Imagine a wedding ceremony.
A man and a woman stand before a crowd of witnesses declaring their love and making vows. Once two individuals, they are now something different and new before God and man in the covenant of marriage. They’ve committed to love one another in a unique, special way.
Now imagine that same couple 70 years later, still in love and caring for one another. Though not easy, their marriage was good and fulfilling, always flavored with joy When asked for marriage advice they respond, “Throughout the years, no matter how busy we have been, we always make time to be with each other, to remember our vows, and to express our love for one another in tangible ways.”
The marriage ceremony was where the commitments were made, but the regular special times together were where the commitments were expressed.
With that in mind, consider baptism and communion. Much like the wedding day, baptism is the welcome ceremony into the church. The moment one is baptized, new commitments are formed as the individual says, “I am not with the world any longer, I commit myself to the church of Jesus Christ!” The church says in response, “Yes! You are part of our family, and we take responsibility to care for your soul!” Baptism is powerful because it confers and communicates new commitments for everyone involved. Before you were baptized, you were just an individual Christian. Afterwards, you are a church member.
Communion, then, is like the regular expression of that commitment. Communion is when the church gathers as one before the table, remembers the grace of God in Christ, and renews their vows to one another. In communion, we look around and remember who we have committed ourselves to in baptism. In baptism, the one becomes part of the many. In communion, the many are made one.
True commitment is so rare these days. Marriages break down frequently. Often people show more commitment to their sports team than to the Church of Jesus Christ. Just as a marriage falls apart when commitments and vows are forgotten, so a church gets sick when the commitments entailed in the ordinances are forgotten.
Isn’t it inspiring to see a couple celebrate their 70th anniversary? In the same way, shouldn’t God’s people see their church less like a product to consume and more like a family to love and serve? Jesus calls every Christian to make commitments to their church through the ordinances. As we move forward together as a family, let’s remind ourselves of the glad responsibility we have to “love one another earnestly” (1 Peter 1:22). And let’s pray and work for decades and decades of beautiful faithfulness to our worthy Lord.