In the United Methodist Church we have two sacraments, Communion and Baptism. This week we are talking all about Communion and next week we will talk about Baptism. In John Wesley’s sermon, The Means of Grace, he described the Sacraments as the “ordinary channels” that God uses to “covey his grace” to humankind. Wesley taught that a “sacrament is an outward sign of inward grace, and a means whereby we receive the same.” These Sacraments are one of the channels that God uses to communicate with humankind and deliver the great gift of grace.
However, Wesley also cautions about not making the means into a required work. He also urges that one keeps his or her eye on God, remembering that without God there is “no power in this.” God, alone, is the one doing all the work in the Sacraments. In the video today I am going to talk more about this idea of God alone doing all the work in the Sacraments. In the early church this was a big controversy.
As we are discovering this week, the command for the taking of the Lord’s Supper can be found in the Gospels. Jesus specifically says of the bread to “take, eat” and of the cup to “drink of it, all of you.” Jesus also commands that we partake in “remembrance” of the spilling of his blood for the redemption of humankind. During Communion the recipient remembers that Christ died for the forgiveness of sins. The recipient also remembers that God has bestowed the gift of grace on humankind. However, one does not need to take communion to be forgiven. The act of communion stirs in the mind and heart of the believer the fact that God has saved her or him though the death of Jesus. To receive forgiveness of sins all one needs to do is repent and believe. We should come humbly to the table, knowing we are sinners, but sinners who have been saved by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Read: Mark 14:12-26
Questions to Consider:
- Communion is one of the Means of Grace, some of the other are Bible reading, prayer, fasting, attending worship, healthy living, sharing you faith with others and being in a small group. Attending to the Means of Grace are the ways that God works in your life and how you grow closer to God. What Means of Grace are you currently participating in?
- Can you grow deeper in the ones you currently participate in?
- Might this be a good time to try a new Means of Grace?
Prayer: Gracious God, help us to grow daily in our relationship with you. Help us to open ourselves to experience your grace and to allow you to make us into what you would have us to be. In your name, Amen.