The Great Communion service at Harrison High School was everything I hoped it would be. The attendance was great. We had between 550 and 600 people in the school auditorium. All four churches (ours, West Lafayette Christian, Crossroads Christian, and First Christian) were well represented in the crowd of worshipers. There was excitement in the air as we felt a sense of unity. Most importantly it was a Spirit-filled time of worship, with the crucified/risen Christ as the focus.
I was so impressed and encouraged by the Elmwood praise team that helped to lead us in our acappella singing. I believe many from the other churches were moved by our acappella singing. I was equally impressed and encouraged by those that led us in songs accompanied with instruments. Great men and women from all four churches put in a lot of time and prayer as they planned that portion of our time together.
Greg Eberhard, Sr. Pastor at First Christian Church, opened up with a heartfelt welcome and a brief talk that put this service in its historical context. He reminded us of the vision the early Restoration Movement leaders had. It was a vision that encouraged Christians to be united in Christ, and to quit dividing over non-essentials.
I had the opportunity to talk about the bread and the power of the table to unite people together. I reminded everyone that this Great Communion gathering – our time around the table together – has the power to preach a message louder than any sermon we could ever preach.
John Dittmer, Sr. Minister at West Lafayette Christian, did a wonderful job of preparing our hearts and minds for the cup. It was a powerful reminder that Christ intended for this cup to truly be a cup of blessing. The New Testament is full of passages describing the blessings of Christ’s blood.
As we prepared to close the service, Mike Duff, Sr. Minister at Crossroads Christian, gave us all a challenge. His challenge seemed so simple, yet we struggle with it all the time. The challenge was this: love others as Christ loved others. Jesus makes it clear that this is how the world will know we belong to him. Unity is not based on doctrinal correctness (history has proven that over and over). Neither is our identity based on this. Doctrine is important, but our identity is based on Christ and his love pouring through us. Unity is based on love, but not just any love. It has to be the love that Christ exhibited.
I’m grateful for elders that gave me the freedom to involve Elmwood, and for being behind this great event. I’m looking forward to doing this again.