Congregations in The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod celebrate the Lord’s Supper in a way that we normally call “close communion.” We do so in recognition of the significance that this meal plays in the life of the church. It is in the Lord’s Supper that we receive tangible and taste-able forgiveness of sins by eating the body and drinking the blood of our Savior in, with and under the consecrated bread and wine.
As we consider the practice of “close communion,” it is helpful to ask ourselves a question: When we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, to whom as we “close”?
The most obvious answer to this question is that we are close to God. By virtue of Jesus’ promise attached to this sacrament, we receive life, forgiveness and salvation when we eat and drink in faith. Our relationship with God is restored and we are able to stand in his presence as his redeemed children once again.
Being close to God in communion, however, is only half of the truth.
The other part of the answer is that in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper we are close to one another. Communion is not just an event between me and God. It is also between me and those with whom I am communing. In stark contrast to the widespread individualism that prevails in our culture, the people of God who share the Lord’s supper never do so alone. Through this study we will examine what it means to be close to one another in “close communion.”
Download a PDF of Apologia: Close to Whom? Celebrating the Lord’s Supper as Lutherans