The Corporate, Horizontal Nature of the Lord’s Supper

(For September 2, 2012 weekly email church devotion)

Dear Saints,

This Lord’s Day, we will celebrate the Lord’s Supper after the evening service.

In preparation for the Supper, I’d like to encourage us all to reflect on the “horizontal” aspect of this heavenly meal; that is, fellowship between each of us in the presence of Christ.  This quote by Charles Edward Jefferson in his book, Quiet Hints for Growing Preachers, has been on my mind thinking about the corporate nature of the Supper (it’s not just personal and spiritual between Christ and each of us individually):

“If men’s sins are to be patiently endured, much more worthy of gentle consideration are their stupidities and frailties.”

Why do I share this quote?  Because the Lord’s Supper is not only to check our attitude toward and relationship with the living Jesus Christ facing Him in the holy meal, but it also is to check our attitude toward and relationship with His living body around us, our brothers and sisters with whom we are to share the meal at the same Table.  You are to approach this Table as you would any other meal of fellowship — with a gracious, accepting, and appreciative attitude toward one another as Christ’s royal guests.  Jesus knew what He was doing ordaining this meal, didn’t He?  

Rev. Gordon Keddie writes, “True communion with Christ carries with it a desire — not merely an obligation — to commune with the ‘body of Christ’ … In terms of the symbolism of the Supper, the bread, which is the Redeemer, is broken to make the redeemed into a single loaf.” (From is book, The Lord’s Supper is a Celebration of Grace).

So consider not only how you are approaching Jesus Christ in His ordained sacrament this coming Lord’s Day evening.  Consider also how you sit down to the table with your fellow saints, each for whom Christ shed His blood on the cross, not just you.  Consider your brothers and sisters.  Consider your attitude and disposition toward them as you sit amongst them before Jesus, and consider Paul’s command (not a suggestion):

Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; (Rom 12:10)

Rev. Keddie goes on to ask us to really check ourselves with the Supper as it approaches:

“Do you love the people in the congregation where you worship? … Are there unresolved, unrepented sins and obstacles between you and others in that fellowship?  Are you seeking reconciliation (as per Matthew 18:15-20), or do you just avoid these folk and keep to your comfortable clique of like-minded friends?  Are you committed to building enduring bonds of friendship and fellowship with fellow-Christians? Can you expect Christ to commune with you, if your answers to these questions are determinedly at variance with his known will?  Anyone who is content to keep aloof from the life of the body, either by despising other Christians or denying the authority and ministerial leading of the church through her ministers and elders, has no promise from the Lord of blessing at the Table or, for that matter, anywhere else.  That is a hard saying, but it is an inescapable truth … Where there are problems, they [who desire to come to the Lord’s Table and enjoy the blessing of the Lord] are committed to resolving them through the means the Lord has given to the church.”

Be reconciled one to another anew as you commune this Lord’s Day. Not only in outward behavior, but in your hearts.  May it be true spiritual fellowship for us all, not just a bodily gathering.  And thank you, Beloved, for bearing patiently not only with my sins, but also with my stupidities and frailties.  I look forward to communing in the presence of Jesus Christ our Lord, together with you all as the true and highest Family, as we practice for our eternal experience together.

Semper Reformanda,

Pastor Grant