Last week, while looking for something else, a ran across The Suverkrop Letters. This is a collection of letters from 1842-1847 written by Steve's great, great, great grandfather and grandmother, Isabella Ann Smith Suverkrop (1819-1903) and Edward Albert Suverkrop (1814-1895). The paper states that the letters "provide an intimate glimpse into family life and society in America and Scotland of more than 150 years ago."
The collection is 122 pages long describing some details of their life; her trip to across America, parties she went to, their wedding, San Francisco fire, Gold Rush, and living in Washington in the 1860's. There are pictures of them and their family also. The amateur genealogist in me was jumping up and down with excitement. I read them out loud to Steve until he said ENOUGH!
While I enjoyed reading all of the letters, one part stood out to me.
“Edward and I had a great disappointment on Sunday. It was the first Sunday of the month, and we intended to take the Holy Communion together, and were looking forward to it, as a Solomon and delightful privilege. We read over the service together on Saturday evening and the passages of Scripture describing, and elucidating the ordinance; both of us I believe, anticipated the Sabbath, and this part of its worship particularly, with particular feelings. Perhaps with minds more chastened than we had ever before experienced in preparing for it." (She goes on to explain they missed the service and did not get to take communion together.)
What stood out to me was this: they prepared, together, the night before, to take communion. Conviction whooped me in the head; I can't remember when I last prepared for communion like that. Sure, I invite Holy Spirit to examine my heart while standing in line and say a hasty pray for forgiveness. But how long has it been since I took the time to allow Him more than those few moments, the time for Him to go deep and expose those hidden sins and dark places in my heart.
1 Corinthians 11 instructs us on how we are to take communion and why.
23 [i]For I received from the Lord Himself that [instruction] which I passed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is (represents) My body, which is [offered as a sacrifice] for you. Do this in [affectionate] remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same way, after supper He took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant [ratified and established] in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in[affectionate] remembrance of Me.” 26 For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are [symbolically] proclaiming [the fact of] the Lord’s death until He comes [again].
27 So then whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in a way that is unworthy [of Him] will be guilty of [profaning and sinning against] the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But a person must [prayerfully] examine himself [and his relationship to Christ], and only when he has done so should he eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks [without solemn reverence and heartfelt gratitude for the sacrifice of Christ], eats and drinks a judgment on himself if he does not [j]recognize the body [of Christ]. 30 That [careless and unworthy participation] is the reason why many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep [in death]. 31 But if we evaluated and judged ourselves honestly [recognizing our shortcomings and correcting our behavior], we would not be judged. 32 But when we [fall short and] are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined [by undergoing His correction] so that we will not be condemned [to eternal punishment] along with the world. From <https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+11&version=AMP>
How many of us are doing as Paul instructed? Do we see communion as a solemn and delightful privilege, as Isabelle and Edward did? Do we look forward to it or has it become another church routine, like the announcement and offering?
The next time you know communion is scheduled , I urge you to do as Paul instructed, and Isabelle and Edward practiced. Take some time to prepare, allow Holy Spirit to go deep. This is where you will see the love Jesus has for you. This is where healing starts. This is our delightful privilege- true communion with our God.
If you would like to read the Suverkrop Letters, you will find them here. https://hcommons.org/deposits/objects/hc:16310/datastreams/CONTENT/content