THE MINISTRY OF THE COMMUNION SERVICE
After Jesus finished this act of service, He said, "'Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you'" (verses 14, 15). The idea contained in the practice of foot washing, which many still practice as Jesus explicitly told us to, is not simply to come to Him to receive deliverance but to turn around and serve others so that they, too, can be delivered from the selfishness we are all prone to. We come to our Master's table to receive a feast of love, where God communicates His plan for us through food, and then challenges us to turn and sacrifice for others.
Ultimately, what God really wants us to learn from the Lord's Supper and foot washing is to bring the lessons of these rituals into our daily lives. The Lord’s Supper symbolizes our acceptance of the body and blood of Jesus, spilled and broken for us. By searching our hearts and washing one another’s feet, we remember Jesus’ humble example of service.
The Lord's Supper is a participation in the emblems of the body ( symbolic and not actual body) and blood of Jesus as an expression of faith in Him, our Lord and Saviour. In this experience of communion Christ is present to meet and strengthen His people. As we partake, we joyfully proclaim the Lord's death and resurrection until He comes again. Preparation for the supper includes self-examination, repentance and confession. Jesus ordained the service of foot washing to signify renewed cleansing, to express a willingness to serve one another in Christlike humility and to unite our hearts in love. The communion service is open to all believing Christians. (1 Cor. 10:16, 17; 11:23-30; Matt. 26:17-30; Rev. 3:20; John 6:48-63; 13:1-17.). Seventh-day Adventists practice communion four times a year. The communion is an open service (available to members and non-members who feel the need to express their love and desired commitment to God) and includes a foot-washing ceremony (commonly referred to as the Ordinance of Humility) and consumption of the Lord's Supper.
Lets Us Minister To You:
Communion at Victory Seventh-day Adventist Church is a moment to minister to congregants – members and visitors – as they are lead to reflect on the great sacrifice Christ made to redeem mankind from the destructive clutches of sin. It is a moment for all to realize that although our sins may be like scarlet, the sacrifice of Christ, once we accept His forgiveness, will make us whither than snow; that is we are forgiven.
The communion service when celebrated once every three months is incorporated into the regular worship order of our Sabbath services with a few differences. For starters the pastor will deliver a sermonette instead of a sermon after which the congregation will separate to the fellowship hall for the first activity, that of the foot washing service. Children and those not participating will remain in the sanctuary reverently awaiting the return of those who left for the foot washing. During the communion service you will notice a covered table situated in front of the main pulpit. It contains the “bread and wine” which will be served later during the service. Also the deacons and deaconesses are dressed in black wearing white gloves. The music selected for this service reflects the occasion for this day – Communion.
After the sermonette, the pastor will dismiss the congregation for the foot-washing service (ordinance of humility). Foot-washing takes place in the fellowship hall, which is divided separately for males and females participation (a woman washes the feet of another woman and a man washes the feet of another man). During the foot washing, two individuals will partner and serve each other by the washing each other’s feet, following the example of Jesus when He stooped to wash His disciple’s feet. Once all partners have completed the foot-washing, the men and women, separately, will gather in a circle for a short moment of encouragement and prayer thereafter, they leave to re-enter the sanctuary. Quiet decorum is encouraged during this time as each person contemplates the meaning of Christ’s example.
The worship resumes in the sanctuary after the foot-washing. The pastor often makes several remarks related to the homily prior to inviting the congregation to partake in the emblems of communion. A prayer is offered by either a pastor or an elder as God's blessing on the emblems. The pastor and elders participating will then presents the bread and juice, at separate moments to deacons and/or deaconesses who will distribute the unleavened bread and grape juice to the congregation. Each member will take one of each as it is presented to them and hold them until all have been served so that the church family may partake together.
Once the deacons have come back to the table at the front of the church, the plates are returned to the pastor. Each participating deacon is served finally ending with the leading pastor being served last. The deacons are seated and the pastor then leads the congregation in first eating the bread (a small wheat-based cracker) and then the grape juice (presented in a small cup). After partaking of the emblems, the empty cups are placed in the slots provided in the pew directly ahead of the congregant. All cups are collected and disposed of at the end of the service by deacons. A welfare offering is collected at this point in the communion service. This is a special offering taken only at Communion used to assist those who suffer financial emergencies due to loss of work, illness, or other unexpected economic setbacks.
The congregation will sing a hymn just as Jesus did with His disciples. Thereafter the closing prayer is offered and the congregation will then be ushered out.