One of my favorite times in worship at church is when we observe the Lord’s Supper. Each week we sing together, pray together, hear God’s Word together and take the Lord’s Supper together. After the sermon, as the church sings, each member walks to the front to receive the wine and the bread. After we all return to our seats, a pastor then leads us as together we eat the bread and drink the wine.
Some say that taking the Lord’s Supper so often leads us to take it for granted. I don’t buy that. Speaking of the supper, J. C. Ryle once said ,“By receiving it we publicly declare our sense of guilt, and need of a Savior — our trust in Jesus, and our love to Him — our desire to live upon Him, and our hope to live with Him.” For me, it is good in a regular and public way to declare my guilt, acknowledge my need, profess my trust, recommit my desire to live for him and proclaim that Jesus is my only hope for life with God.
Each week we observe the Lord’s Supper acknowledging that we are sinners who are saved by the work which Christ has accomplished. By walking to the front and receiving the elements, we communicate to everyone watching that we are in need of a Savior. We profess our trust in Jesus. We recommit our desire to live for Jesus. We proclaim that Jesus is our only hope.
The Apostle Paul said, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (I Corinthians 11:26). Yes, a pastor proclaims a sermon from a biblical text each Sunday morning, but all who take the Lord’s Supper are proclaimers. The older man walking back to his seat using a cane and holding the bread and the wine is proclaiming God’s grace.
The middle-aged mom and her teenage son who have gone to the front of the church are proclaiming to everyone in the room that they are believers in God’s salvation. This is probably part of what Thomas Watson meant when he called the Lord’s Supper a visible sermon.
There is both a vertical and horizontal aspect to the Lord’s Supper. With God, we are in relationship with Him because of His sacrifice for us. With our brothers and sisters in the church, we are in relationship with them because of our common belief and experience in God’s salvation.
In addition to remembering what God has done for me, it is good to do this with others. It’s a reminder to me that not only has Christ paid for my sin; He has paid for the sins of others, too.
After walking to the front of the church, I am able to look at a pastor in the eye while receiving the elements from him. When I sit down, I see other church members going back to their seats with little cups in their hands.
I love locking eyes with them as they walk, knowing that we share together in God’s common work of salvation on our behalf. It’s as if we are both silently saying, “We are in Christ together.” Sure, we may have different personalities, and we may think differently about certain philosophies and practices, but we are united in Christ.
This Sunday as each person was walking up to get elements and going back to his seat, we all sang “I believe he is the Christ, the Son of the living God” from Andrew Petersen’s The Good Confession. We were united as we all sang and visibly proclaimed that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. B&R