Building Community Through The Holy Supper

From Pastor Matthew Genzlinger
May 13, 2016

An important use of the church is to provide a community where people are loved and supported in their faith. Building a more supportive and socially connected congregation is something we’re currently working hard to accomplish at the New Church of Concord. There are many ways to achieve this. However, in preparing for this Sunday’s worship service, it struck me what an important role the Holy Supper plays in building spiritual community.

last_supperOn one level the sacrament of the Holy Supper was commanded as a tool to help us approach the Lord directly in His glorified Human. This is important because in order to have a living relationship with God we must approach Him in His Divinely Human form.  We cannot be conjoined with our heavenly Father if we simply think of Him as a distant God, without human form.

However, the sacrament of the Holy Supper was also commanded by the Lord as a way of bringing people of faith together. Approaching the Lord together and sharing this supper is a vital part of its true use. When we share the bread and wine – representative symbols of the Lord’s Divine Love and Wisdom – this has the powerful effect of joining us together spiritually. It helps us to develop a strong and supportive community where we are purposefully and actively sharing the Lord’s love and wisdom with each other. We are even told that the Holy Supper conjoins us to our angelic brethren as well!

I’m looking forward to exploring this wonderful use of the Holy Supper at our worship service this Sunday. I would love to have you join us! In the mean time, I invite you to read this beautiful passage talking about how meals in general, and the Holy Supper specifically, can bring together a church community in love and faith to the Lord:

“It is well known that lunches and dinners are customary everywhere, and that they are given for various purposes….But charitable lunches and dinners are to be found only with those who in mutual love share a like belief. In the earliest Christian church there were lunches and dinners, called feasts, for precisely this reason, set up to give hearty pleasure and at the same time bring people together….

At table various matters were discussed, both domestic and political, but the chief subject was matters of concern to the church. Because they were charitable feasts, the talk on any subject was full of charity, together with its joys and pleasures. The spiritual sphere dominant at those feasts was that of love to the Lord and love towards the neighbor, which made everyone’s mind cheerful, softened his tone of voice and spread a joyful feeling from the heart to all the senses. Every person has a spiritual sphere radiating from him, which is the product of the affection of his love and so of his thought, and this inwardly affects his companions, especially at feasts. It is radiated both by the face and by the breathing. It is because such associations of minds were meant by lunches, dinners or feasts that they are so often mentioned in the Word; and such too is the meaning of these terms in its spiritual sense. The same is true in the highest sense of the Passover dinner among the Children of Israel, and by banquets at other festivals, as well as by feeding on the products of sacrifice beside the Tabernacle. Conjunction itself was then represented by breaking and distributing bread, and by drinking out of the same cup and passing it on to the next person.” (True Christian Religion 433)

Peace,

Matthew Genzlinger
Pastor, New Church of Concord


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