Summary: God has called us to be constantly fanning the spiritual flames inside us, and it is up to us to train ourselves to make the Spiritual Disciplines part of our routine, or lifestyle.
Celebrating the Lord’s Table
There is a story told of a little church that had an unusual ritual every Sunday morning. When they sang the Gloria Patri they stood, turned to the right facing a blank white wall and sang. Every Sunday without fail they did this. A newcomer to the church was puzzled by this and asked, “Why do you do this?” No one knew. The only answer they could come up with was, “we’ve always done it this way.” That answer did not satisfy the newcomer. Other people were asked the same question. Finally an elderly man who had gone to church longer than anyone else remembered the reason. It seems that at one time they didn’t have hymnals and the words to this song were painted on the large white wall. Everyone stood, turned to the right facing the wall and sang.
Over the years the words faded and the wall was repainted numerous times yet no one remembered the significance for standing and turning toward the wall.
(contributed by Marilyn Murphree)
The reality of this story is that we can lose sight of the significance in the practices of the Spiritual Discipline, so much so, that we forget why we do them in the first place.
Today we want to answer the question, “What is the Lord’s Table (Communion)?” To some this might seem like a very basic question, but to answer this question is to truly understand the Spiritual Discipline that is “Celebrating the Lord’s Table.”
1 Corinthians 11:23-26 (NLT)
23For this is what the Lord himself said, and I pass it on to you just as I received it. On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took a loaf of bread, 24and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant between God and you, sealed by the shedding of my blood. Do this in remembrance of me as often as you drink it.” 26For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again.
Let’s examine further what Celebrating the Lord’s Table truly is.
1. A Memorial
1 Corinthians 11:24-25 (NLT)
24and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant between God and you, sealed by the shedding of my blood. Do this in remembrance of me as often as you drink it.”
Coming to the Lord’s Table is a practice that Jesus established for us to do in remembrance of Him. Jesus didn’t set a scheduled date or time for us to partake, He simply says, “As often as you do it, remember Me.”
I heard the story of an older couple that was having some trouble remembering so they signed up to take a memory course together. A few months later the husband was out working in his garden when a neighbor stopped by and began to talk to him about the memory course, What was the name of the instructor? The husband paused, then asked “What is the name of that flower that smells so nice but has thorns? You mean a rose the neighbor answered. Yeah that’s it, “Hey Rose, what’s the name of that guy who taught us the memory course?”
(contributed by Clark Bates)
I want to take a moment and talk about Memorials. Why do we create Memorials?
- To honor great lives
- To commemorate great deeds
- To remember great events
- To keep memories alive
- To instruct
When we come to the Lord’s Table, we must come with a heart that is ready to partake as a Memorial unto Jesus. When we do this we are not “commiserating” over His suffering for us, but rather we are “commemorating” Jesus’ triumph over all sin, death and hell!
He has set us free, and when we call our memory back to this very simple thought we regain proper perspective in our hearts and minds.
2. A Time of Communion
1. a feeling of emotional or spiritual closeness
2. an association or relationship
3. a sense of shared religious identity and fellowship, especially between members of different Christian denominations
When we partake of the elements we are in communion with Jesus, experiencing closeness with our Lord and Savior.
1 Corinthians 10:16 (NASB)
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?