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Communion and Holiness

• Donna Stoesz

During this service we participated in communion and had an opportunity for people to receive prayer and healing. Donna Stoesz, one of our prayer warriors here at Woodland Hills, led us into this time of renewal and restoration.

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This weekend we participated in communion and had a prayer/healing service. Donna Stoesz, one of our prayer warriors here at WHC, led us into this time of renewal and restoration. This will not be a standard “study guide” but rather an explanation of what we believe about communion at Woodland Hills and how we intend for it to be practiced. If you have attended WHC for a while you will have noticed that we don’t often have communion services. We try to have one once each quarter (four times a year). The reason it is so infrequent is that our intention is that people experience communion in their small groups. If you are not doing communion in your small group, please discuss this in your group and determine why that is. One of the ordinances of the church is clearly that we practice communion with one another (the other is baptism). At WHC, our small groups are where “church” happens, so that is the natural context for communion. To summarize, we do communion in the main services once each quarter to insure that people do have opportunity to participate in communion at least occasionally until they are able to get into a small group that practices it on a more regular basis.

Paul, in I Cor. 11:23 indicates how important this is by prefacing with “For I received from the Lord what I also handed down on to you….” Clearly this is an authoritative presentation similar in importance to I Cor. 15 where Paul uses a similar preface before discussing the death and resurrection of Christ. If your small group is not in the habit of doing communion, here is the basic pattern for leading it:

The leader will simply be reading through I Cor. 11:23-26. There will be two pauses. One between verse 24-25 when the bread will be eaten, and the second between verses 25-26 when you will drink the wine (some may chose to use grape juice). After you drink the wine, read verse 26. Of course, the details involve getting bread and wine prepared, having a time of prayer and perhaps a meditation on who Christ was and what Christ has done for us. Communion is done as a form of remembering Christ, but it is more than that, we as the body of Christ, are communing with the Living Lord in a very real way in this event. The prayer and remembering of Christ prior to communion is to help us prepare our hearts and minds for communion.

If you read through the larger context (I Cor. 11:17-34) you will see that many issues emerged around communion in the church at Corinth! There were people getting drunk, not waiting for others who were delayed by their work, the poor were humiliated and so forth. If Paul can continue to recommend communion in such a chaotic time and place, surely we can obey the same command in the midst of our imperfect small groups as well!

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Focus Scripture:

  • Matthew 26: 26-29

    26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”

    27 Then he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the [a] covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.”

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