Thursday, June 4, 2015

Reevaluating the Lord's Supper | The Friendship of Jesus

Friends are never hard to find. Friends are always near. They are always ready and willing to help. They serve and give without ever expecting or asking anything in return. Nevertheless, within friendships there is always a sense of reciprocation. It’s not so much a matter of fairness or each friend giving as much as the other. It’s really more about each friend meeting the other friend wherever they are. Jesus meets us where we are but in a similar sense, we meet Jesus where He calls us. Psalm 25 has been on my mind lately. Verse fourteen tells us that “the friendship of the Lord is for those who fear Him, and He makes known to them His covenant.” As I meditated on this Psalm, I realized that “friendship” can also be translated “secret counsel”. My mind immediately went to the upper room where Christ bestows His covenant love to His twelve disciples with the bread and the cup.


For the past few years, every time I approached the Lord’s Supper it seemed that I was missing out on something. I knew this was supposed to be a spiritually nourishing experience. This was supposed to build up my faith and assurance but for some reason I didn’t get it. Eventually I lighted on the heart of the problem or at least near to the heart of the problem. I don’t know about you, but sometimes my relationship with Jesus feels one-sided. I’m doing all the talking. I’m doing all the reading, praying, searching. Sure, I’m trying to “hear from Him” but it all seems so ambiguous and uncertain and I’m constantly left empty and confused. This year on the Sunday after Valentine’s Day it finally clicked in my brain.

The previous Saturday my friend Missy hosted an incredible Valentine’s Day celebration feast for several of her single lady friends. It was a beautiful time full of delicious food, music and wholesome conversation. The next day our congregation celebrated the Lord’s Supper. Then it hit me. This was Jesus’ party. This was His feast, His gesture of friendship to us! Just like Missy's gesture of friendship and love with her Valentine's Day feast, this was Jesus' feast for us. He was the host and we were the guests, His intimate friends. This was Jesus’ way of saying “you are my best friends”, His way of communicating to His saints that He loves us. This is where Jesus calls us to meet Him. 

I grew up with an understanding of God’s means of grace. This is a phrase you have probably heard before. If not, it basically means the ordinary, predictable ways that God communicates His grace to us.

See, God has instituted ways and means by which He communicates grace to us. There are places we can go and expect to find Him, correct? We know this. We know that while God communicates His glory generally through His creation, we cannot expect to find a knowledge and understanding of His grace wherever we want to. We must seek an understanding of God's grace where God has revealed it. One way God communicates His grace to us is through His Word, the Bible. This is the essential means of grace. Other means of grace include prayer and the sacraments (Baptism and the Lord's Supper). The Lord’s Supper is a special means of grace wherein through the work of the Holy Spirit, Jesus reassures His saints of His love.

There’s a time to seek after Christ. There’s a time to pursue Him, run to Him in prayer, find Him in His Word. But there’s also a time to simply receive His love. There’s a time to revel in the joy and satisfaction of being found by Him. And the amazing thing is that God has given us opportunity for both. He gives us His Word, worship and prayer, means by which we can seek and find Him. But then He also gives us Baptism and the Lord's Supper, means by which we humbly receive His mercy and revel in the joy of His covenant love. It's easy to miss the point of the Lord's Supper if we think of it as something we're supposed to do or something we can do if we feel like it. Don't miss the spiritual necessity of this sacrament.

This is about remembering Jesus' death on our behalf. 

This is a reminder from Jesus of how much He loves us.

It's a means of assurance for our faith in Jesus.

Don't miss it. If assurance is something you wrestle with, I submit to you that you need to reexamine the way you are receiving the Lord's Supper.

Let's not forget that Jesus designed and instituted this celebration and He is the one who invites His disciples--us, the redeemed--to celebrate with Him. 

As humans, we need this. Think of the many ways that people generally communicate love. It’s not simply through words. It’s through boxes of chocolates and red roses. It’s through parties and presents. It's by sacrificial acts of service and generosity. It’s through dances and cheesy romantic songs. It’s through love letters and silly superficial things that shouldn’t mean anything but still mean the world to us. We need these gestures. We need wedding rings. We need gallant, exclusive signs of love. The Lord’s Supper is Jesus’ wedding ring to us. It’s His marriage proposal to His bride, His church, His beloved. It's His covenant to those who fear Him, to those He calls friends. 

5 comments :

  1. Oh, Dani! What a beautiful, beautiful post. I'm so thankful for your love for the Lord and your commitment to knowing Him more.

    “There’s a time to seek after Christ. There’s a time to pursue Him, run to Him in prayer, find Him in His Word. But there’s also a time to simply receive His love. There’s a time to revel in the joy and satisfaction of being found by Him.” -- I LOVE this quote, and I feel I need to share a circumstance just like this which happened Monday night. I haven't told anyone about it yet and I don't know -- there's just something so wonderful about sharing what Jesus is doing in one's life!

    So I was studying for a trigonometry exam and had committed to spending all day -- or as near to all day as I could manage -- with my math textbook. Things were going okay but as the day wore on my brain became exhausted and, even though it shouldn't have been a highly stressful time, I could feel the stress pervading my body. I needed to go feed some church friends' animals that night and also pick up a couple cards from other church friends on the way, and had no desire to leave our house, waste time, what have you. I stopped by that house first to get the cards, and was so encouraged because these ladies are just the sweetest people ever, and commit to praying for everyone and everything if there's mention of some conundrum in that person's life. Their Christlike compassion and love encouraged me SO much. After that I went to feed the animals -- and discovered that someone in that family had arrived home and I wasn't needed to care for the place anymore. I was initially a little bothered that I hadn't found out (I hadn't checked my phone all day, so I didn't get their text), but then it came to me: Jesus WANTED me to go into town to be encouraged by these women, because He knew I was having a difficult day! What amazing love He lavishes on us.

    find me--
    dance a real & walking in the air.

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    1. Hannah, thank you so much for sharing this! I tend to let little inconveniences make my day miserable but it's amazing to instead see how God works in every single circumstance of our lives. I hope this summer is a little less stressful than your school year! :)

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  2. This was a new perspective for me! I have known for a long time that The Lord's Supper was a time to remember Christ's sacrifice for us, however, I have never thought of it as a way to receive His love (in the sense that I think you're getting at, not the sense that communion cleanses our sins or is a strange mystical experience :P). As always, thanks for sharing your thoughts! It's great to read others' blogs and be challenged to think of things in new ways.

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    1. Thank you, Paige! Yes, there's nothing mystical in the elements themselves or even in eating and drinking the bread and wine. Also, like you said, the Lord's Supper in no way saves us or cleanses us from our sins. To put our faith in a ritual would be to diminish the work of Jesus Christ. The sacrament itself is void of any spiritual significance without the faith of the partaker and the work of the Holy Spirit. I probably could have clarified that in my post, but I didn't want to steal from the point I was driving at. I also didn't want to get caught up in theological nuances since I know most of my followers have deferring views and convictions about the Lord's Supper. I'm not really qualified to extensively cover this topic but I hope that by speaking from my personal experience, I'm able to enrich the faith of others. :)

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    2. No problem regarding clarification! :) Your point was not distracted from.

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