Some congregations are very large, consisting of hundreds of people, several office bearers, and many small children milling around. Other congregations are quite small. Maybe they’re without a pastor of their own, only a few office bearers, and only a few young ones who usually have the attention of every member of the congregation. But wherever you are, and whatever the size of the church is, in the true church of God, there will certainly be one thing. Communion of the saints.
“Q. 55. What do you understand by “the communion of saints”? A. First, that all and every one who believes, being members of Christ, are, in common, partakers of Him and all of His riches and gifts; ”secondly, that every one must know it to be his duty, readily and cheerfully to employ his gifts, for the advantage and salvation of other members.” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lords Day 21)
Tomorrow, Lord willing, we will all be experiencing communion of the saints within our congregation. We will experience this with the old, with the young, with the members we don’t know well, and even with the members that we “don’t get along with.”
The communion of the saints is a beautiful, sweet gift from God that is not ours to receive or reject, but rather a gift to treasure and to flourish in! We are to enjoy it every Sunday, and to use this precious gift to glorify God. It is our duty to partake of Christ and His gifts, and readily and cheerfully to employ our own gifts! Not so that we may have a relaxing and self-fulfilling Sabbath, but for the advantage and salvation of other members.
“Behold, how good and pleasant it is for Brothers to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133: 1)
Despite the beauty of this union, some members struggle to see themselves as an important member to the congregation. Some members see the truth pouring into others, but they don’t feel fed themselves. Some members are too busy inspecting the actions of other members, they’re not contributing their own duties and gifts. However, despite our human downfalls, this communion of the saints is still there! As we just read in Heidelberg Catechism, “everyone who believes, being members of Christ, partake of Him and all His riches and gifts.”
Everyone! This is extremely different than,“everyone who feels it,” or “everyone who realizes it,” or “everyone who wants it.”
“That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us…” (John 17:21)
But we still ask, what about the differences? What about the sins that we see in ourselves and others? Differences provide the opportunity for good, profitable discussions. Differences provide a chance to teach, and differences sometimes lead to beneficial changes. Sin will always be present, and we have a Lord who forgives our sins.
Take your opportunity this Sunday to partake and cheerfully employ your gifts. In this way we will be able to taste and understand the communion of the saints.
“The communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.”