Before I attended a house church in 1971, I had never heard of the sacrament of Holy Communion. Why? The Anglican church, which I attended when I was at the blind school in Vancouver, sent us kids downstairs when it was served. From my newly-published testimony, How I Was Saved: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity, here is how Thee Church celebrated communion.
Sister Roberta drew me aside as the congregation filed into the sanctuary before the next Sunday worship service began. “Now that you’re baptized, and this is your first Sunday as a member here, you must take communion.”
Before I could ask what it was, she opened her Bible and read aloud the passage from 1 Corinthians 11:27-32. “Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.”
Then she narrowed her eyes. “Do you realize how serious this ordinance is? The elements are transformed into the very body and blood of Christ. We had a member here who went to glory some years ago. Her name was Sister Paula. She actually tasted the flesh and blood in the communion when she partook of it. If you partake unworthily, you could become ill or die. God will hold you accountable for any unconfessed sins you have in your life. Do you understand?”
“Yeah, but how do I become worthy?”
“You must confess your sins to Jesus and ask him to make you worthy.”
Not wanting anything bad to happen to me, I prayed under my breath for the forgiveness of any sin I might have committed recently. Since I didn’t fall down dead after eating the bread and drinking the wine, I believed God must have pardoned me.
Long after I left that church and biblically-accurate teachers straightened me out, I realized that there was no magic in the communion. It didn’t become actual blood and flesh but represented Christ’s atonement. One pastor told me that they served grape juice instead of wine because former alcoholics might be tempted to drink again. He also assured me that the use of leavened bread didn’t nullify the sacrament since we were memorializing Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.
I wrote about this peculiar congregation in my newly-published book, How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. Amazon and Barnes & Noble distribute the e-book version while Virtual Bookworm has the paperback in stock. Please check out my previous books at the Bruce Atchison’s books link.