Friday, 9 December 2011

Remembering the Lord

Our evening service is a communion in which we gather to remember the Lord’s death until he returns. Why do we call it ‘communion’? The answer to that question is twofold: (1) we call it ‘communion’ because those remembering the Saviour share the same spiritual blessings that are depicted in the bread and wine; (2) we call it ‘communion’ because we are interacting with God at the same time.

One of the distinctives of the Scottish Presbyterian church is that it has insisted on describing the place where we meet to have the Lord’s Supper as a table. A table is where we share food and drink with one another; in a higher sense, the Lord’s Supper is God’s table on which he lays out many spiritual benefits for our souls. We can list them as various ingredients in the meal that he has provided: among them are his love, forgiveness, promises of heaven, and many others. A good way of preparing for participation is to list in our minds the various ingredients found in the Lord’s provision. Then at his table, we all eat of his provision.

At the same time, we have to interact with God, whether we speak to the Father or to Jesus or to the Spirit. Each of the divine persons can respond to us by bringing words from the Bible to our minds, sometimes with great power. We should ask each of them beforehand to come and meet with us at the table, and ask them again at the table to speak to us. It is a great blessing when the heavenly Provider stresses the ingredients in his meal, and stresses them in such a way that greatly comforts his people.

Perhaps some will say, ‘It does not matter if I go to the Lord’s Table. After all, I am converted and I can rest there.’ Such a response is like a man looking in the window of a restaurant and observing a family having a happy meal together. He is not part of it, is not sharing their fellowship, and does not know what is going on. What would make it even sadder is to discover that the man looking in is actually a member of the family but he has refused the invitation to come and share in the meal!