A Revival of Sacrament: Ritual or Revival?
I have a quick question for you: Is taking communion each week a ritual or a source of revival in your heart? If it is just a ritual, why would you not pursue the powerful grace that is available to us in this the intimate moment that communion offers?
If you were stumped by the question, (and for years I was as well), let me bring to your attention some interesting and shocking things that God is doing in a new revival of the sacrament, also know as the eucharist and communion.
Just one week ago I attended a historic gathering of leaders from around the Northern Colorado region. This gathering was to commemorate the opening of the NOCO House of Prayer, which our friends, Isaac and Brittany Olsterdorf are a part of with their new church plant.
At the meeting, Lou Engle, the man God used to begin Rock the Nations, The Call, The Send and many other significant gatherings was present to encourage the visible unity present. He stated several things that needs to come onto our radar as we keep pursuing God in the midst of the breakout of His presence in revival.
He recounted a dream he had where he was in Redding, California with Pastor Bill Johnson. In the dream, he was at the Sacramento River. He turned in the dream and asked Bill where someone would be able to catch fish in the river. Bill's response in the dream was "go to where the river turned to blood red." He then saw in the dream places where the normally, very clear river turned blood red and fishermen were pulling their catch out in successive fashion.
"He...stated...that a revival, based around the act of communion...was coming..."
Did you catch the name of the river? The "Sacramento" is Spanish for the "sacrament", from the late Old English, in Christian use, "an outward and visible sign of inward and spiritual grace," especially "a sacrament of the Church, one of the religious ceremonies enjoined by Christ or the Church," and later specifically "the sacrament of the Eucharist".
God was telling Lou that a revival of the Lord's supper, the eucharist, where we take the body and blood of Jesus in a daily fashion was a key to seeing people come to faith in Christ, because it is where "the water turns to blood". When Jesus died for you and I and indeed the very sins of the world, blood and water flowed from His wounded side. This picture is super imposed on the sacrament - Jesus' life giving body, where blood and water flowed giving us new life.
In Lou's personal life God had led him sovereignly to Colorado, whose very name in Spanish means, red. It is the color of the blood. Lou, a recognized prophetic voice saw that as part of what God is doing.
He plainly stated that he believed God was telling him that a revival, based around the act of communion (read - common union with God), and with His presence, His face to face encounter with us was coming.
I was riveted as he spoke. Had God been leading us as a small family of families to begin to prepare us for a world wide revival? I couldn't help but reflect on our journey as an expression of the body and even in the recent weeks of the act of communion. It all had a familiar feel to it.
Enter the Tolah (Worm)
Those of you who were with us when Dr. Brian Simmons poured into our family, remember sharply the deeper meaning from Psalm 22:6-8 (NKJV):
But I am a worm, and no man;
A reproach of men, and despised by the people.
All those who see Me ridicule Me;
They shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,
"He trusted in the LORD, let Him rescue Him;
Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!"
Remember that the Tolah, a grub like worm, attaches itself to a tree, when it is ready to give birth. It then secrets a red fluid which stains the tree, and then turns white and its body is the food for the new life it gives.
Do you remember what it was like when he then led us into communion and said simply, "This is my body" and "This is my blood"?
I do. I have a high view of communion, but I was upgraded that day.
When the Lord impressed to me at the beginning of the pandemic that we should, as a family, corporately take communion every weekend we gather, I had no idea what the Spirit of God was beginning to lead us into. We have been obedient and have begun to move deeper into what God has for us in recognizing, through this simple, but profound action of communion, our union with God through Jesus. In the very beginning, when we were only online. Each night I led us in communion and worship. There was something powerful and special during those times and I believe the Lord is asking us to revisit it.
I believe the Lord is asking us to begin to take communion daily.
So, I have a request of you. I believe that the Lord is asking us to begin to take communion daily. I cannot give you all the reasons why, but I feel a divine summons, deep in my spirit, for us a family of families to respond to that call.
As I surrender and yield to the Lord's wisdom on this, I begin to let go of my need to understand and the control that I errantly believe my reasoning gives me. I become more lover of God and less analyst of God. If knowledge is my goal I will fall far short, but I must be like Paul who said to Timothy: 1 Timothy 1:5 (NASB) But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
Our life's mission is to become more and more lovers of God responding to His overwhelming, intoxicating, trans-rational love for us. As 2 Peter states, we don't stop at knowledge, but we must move all the way through to love.
2 Peter 1:5-7 (NKJV) But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.
Communion is a sacred act to connect with Jesus in love. It is, rather than a monthly occurrence (Communion Sunday), led by clergy and kept in a meeting, designed to be a part of our daily lives. Tethering us to His heart and His intentions for all of life.
How can I take communion daily?
First off, it is not difficult and you do not need to be a pastor to do so.
Let's look at how Paul delivered the act of communion based on what Jesus had given him.
1 Corinthians 11:23-26 (NKJV) For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me." In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me."
At your meal or in your devotion time, you need bread and wine or juice. (If you don't have then, crackers or a beverage will suffice. In Africa, I have received communion with grape soda and flatbread!)
Read or Recite
Then, read or recite aloud the passage I have given you, or one of the others from the gospels.
Take a moment and reflect on what Jesus did for you. Thank Him for His healing through His body and cleansing through His blood.
Also, remember that in that culture, if we eat a common meal, we are one. You and I are one with all that love and follow the Lord Jesus, past, present, and future.
Then simply eat and drink the elements. I usually say a prayer of thanksgiving, which is the meaning of the Greek word, "Eucharist" at the end of that time.
It is that simple to begin.
Let's start today and begin to add this to our daily life. Maybe pick up a bottle of juice on the way home. Lead your family in it. Partake by yourself, knowing you are connected to His body. Just start. Consistency will come as you go forward with intention.
A Personal View
As Janice and I have been partaking communion together as of late, I find that my heart is extremely tender, and gets even more so as I take communion, the sacrament of His blood and body more regularly. So much so, that if I even talk about it, or in this case write, I find tears welling up in my eyes.
It is the strangest thing. I can be doing something else entirely, having my mind occupied by other things, and the second I sit down to participate in this meal, I become overwhelmed by His loving sacrifice, His covenant love and mercy that is displayed before me.
One time, I was grousing about something I didn't like. (Shocked? Not me. I too am human.) Janice simply said, "Let's take communion." The moment we sat together, I was overcome with repentance and godly sorrow, tears flooded my eyes as I told the Lord I was sorry. I was so grateful the Lord arrested me in that moment and realigned me with His heart for that situation, by my realignment with Him.
Rather than ritual, I am finding that taking communion is a key to the revival in my heart and in how we are experiencing revival in our midst. It is this union with God that will fuel and feed the revival that God has brought and is bringing.
Let's not let the flame go out, but become the very fuel for the fire of revival!
For Fun and Deeper Study
Some books on Communion
By Beni Johnson - The Power of Communion: Accessing Miracles Through the Body and Blood of Jesus
The Power of Communion by Derek Prince
Eat Your Way to Life and Health: Unlock the Power Holy Communion by Joseph Prince
Union and Communion: Reflections on the Song of Solomon by Hudson Taylor