holy Communion in a week but it should be taken with discernment.

 "So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves." (1 Corinthians 11:27-29, NIV)

My prayer is that those believers who want to partake of Holy Communion but cannot physically set foot in a church will be able to partake of it in their homes as pastors visit homes and celebrate Holy Communion with those who cannot come to church. This is what happened to me and my wife some time ago. When I dislocated my shoulder, Chandra and I were really touched when Pastor Mike came to my bedside and administered the Holy Communion to me and my wife at our home.

If pastors and elders of churches of different denominations believe Holy Communion should just be taken in the confines of a church or among multiple body of believers in Christ where a person of the cloth administers it, it is my hope that these pastors and elders can go to people's homes like Pastor Mike did and administer the Holy Communion to families that cannot make it physically to church so they are not compelled to take Holy Communion as a family at home on their own because it is always better to take it in unison :) We should not let COVID-19 stop believers from celebrating Holy Communion!

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