Updated: Apr 14, 2022
May I Commune Here? The answer is, "It depends." What does it depend upon? It depends upon what you confess about God. What do you believe and say about God? Our pastor is a "steward of the mysteries of God" (1 Corinthians 4:1). God has called him to our congregation to administer (give) the Lord's Supper to those who are truly prepared to receive it; he is also to withhold it from those who are unprepared. This is called "Closed Communion." It means that the altar is closed to those who have a different confession of faith than ours. We know this may come across as strange to visitors because so many congregations practice "Open Communion," that is, communing everyone regardless of what they think or say about God, even if it's against what the Bible clearly says. Some think that Closed Communion is "offensive" or "unwelcoming" and "unloving." But here at Zion, we care more about what God says than the opinion of men. The Bible teaches us to practice Closed Communion (see 1 Corinthians 1:10; 11:27).
What does that mean for me?
To put this in layman's terms, this means that if you’re not a member of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS), if you hold membership in any other denomination, if you do not hold membership at any church, or if you have not received and completed adult instruction from our Pastor at Zion, then we as a congregation kindly ask that you refrain from coming to the altar to receive the Lord’s Supper and remain seated during the distribution. Even if you are a visitor from a sister LC–MS congregation, please do not come up to the altar unannounced; we ask that you first speak with the Pastor during the week before Sunday. If you have not spoken with him before today, then we kindly ask that you refrain from receiving communion and speak with him before the next Sunday. It is our desire that all people would commune with us, but out of high regard for God's Word, we believe, teach, and confess that unity in confession comes before unity in communion. Therefore, we invite everyone to make their confession of faith before God and man. God asks that the pastor, the congregation, and you to all believe, teach, and confess the same thing! If you attend another church from another denomination, and if your confession is at all different from ours, we will let you know! We simply ask that you give us the chance to instruct you on why we believe what we believe! Then, if you certainly are united in the same confession with us at Zion, then we would gladly welcome you as a member of this church! Know that this is all done purely out of love for God, care for you, and for true unity in our church! We hope that you give us the opportunity to share with you this wonderful news! If I am Lutheran, what should I do when I arrive? Contact the pastor during the before you plan on attending the service. You can contact him here: PastorRojas@ZionWG.org.
However, if you didn't have the opportunity to contact him during the week, then arrive at least 30 minutes before the service on Sunday morning. Find the pastor and introduce yourself. Tell him where you go to church. Please, do not invite yourself up to communion, even if you are a member of a congregation in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. God has given the pastor the responsibility to welcome people to the altar as well as keep people from the altar who might receive the Lord's Supper to their harm rather than to their benefit. He is a steward of the mysteries of God (1 Cor 4:1), which means that God has charged him with the great responsibility to commune only those who, as far as he can tell, confess what the Bible teaches. This is very serious. The pastor will be judged for how he handles Christ's Sacrament, and your faith can be damaged if you do not receive the body and blood of Christ with a true confession and conscience. Therefore, if you are a Missouri Synod Lutheran, please be aware that this is not a guarantee that you can take the Lord's Supper. The pastor should know who your pastor is, the name of your congregation, and whether you have learned and believe the Christian faith as it is summarized in the the Small Catechism. This is a great opportunity for you to talk about God's Word with the pastor. That's what he's there for. And talking about God's Word is always beneficial. It reveals Jesus to us, our Savior from sin and hell. We pray that whether or not you commune with us on your visit, that you be edified by the Word of our gracious God.
Where can I hear more about Closed Communion? CLICK HERE to listen to a sermon about our practice of the Lord's Supper.