In Spirit and in Truth (II)

“Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
Do you ever smile at the things we say during the Lord’s Supper? “We gather around the table of the Lord,” we will declare, while every child in the building says to himself, “No, we’ve gathered in front of the table! And why do we call it a ‘supper’ when we eat it at 10 in the morning?”
I remember someone saying that they had a “problem” with the way we did the Lord’s Supper. “I don’t like the dead time, the silence,” he explained.
On the contrary. There is always someone speaking in worship. The preacher proclaims, a prayer is led, and songs are sung. The only time we fall silent is during the Lord’s Supper. It is important to have a moment when we can reflect on God’s mercy, and our responsibility.
The Lord’s Supper is not to be trifled with. We are solemnly warned not to partake of the Lord’s Supper “in an unworthy manner” (1 Corinthians 11:27). We are to partake of the Supper when he says (Acts 20:7) and how he says (i.e. worthily). We aren’t munching popcorn at a country fair; we are remembering the Lord’s death!
I have found various things that facilitate this remembrance: Reading the Gospel accounts of the crucifixion (perhaps in a new translation) will help visualize the scene. Reading the lyrics of appropriate songs helps, too.
The Lord’s supper is also a time to remember our sins. Often I have heard well meaning Christians say that they couldn’t partake of the Lord’s Supper on a given day because “I felt unworthy.” Let’s be clear. No one, anywhere, at any time has been worthy of Christ’s death. It was an act of historic mercy, not a product that could be bought on retail! Think about it for a moment. If Jesus bore our sins on the cross, and the Lord’s Supper commemorates that event, what better time is there to ask his blood to cleanse us?
You are solemnly invited to eat with the king. Please respond by being around the table and eating supper this Sunday morning!

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Stan Mitchell

Stan has preached since 1976, in Zimbabwe, California, Texas and Tennessee. He serves as preacher for the Red Walnut Church of Christ in Bath Springs, TN. He is currently Professor of Bible at Freed-Hardeman University. He is married to the former Marjorie McCarthy, and has one daughter, Tracy Watts. He is the author of four books: The Wise Get Wiser, the Foolish More Foolish: The Book of Proverbs, Give the Winds a Mighty Voice: Our Worship in Song, and Equipping the Saints for Ministry. He has recently published another book, "Will Our Faith Have Children: Developing Leadership in the Church for the Next Generation.

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