Before we all head off to church tomorrow, I wanted to share a few thoughts about the Lord's Supper. I hope that you will have a chance to take it tomorrow.
The Lord's Supper never had any special meaning for me until about five years ago. Until then, I saw it as a mysterious church ritual. I had a vague sense that I was supposed experience emotion of some kind around the Supper, but I wasn't sure how to achieve it. Some churches we've been in celebrated the Supper once a month, some every couple of weeks. I never imagined that I would one day long for the Supper each and every week, and would feel acute sadness if ever I were to miss it.
Several months after our youngest child was born, I experienced a time of depression. Life was all darkness. I couldn't pray or get anything from sermons. I could barely speak about how I felt. I was weak, so weak, and desperate. In that season, the Lord's Supper became intensely meaningful to me. Taking the body and blood of Jesus was all I could do. I couldn't pray; but I could walk up to the front of the sanctuary and take a piece of bread and a little cup of wine. I could take Jesus to myself because he was on offer (as our pastor says!). He freely gives his very life to me, for me, so that I might have more of his life in me. My weakness is all he requires. In fact, he was and is most available to me -- and to you -- in the deepest part of the valley. During the months of depression, I clung to the Lord's Supper for my very life.
Here is something we read from time to time just before taking the Supper together:
Minister: Christ calls the bread his body and the cup his blood, or the new covenant in his blood.
Christ has good reason for these words. He wants to teach us that as
bread and wine nourish our temporal life, so too his crucified body and
poured-out blood truly nourish our souls for eternal life. But more
important, he wants to assure us, by this visible sign and pledge, that
we, through the Holy Spirit's work, share in his true body and blood as
surely as our mouths receive these holy signs in his remembrance, and
that all of his suffering and obedience are as definitely ours as if we
personally had suffered and paid for our sins.
(from Heidelberg Catechism, Q&A 79)
As you consider how to love the church, let us begin tomorrow by taking gladly the Lord's Supper together. Take a big piece of bread; you need a lot of Jesus. There is plenty to go around. Take as much as you need for your weakness, your neediness, your wanting, your longing, your sin, your pride, your desperation. These are all you will bring to the table tomorrow. In exchange, you will be fed with the Lord himself, fed with food that gives life everlasting, and life for the week ahead. I pray you will be satisfied in him, that he will meet you tomorrow. I pray that we would all be desperate, not about our lives or circumstances, but desperate for more Jesus. Let's look forward in hope as we contemplate our invitation to the great Supper of the Lamb.
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