Archives For Eucharist

jcryleThe benefits [the Lord’s Supper] confers, are spiritual, not physical. Its effects must be looked for in our inward man. It was intended to remind us, by the visible, tangible emblems of bread and wine, that the offering of Christ’s body and blood for us on the cross, is the only atonement for sin, and the life of a believer’s soul. It was meant to help our poor weak faith to closer fellowship with our crucified Savior, and to assist us in spiritually feeding on Christ’s body and blood. It is an ordinance for redeemed sinners, and not for unfallen angels. By receiving it we publicly declare our sense of guilt, and need of a Savior – our trust in Jesus, and our love to Him – our desire to live upon Him, and our hope to live with Him. Using it in this spirit, we shall find our repentance deepened, our faith increased, our hope brightened, and our love enlarged – our besetting sins weakened, and our graces strengthened. It will draw us nearer to Christ.

J.C. Ryle
Commentary, Matthew 26.

serving communion

“In communion, our entire covenant community is brought closer to our God and subsequently, to each other because our Christ is our commonality, and the sacrament is our common sign. As all believers possess God’s Spirit, we are personally fed, repaired, and strengthened. But that communion is not a privatized, one-dimensional experience.

All of Christ’s Church enjoys the presence of the Holy Spirit, so we cannot experience true communion in isolation. The sacrament that is experienced is always done in plurality with other brothers and sisters… We are brought out of isolation into a community that rallies around an identity that is not consumed with melancholic introspection or shared backgrounds. Once defined by our sin, we are now defined by the person and work of another – Jesus. We are now defined by his righteousness, not our own. As we corporately approach the table, it is a group of righteous people who still sin, a group of righteous people who hate their sin, and a group of righteous people who long for the day when they will not sin.

What a relief to many that there are others who are disgusted with themselves. We are morally frustrated, and yet, also long for the perfection found in Christ’s work – not increased fervor or promises. The Table once again unites a fragmented people. Unified, we come. Sinners who have been made righteous attend this Table. We do not come through varying acts of goodness, but through One Person, applied to his people by One Spirit. The Sacrament of the Lord’s Table is, yet again, the cure for loneliness and isolation.”

– Tim Lien

This Is for You (The Means of Grace)

 

20130417-174749.jpgAA Hodge in his Evangelical Theology: Lectures on Doctrine, speaks of holy communion as the “visible mark or badge of Christian discipleship.” His words that follow are a stirring call both to a life of testimony and the essential nature of the sacrament.

It is true that a true believer, who for any reason is prevented from confessing Christ by wearing publicly his sacramental badge, may just as efficiently confess him by other significant words and deeds. And it is further true that if a communicant is indeed a true believer at heart he
will constantly confess Christ in other ways—indeed, in all conceivable ways—in all his life. Nevertheless, a loyal citizen cannot choose his own flag. The public and official signification of loyalty cannot be left to the accidental choice of individuals. Above all, in a state of active war no loyal soldier can for one moment fail to hold aloft the one battle-flag which his leader has in trusted to his care. He covers it with his body, he shields it with his life, he carries it aloft with streaming eyes and heaving breast at the head of the host. So do we with solemn joy, with reverent love and passion, carry in sacred pomp this sacramental flag of confession and of challenge high in the face of the world which crucified our Lord.

Words and Music by Keith and Kristyn Getty & Stuart Townend

Behold the Lamb who bears our sins away,
Slain for us – and we remember
The promise made that all who come in faith
Find forgiveness at the cross.
So we share in this bread of life,
And we drink of His sacrifice
As a sign of our bonds of peace
Around the table of the King.

The body of our Saviour Jesus Christ,
Torn for you – eat and remember
The wounds that heal, the death that brings us life
Paid the price to make us one.
So we share in this bread of life,
And we drink of His sacrifice
As a sign of our bonds of love
Around the table of the King.

The blood that cleanses every stain of sin,
Shed for you – drink and remember
He drained death’s cup that all may enter in
To receive the life of God.
So we share in this bread of life,
And we drink of His sacrifice
As a sign of our bonds of grace
Around the table of the King.

And so with thankfulness and faith we rise
To respond, – and to remember
Our call to follow in the steps of Christ
As His body here on earth.
As we share in His suffering
We proclaim Christ will come again!
And we’ll join in the feast of heaven
Around the table of the King
Words and Music by Keith and Kristyn Getty & Stuart Townend

Eucharist - Communion
In his book on the Lord’s Supper, Puritan Thomas Watson warns of neglecting the sacrament:

Has Jesus Christ been at all this cost to make a feast? Then, surely, there must be guests. (Luke 22:19). It is not left to our choice whether we will come or not; it is a duty purely indispensable. “Let him eat of that bread” (1 Corinthians 11:28), which words are not only permissive, but authoritative. It is as if a king should say, “Let it be enacted.”

The neglect of the Sacrament runs men into a gospel penalty. It was infinite goodness in Christ to broach that blessed vessel of His body and let His sacred blood stream out. It is evil for us wilfully to omit such an ordinance wherein the trophy of mercy is so richly displayed and our salvation so nearly concerned. Well may Christ take this as an undervaluing of Him, and interpret it as no better than a bidding Him to keep His feast to Himself. He who did not observe the passover was to be cut off. (Numbers 9:13). How angry was Christ with those who stayed away from the supper! They thought to put it off with a compliment. But Christ knew how to construe their excuse for a refusal. “None of those men which were bidden shall taste of My supper,” (Luke 14:24). Rejecting gospel mercy is a sin of so deep a dye that God can do no less than punish it for a contempt. Some need a flaming sword to keep them from the Lord’s Table, and others need Christ’s whip of small cords to drive them to it.

supper BPuritan Thomas Watson, in his book on The Lord’s Supper, contends against the notion of transubstantiation but also gives a welcome caution to those who would diminish the sacrament to a merely symbolic ritual.

“Also, this doctrine of the Sacrament confutes such as look upon the Lord’s Supper only as an empty figure or shadow, resembling Christ’s death, but having no intrinsic efficacy in it. Surely, this glorious ordinance is more than an effigy or representative of Christ. Why is the Lord’s Supper called the communion of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 10:16), but because, in the right celebration of it, we have sweet communion with Christ? In this gospel ordinance, Christ not only shows forth His beauty, but sends forth His virtue. The Sacrament is not only a picture drawn, but a breast drawn. It gives us a taste of Christ as well as a sight (1 Peter 2:3). Such as make the Sacrament only a representative of Christ shoot short of the mystery and come short of the comfort.

We Need Communion

April 11, 2013

CommunionBreadWine“Gathering to eat at the Lord’s Table reminds us that grace is as common as bread, as sparkling as wine, and as necessary and invigorating as both. We need those reminders, for we live surrounded by an atmosphere rife with noxious poisons and convenience stores stocked only with confections. We need communion, which draws us together to contemplate grace, to be newly infused with grace,to be prepared for demonstrating grace. So to the table we come, and from the table we depart, nourished for life by encounters with the Lord.” – Dan Schmidt

We Require Feeding

April 10, 2013

In Remembrance of Me“In worship we gather together to draw near to God, who is full of grace – the very grace so vividly displayed by communion. Grace has saved us, and, as we discover so often in worship, it continues to be evident, shaping those who gladly submit to the Lord. Bread and cup take us to a manifestation of grace in the selfless advent and giving of Jesus on behalf of rebels, and they lay in stores of the spiritual enrichment we receive at Gods hand. As we eat and drink, our bodies are fueled only modestly in terms of physical nutrition; in spiritual terms, we enter time and space saturated by grace and can be permeated, refreshed, and refueled by it. We must teach ourselves that coming to this table is as necessary as eating. We must train ourselves to recognize that we require feeding.”

– Dan Schmidt, Taken By Communion

We Come in Remembrance

November 2, 2012

communionWe come in remembrance that our Lord Jesus Christ was sent of the Father into the world to assume our flesh and blood and to fulfill for us all obedience to the divine law, even to the bitter and shameful death of the cross.

By his death, resurrection, and ascension he established a new and eternal covenant of grace and reconciliation that we might be accepted of God and never be forsaken by him.

We come to have communion with this same Christ who has promised to be with us always, even to the end of the world.

In the breaking of the bread he makes himself known to us as the true heavenly Bread that strengthens us into life eternal.

In the cup of blessing he comes to us as the Vine in whom we must abide if we are to bear fruit.

We come in hope, believing that this bread and this cup are a pledge and foretaste of the feast of love of which we shall partake when his kingdom has fully come, when with unveiled face we shall behold him, made like him in his glory.

Since by his death, resurrection, and ascension Christ has obtained for us the life-giving Spirit who unites us all in one body, so are we to receive this supper in true love, mindful of the communion of saints.

– From the Reformed Church in America

My friend and mentor, Dr. Robert J. Stamps, Visiting Professor of Worship and Dean of Chapel at Asbury Theological Seminary on their practice of daily Eucharist.

Daily Eucharist from Asbury Theological Seminary on Vimeo.