Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Rejoice in the Table!

I love the Lord's Supper. When you consider that the New Testament is relatively silent on what we are to do in corporate worship (1 Corinthians 14:26; Ephesians 5:19), we should pay special attention when the Lord of the Church Himself gives us an element that should be part of our gatherings. At the Table we proclaim with one accord the "gospel of the glory of Christ, Who is the image of God (2 Corinthians 4:4). What an awesome opportunity! "For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He returns (1 Corinthians 11:26). How could we ever "proclaim the Lord's death" to much, since it is in this that we are brought back to the most perfect expression of love from Love Himself to us? "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:16). "God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). "God is this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins...we love, because He first loved us" (1 John 4:8,10,19). As John Owen said, "the love of the Father is the only rest of the soul." That love is found exclusively in Christ, expressed most brilliantly in the cross of Christ.

In the love of the Father, "which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:39), we find the true foundation for our loving fellowship with each other. "Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another...if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us" (1 John 4:11,12). So at the Table we are not only reminded of the focal point of the love of the Father, we are reminded that the response to that love is to be directed to those gathered at the Table with us. Beautiful.

I can't get enough of this Supper. We celebrate it every week in our congregation. Today I came across this early teaching and prayer concerning the Lord's Supper and wanted to share it with you:

"First, concerning the cup:

We give You thanks, our Father,
for the holy vine of David Your servant,
which You have made known to us
through Jesus, Your servant;
to You be the glory forever.

And concerning the broken bread:

We give You thanks, our Father,
for the life and knowledge
which You have made known to us
through Jesus, Your servant;
to You be the glory forever.
Just as this broken bread was scattered
upon the mountains and then was
gathered together and became one,
so may Your Church be gathered together
from the ends of the earth into Your Kingdom;
for Yours is the glory and the power
through Jesus Christ forever.

...give thanks as follows:

We give You thanks, Holy Father,
for Your holy Name which You
have caused to dwell in our hearts,
and for the knowledge and faith and immortality
which You have made known to us
through Jesus Your servant;
to You be the glory forever.
You, Almighty Master, created all things for Your Name's sake,
and gave food and drink to men to enjoy,
that they might give You thanks;
but to us You have graciously given spiritual food and drink,
and eternal life through Your servant.
Above all we give thanks because You are mighty;
to You be the glory forever.
Remember Your Church, Lord,
to deliver it from all evil
and to make it perfect in Your love;
and gather it, the one that has been sanctified,
from the four winds into Your Kingdom,
which You have prepared for it;
for Yours is the power and the glory forever.
May grace come, and may this world pass away.
'Save us now' to the God of David.
If anyone is holy, let him come.
If anyone is not, let him repent.
'Come quickly Lord.' Amen."
(from the Didache).

Rejoice in the Table, proclaiming Christ with one voice. Rejoice in the Table, remember the absolute center of all Love in the death of the given Christ. Rejoice in the Table, remembering that we do not come to it alone, but come together with those we love with a supernatural and eternal love.