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Pastoral Reflection: The Lord's Supper

In normal times, our congregation would have been celebrating the Lord's Supper in February. Rev Kenneth I Macleod reflects on the Lord's Supper and what happens when we partake.

“And when He had given thanks, he broke it (the bread) and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also He took the cup, after supper, saying “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” 1 Corinthians 11:24-26

As a congregation we should have been celebrating the Lord’s Supper on Sunday. The Lord’s Supper is one of the great blessings the church has been given. There have been times when the church has been guilty of making too much of the supper, with the result that people who love the Lord Jesus, and should be at the table, are afraid to come. The bar has been set so high that they feel they will be sinning by even considering coming. That of course is so wrong. Other times, parts of the church have been so lax regarding the supper, that it is basically a free for all. Anyone can partake, as long as they come to church. A person’s love for and of the Lord Jesus, where they have accepted Christ as Saviour, is no longer the deciding factor. The church must always guard against either of these extremes.

The Bible talks of 3 great suppers. There is the Passover supper the Israelites first took part in on the night they left Egypt. It became an integral part of Jewish life from that moment, even, for many, to this present day. The Passover, from that night had the purpose of making them look back, as well as look forward - something of course which we find in the Lord’s Supper. The Israelites looked back to the night they sheltered under the blood of the sacrifice, and were delivered from the bondage and slavery of Egypt. They also were to look forward to the coming of the Messiah, whose person and work was highlighted in the Passover. The third supper spoken of in Scripture is in Revelation, where we are told about the marriage supper of the Lamb. However, it is this second supper we focus on, and is such a vital part of our Christian life. We have so missed being at the Lord’s Table during lockdown and sharing, by faith, with one another, the bread and the wine.

As we know the Lord’s Supper was instituted by Christ at the end of the Passover meal with His disciples in the Upper Room. There are many things we can reflect on regarding the Lord’s Supper but I want very simply to think of a few of the things that happen as we partake.

1 We Remember Jesus. The Supper is all about Jesus. In order to really remember someone properly, you have had to know that person. So it is with the Supper and Jesus. We remember who He is, as the Eternal Son of God. We remember what He did. His coming into this world taking our nature. We remember His wonderful teaching and perfect life. We remember what He suffered in our place on the cross and what He achieved for us. We remember His death and subsequent resurrection. We remember all these things at the Lord’s Supper
2 We Obey Jesus. “Do This.” That is a command. It’s a command that has come from a heart of love, and our obedient response comes from a heart of love. “If you love me, keep my commandments.” When you think about it, it is really the least we can do for Jesus when we reflect upon what He has done for us

3. We have Communion with Jesus. In Revelation we are told of how Jesus stands at the door and knocks, and anyone hearing and opening the door, Jesus says, “I will come in to him and eat with him and he with me.” That becomes very much part of what happens at the table as we enjoy the friendship, fellowship and communion with Jesus. He communicates His love to us through the Spirit. We also have communion with all the other Christians at the table. We are all family as we share and pass and take. We remember that Jesus loved the person beside me, behind me, in front of me so much, that He gave His life for them as well.

4 We Thank Jesus. You instinctively want to thank someone who has done something wonderful for you, or has given you some amazing gift. That is exactly how it is with us at the Lord’s Table. God has given us the gift of eternal life through His Son, and the Son has given His life in order to save us. So thanksgiving is an integral part of the Supper.

5. We witness for Jesus. Taking the bread and the wine is making a powerful statement. We are told, “For as often as you eat the bread and drink the cup You Proclaim The Lord’s Death”. Every time you sit at the table you are saying, by being there, “Jesus Christ is my Lord and Saviour.” We sometimes talk about people making a statement, when they may do something very notable. Well, every person going to the Table is making a powerful statement. Indeed, it is a very powerful reason as to why every Christian ought to be at the Table. By not going, a person is hiding what Christ has done for them.

6. We Expect Jesus. The day is coming when we won’t be seeing Jesus through the symbols of bread and wine, with the eye of faith, but seeing Him as He is. The Table has time meeting eternity because we are reminded when eat and drink, that it is, “Until He Comes”. Every time we partake of the Lord’s Supper it takes us a step closer to the return of the Lord, and the church will continue celebrating the Lord’s Supper until He returns. So, as we sit at the table we look back to what Christ has done for us, and we look forward to His coming again.
The Lord’s Supper is an amazing privilege for every Christian, and also a powerful reminder of what the Godhead has done for us. As we reflect upon what Father Son and Holy Spirit have done for us and continue to do for and in us, we can look forward to the future with anticipation. Yes, the future is uncertain, but it is God’s future and we know that He is going to take every one of His own people home to glory with Himself. In the meantime He has given us these blessings to strengthen our faith and encourage us as we journey home.

Love and prayers. Kenny
Photo by James Coleman on Unsplash