Communion - the taking of bread and wine - symbolizes our sharing in Christ's suffering and the New Covenant established when His body was broken and He shed His blood for our sins. Communion is not something we enter into lightly. The Apostle Paul wrote, "...whoever eats the bread and drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord." (1Cor. 11:27). The King James version is more blunt: he "eateth and drinketh damnation to himself."

Communion, we can conclude, is a serious act of faith.

Should we fear communion? Absolutely not! Communion helps us to establish a state of mind which permits us to share in Christ's suffering. It is through this public act that we become part of the greatest gift ever given to man - we become one with Christ who redeemed the world from sin.

Paul gives instructions to prepare us for taking communion:

A man ought to examine himself before he eats the bread and drinks from the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. (1Cor 11:28-29)

So how do we examine ourselves? Ask yourself, "Where do I stand in my relationship with God?" "Am I living a life consistent with His will?" If you are not, identify those areas where you are out of His obedience, and confess them to Him, asking forgiveness. Take steps to get back into fellowship with God by making the changes necessary to be restored to His perfect will.

And how do we recognize the body of the Lord? Remember that Jesus was God's perfect sacrifice for our sins. Those transgressions which have separated us from God have already been paid for through the body and the blood of Jesus Christ. His body broken, His blood shed - so that you might live a victorious life free from the chains of sin.

Prepare your heart to receive the full communion of God! Daily come to God confessing your sins and rejoicing in His forgiveness. And go forward in confidence that you have stood with Jesus Christ, that you are a part of the redemption He bought for all who will come to Him.