I am new to the Lutheran Faith. I was at one time Baptist but after spending time in the Lutheran Church and going through BIC I have come to believe that many of the doctrines I was taught (implied teaching I might add) were off. The sacraments were sacred in my church but they were more something I was doing for God not what God was doing for me. Shortly after becoming a member and being in fellowship with the WELS I was moved to a remote area of Alaska. I do not have a church nearby to participate in worship I accomplish this via internet services, devotions on WELS church sites, and this site. One of my concerns is that I do not receive Communion that often. My question is: 1. Does this put me in jeopardy of falling away from God permanently if I were to pass? 2. How do I or can I overcompensate for the loss of God's blessings I get through Communion just in my daily life? I sometimes feel like I do more reading and devotions to try and accomplish this but feel sometimes like I am spinning my wheels. Additionally, I have been tempted a few times to go to other church services or attend Bible studies that embrace my Christian faith but have not done so. I fear that being out of fellowship with those faiths puts me at more risk to fall away from God's true teachings, thus allowing Satan to confuse me or put doubt in me. So if you could add thoughts in your answer to this as well it would be appreciated. Thank you in advance for the answer and thank you for this resource that is available.
I can appreciate your desire to receive the Lord’s Supper. The new self in us says, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God” (Psalm 42:1). We look to the Lord’s Supper as a wonderful gift from our Savior. It is a gift in which he gives us his body and blood—under the form of bread and wine—to forgive our sins, to strengthen our faith and to fortify us for more faithful Christian living. Not receiving the sacrament as frequently as you are able because of your circumstances does not “put you in jeopardy of falling away from God if you were to pass.” The infrequency (whatever it may be) of your reception of the sacrament sounds like it is due to logistical circumstances and not to any despising of the sacrament.
I think you answered your second question well. You are “compensating” for the infrequent reception of the sacrament by more contact with the word of God. You may recall from your Bible Information Class instruction that we speak of the “means of grace” being the gospel in word and sacraments. That means that God works through the Bible and the sacraments (the word connected to earthly elements) to call people to faith and strengthen them in the faith. And so while you currently may not be able to receive the Lord’s Supper as frequently as you would like, God is giving you the same blessings through his written word. I say this not to minimize the importance of the Lord’s Supper but to remind you that God is giving you the forgiveness of sins and strengthening of faith through the Bible—just as he does in a very personal way through the Lord’s Supper.
As far as receiving the sacrament more frequently, I trust you have talked to your pastor about this. You say you live in a remote area of Alaska. I wonder if it is possible for your pastor to alert other WELS pastors of your situation, so that they might serve you with the sacrament if their travels take them anywhere near your location.
Regarding worshiping at churches beyond our fellowship, you do well to continue to recognize biblical fellowship principles, understand the dangers of false teachings, and supplement your devotional life with the online resources you mentioned.
Probably more than others who might be reading this question and answer, you—because of your circumstances—can appreciate the Lord’s promise of his continual presence in your life (Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5b). How wonderful it is for God to come to us through word and sacrament, and for us to be able to approach him through prayer. God bless you as you use his gospel to stay connected to him in faith!