Two Communions?

Sorry for the provocative title, but this weekend I had the opportunity to compare two church bulletins. I find the differences striking.

Both are of the same denomination and church body--they used the same hymanls, pastors went to the same schools, etc. The first was definitely known to be more "inclusive," in its worship style, with two types of services: "traditional," and "contemporary." I attended the "traditional" service.

Both church bulletins, on the front page, contained some text about Holy Communion. I'm reproducing them both here.

Church 1

Holy Communion: In this meal, we confess that we are sinful and in need of forgiveness and that Jesus Christ's true Body and Blood are present in, with, and under the bread and wine. Those with a different confession of faith are asked to speak with a pastor or elder before communing.

Church 2

Holy Communion will be celebrated in all services this weekend. All communicants should sign the Communion registration side of the attendance card. A common participation in the Altar of Christ assumes a common unity of faith and doctrine. We therefore ask that all guests who are not in fellowship with the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod please speak with the Pastor in the main narthex (prior to the Divine Service) before presenting themselves at the Altar for the Holy Communion. Thank you!

Prepare for the Lord's Supper! As St. Paul admonishes us, we should always prepare ourselves before receiving the Lord's Supper (1 Cor. 11:28-29). Some helpful things we can do in our preparation are...

  • Reflecting upon the Ten Commandments, in which our Lord tells us what to do and what not to do. (see pages 321-322 of our hymnal)
  • Meditating on the purpose of the Lord's Supper. (see our hymnal, pages 326-327)
  • Reading the Christian Questions with Their Answers. (see our hymnal, pages 329-330)
  • Reading some of the penitential Psalms (Psalm 51, 32, 130, etc.). (see our hymnal, page 1 and following)
  • Using suitable written prayers. (see our hymnal, inside front cover)
  • Reading some of the Confessional and Communiona Hymns. (see our hymnal, Hymns 606-643)