Breaking Bread (Acts 2)
And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42-47)
As we prepare to discuss the topic of “Admission to Communion”, I chose these verses because they seemed to me to be the ones that we would probably spend the least time on in our discussion today. These verses have many great things to say to us this morning, but our emphasis is on the instances of the “breaking of bread” in these verses.
In these verses, there is great devotion to the Lord's Supper. Devotion that seems lacking in our Christian circles today. Many have posited, and I tend to agree with them, that the Lord's Supper should be done weekly. That there should be no such thing as a non-Communion Sunday. This sparks great debate and even the occasional whining from pastor and laity alike.
This lack of devotion can be traced back to many possible historical reasons. But the primary reason for this lack of devotion is our own sinfulness. We fail in our devotion to our Lord's testament in His body and blood because we also fail in our devotion to our Lord's Word.
The primitive Church in Acts 2 were devoted. This verb is translated in the middle voice, “they devoted themselves.” It was an active, conscious working on their part to be devoted to their new faith in Jesus. They were so devoted that St. Luke writes that they broke bread together daily in their homes. Such devotion is lacking in our world today.
We have too many who believe the lie that “having Communion every Sunday would make it less special.” What does a statement like that show except a loss of devotion to Jesus' Word and His Supper? Would that Luther's words from the Large Catechism would ring true in our congregations:
- But whoever would gladly obtain grace and consolation should impel himself, and allow no one to frighten him away, but say: I, indeed, would like to be worthy; but I come, not upon any worthiness, but upon Thy Word, because Thou hast commanded it, as one who would gladly be Thy disciple, no matter what becomes of my worthiness.
How often are we dissuaded from receiving God's gifts? How often does our devotion to His means of grace falter?
Take heart, brothers. For it is in the very thing we fail to devote ourselves to that we find His forgiveness and salvation. Because our Lord's Supper is “a pure, wholesome, comforting remedy imparting salvation and comfort, which will cure you and give you life both in soul and body.” It is His body and His blood, given and shed for the forgiveness of your sins.
Where our devotion wavers, His remains strong. And His strength continues to keep us steadfast in His Word so that we might remain devoted to the great gifts He gives us in His holy Supper. He strengthens us through the same so that we might continue to proclaim His Word boldly. May God continue to bless us with His gifts and ever strengthen our devotion to Him, His Word and His Sacraments. Amen.
- LC V 62
- LC V 68