Below is an excerpt from a letter sent by the pastor of an Assembly of God Church. This is a “born again” congregation which I’ve alwasy believed to be a little more evangelical and rigid in their beliefs than the Baptists. I may need to rethink that. He has a pretty good answer for how he’d have handled the situation with my grandmother (see post from 1/11). I only wish her pastor had been as enlightened.
I believe that communion is such a special opportunity the Lord has given us to experience and remember His love, and to share that experience with others. Now I can not answer for that pastor’s response to a person’s request for communion. But I can tell you most definitely I would have made such a visit and I would have done so more than just once. I have already, throughout my ministry, made such pastoral visits to elderly believers who are not on their death bed but can not make it to church.
Years ago I was given a special ministry gift that is a small communion set that is easy to carry with you, about the size of a Bible. It contains a small container for the grape juice/wine and six little glasses for sharing that which represents Christ’s blood. There is also a small gold plate for sharing the broken pieces of bread representing Christ’s body. The purpose for this kit is to make personal visits with an individual, couple, or even a family and giving them the opportunity to have communion. It can even be for making hospital visits. I share all of that to tell you, that as a pastor, I want to and will provide such opportunities for individuals who make such requests. Many times, before I make a home or hospital visit, I will call ahead and offer it to the person, if they would like communion. I once heard a statement that has taught me how to approach and provide ministry for others, it goes like this — Jesus did not die on the cross only to make it hard for people to come to His Father. So I will always do my best to help people experience God’s love and presence.
Communion is for every person who believes Jesus is God’s Son and believes that Christ died on the cross for our sins and rose again so we all would have eternal life. Communion celebrates that confession of faith and scripture commands us to have communion often and every time “in remembrance of Christ” (Luke 22:19; 1 Corinthians 11:25).
Thanks to Kim for soliciting this response.