Saturday, July 4, 2015

Some Meditations on the Lord's Table

* One of the occasional meditations I write for our church bulletin.

Today we celebrate the Table of the Lord.  In light of this it is good to reflect on what the Bible says about this glorious practice.  The apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 10.16-17 states:

Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ?  Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ?  Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of one bread.

Two items are worth noting here—one that is toward Christ and the other which is toward the Church.

First, note that Paul speaks of our engagement in the Lord’s Supper as a “sharing” in the blood and body of Christ.  This word “sharing” is the Greek word koinonia which has the nuance of participating or sharing in something.  Some of have said that this passage deals with the central mystery of this sacrament—our participation in the body and blood of Jesus Christ.  The Westminster Confession of Faith speaks of receiving this sacrament by faith and then when we do this we “spiritually, receive and feed upon Christ, crucified, and all benefits of his death: the body and blood of Christ being … really, but spiritually, present to the faith of believers…” (WCF 29.7).  So in the Supper we are engaging with Christ in a real participation, by faith, with his body and blood.

Second, the Table of the Lord also has a church focus.  For Paul, the fact that we “partake of one bread” speaks of our unity in the body of Christ.  The Supper signifies our common bond in Christ.  Therefore, the Table speaks against all causes of disunity.  It reminds us to check our hearts and our attitudes toward others in the body of Christ.  There are times when we even need to seek reconciliation first with a brother or sister in Christ so as to maintain that unity (see Mathew 5.23-24). 

Our communion is with Christ and his body, the church.  The Table of the Lord speaks of both of these realities.  Let us participate with joy and love this day for we are a blessed people!