Last month, I used this space to get us thinking about the weekly ritual in our life together as the church, the Lord’s Supper. While last month’s reflection was more philosophical, I’m making this month’s very practical. Specifically, I’d like to address what we ought to think about when we come to the Table of the Lord. While this is something that I have talked with some of our communicant kids about, it is something that I rarely have spoken about to many of you adults.
“So I’ve listened to Pastor Nate (or Ed) introduce and remind us of what we are doing, I’ve taken the bread and wine from an elder, and I’m back in my seat… Now what?”
While much more could certainly be said, let me briefly suggest three “R’s,” all considered in the context of prayer…
Remember: “And He took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.” (Luke 22:19)
Jesus left His church with this meal as a visible, tangible sign of His work on the cross. He knows we are a forgetful people, my how the book of Judges has reminded us of that! And so, feeling and smelling and tasting the Supper each week is a cue for you to think about the depth of His love for you. To wonder about the resolve that would cause Him to follow through on the will of the Father. To rejoice that this Savior who loved you to death is still with you. To give thanks.
Repent: “Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.” (1 Corinthians 11:28)
The Lord’s table is a weekly reminder to your heart that you need Jesus. A reminder that your heart still wanders from Him and His ways. A reminder that His grace is full and free and for you, every week, every day. Therefore, that time in your seats (with Leandra playing in the background) is an opportunity to lay bare before the One who laid bare on that cross. It is an opportunity to confess your failings and rest in His forgiveness, in the faithfulness and justice shown on the cross.
Renew: “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?” (1 Corinthians 10:16)
All of this leads to the Lord’s Supper being an opportunity to refocus our lives by renewing our relationship with the God who has saved us. The Lord’s Supper is the oddest of meals pointing to the other-worldly identity and allegiance of those who eat and drink as one. So use the Supper as an opportunity to pray for the grace to live out these realities before a watching world.
While these certainly are not rigid categories that you must follow, perhaps they will help you be more intentional the next time you come to the Table of our Lord.
For another helpful summary, see Westminster Larger Catechism Q&A 174.