December 2, 2013
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Holy Communion in the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite is not a matter of routinely gathering at fixed intervals to partake of the bread and the fruit of the vine in remembrance of our Lord. We believe that the peace and unity symbolized by this service must be fully authentic.
To this end, we have revival meetings before communion. A congregation will call two ministers from different congregations to come to preach the gospel, to visit the members and to endeavour to resolve all barriers to true unity and fellowship. It happens on occasions that problems surface that cannot be resolved in a short time. In some cases a problem may be serious enough to be brought before the congregation as Jesus instructed in Matthew 18:15-17. Or, if there is a more widespread problem, communion will be delayed until this is resolved.
We are all too human, often tending to think that we are misunderstood, we have been somehow wronged, or that our children are not treated fairly. We may also become involved with things in the course of work and business that are not consistent with the Christian faith. At revival time we are asked to look at our faith and the way we are living it and to bring ” every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
Revival meetings this year at Swanson had an inauspicious beginning. A large part of the congregation came down with gastroenteritis (some people call it stomach flu) just before meetings were scheduled to begin. Less than half the congregation were well enough to be in church the first evening. After a few days, both of our revival ministers came down with the illness, one of them even had to sped most of a day in the hospital due to complications.
Still, after 12 days of church services every evening, we were able to declare our peace and unity and go forward. There were inspiring testimonies of victories won over anger, doubt and depression, confessions of being too contentious and of being too passive. Our visiting ministers are now on their way home (to Québec and Idaho), having left us with an admonition to go forward and not backward in the Christian warfare.
This was the first communion for six young people who had been baptized over the past year.