Tag Archive for Eucharist

from Prepare Yourself for Worship

Today Is a Rehearsal

Father, today
as we gather,
as we worship,
as we feast at Your table,
we are preparing for another day.

Today only a few of us will come together.
Soon we will gather as
“a great multitude which no one could count,
from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues.” (Revelation 7:9, NASB*)

Today we gather in a small, local building.
Soon we will gather
“before the throne and before the Lamb.”
Even a vast, magnificent temple would be useless there, for
“the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.” (Revelation 21:22, NASB)

Today we few lift our
humble songs and
stumbling words of praise.
Soon heaven and earth and all creation will
reverberate with worship that
transcends all words, and
we will add our hearts and voices to theirs.

Today our sacred meal appears
small and
Soon we will feast
our body, soul, mind, and spirit,
each of us and
all of us.
We will drink deeply of the wine of life.
We will feast on the True Manna from heaven,
on our Creator’s complete provision for our entire being.
We will feast on
all Christ is and
all He has done for us.
We will celebrate
our eternal, perfect union
with You, Father,
in Christ, Your Holy Son.

Father, as we gather now
in our little time and place,
feed our hearts and
nourish our souls
with an undying hunger for that day. 

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Come, Our Lord!
Printed Music & Lyrics

from Prepare Yourself for Worship

Feed Me, Lord

Father, as You feed my body so generously and faithfully,
You long to feed my soul.
In Jesus Christ You spread a rich banquet
for my true, eternal self.

You offer me
His Spirit,
His love,
His peace and joy,
His unbroken relationship with You.
You offer me everything that my being craves,
everything I will ever need,
everything You are.

Father, as I come to Your table today,
may I come hungry,
ready to be fed with
every song
every prayer,
every word.
Feed me with
the Spirit of Christ.
Feed me with
His body and
His blood. 

Listen and sing:
Hymn: We Taste Your Life and Long for More
Printed Music & Lyrics

Feast on Jesus

God feeds His people –
We see it throughout the Bible and
throughout history.
As our Creator and Provider,
He gives us all the nourishment our bodies need.
Our original home was a garden,
rich with food.
He spread a banquet for His people
in the barren wilderness.
He fed the five thousand with more than they could eat,
all from a child’s lunch.

He cares about our physical well-being…
but, O, so much more!
He is eager to feed our complete selves,
our bodies, minds, and spirits,
not just to satisfy us for a few hours, but forever.

What is the banquet the Father spreads for His people?
The banquet He spreads is Jesus.
All God’s blessings flow to us through Him.
In Jesus He offers us all we could ever need:
His peace and joy,
His innocence before God,
His holy, unending life,
His sufficiency in every situation,
His beautiful, unbroken relationship with the Father.

Gather with God’s people and feast on Jesus.
Come feast on His Word,
His wisdom,
His Spirit,
His body broken and His blood poured out.

The feast is spread.
Come…feast on Jesus. 

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Come and Feast
Printed Music & Lyrics

How Do We Keep the Lord’s Supper Meaningful?

from the devotional book, PICTURES OF GOD

There is nothing magic about the Lord’s Supper. The eating and drinking in themselves won’t save us. They won’t draw us closer to God. They can become dry routine like anything else. How can we keep them meaningful?

  • The Lord’s Supper is a remembrance. Remember. Remember what He did, and remember He did it for you. Remember how dear was the price.
  • The Lord’s Supper is a celebration. Come joyfully! Rejoice in what He has done!
  • The Lord’s Supper is a feast. Your Banquet Host has spread a rich table of life and love for His people. Come and partake!
  • The Lord’s Supper is a means of grace. Realize how unworthy you are. Come humbly. Come seeking. Come with thanksgiving.
  • The Lord’s Supper is a foretaste, an anticipation. Look ahead to what it will be to sit down with Christ and all His people at the marriage supper of the Lamb. 
  • The Lord’s Supper is for all God’s people. Come with them, as a member of His beloved family. Be conscious of the togetherness. Enjoy His grace with His other children.

The Meaning of the Lord’s Supper

from the devotional book, PICTURES OF GOD

Read Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:17-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

Four times scripture narrates Jesus’ institution of the Lord’s Supper. Please read them all as listed above. As Jesus did this, what was He wanting us to understand? What did He want us to never forget?

  • He Himself is our deliverance, so He redefined how we celebrate our deliverance. The unleavened bread had symbolized the pressured situation in which the Passover deliverance happened. They didn’t have time for the bread to rise. That bread, broken and distributed for their strengthening, was now His own body, broken for them. The wine, with which they celebrated together, was now His own blood, His very life poured out for them.
  • Jesus was acting out the truth He had spoken in John 6: “I am the bread God has sent you from heaven. Eat my flesh and drink my blood, and you will receive eternal life” (see John 6:48-58).
  • The Lord’s Supper symbolized a new covenant. The old covenant demanded our obedience, an obedience we were too weak to give. The new covenant tells us that Christ has bought our redemption and has fulfilled the law. We must simply trust and feast on Him.
  • Remember God’s past deliverance, and it will help you anticipate its completion. You are part of the entire sweep of God’s marvelous work of salvation.
  • Some truths are too important to commit to words alone. In the Lord’s Supper we remember with all our senses. We see, hear, smell, taste, and touch.

The scene is made more poignant by remembering its highly personal nature. Jesus was there with His closest friends, with whom He had lived day and night for three years. In Luke’s account, Jesus expresses His frame of mind this way: “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer” (Luke 22:15, NASB).

John says this: Jesus knowing that His hour had come…having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end [or “to the uttermost”] (John 13:1, NASB).

Jesus had tried to communicate what was about to happen, and they couldn’t grasp it. So He acted it out for them. That first communion was not a formal ceremony. It was friend to friend and face to face.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Lord, from Your Hand
Printed Music & Lyrics

The Lord’s Supper and Passover

from the devotional book, PICTURES OF GOD

Read Exodus 12:1-28, 43-51

When Jesus initiated the Lord’s Supper, He and His disciples were celebrating Passover. To understand the Lord’s Supper, we must look briefly at Passover.

Passover memorialized God’s deliverance from the hopeless and bitter bondage of slavery into the glorious freedom of God’s chosen and blessed people.

Read the Exodus 12 account of Passover while keeping the Lord’s Supper in mind. What parallels do you see? Here are a few:

  • Both were remembrances, re-enactments of God’s salvation. God reveals Himself primarily by His actions, and some memories of His actions are too important to be entrusted to words alone. Both Passover and the Lord’s Supper were ways of physically acting out what God had done for His people.
  • The Lord’s Supper, the new Passover, is so sweeping that it makes the first Passover, which is glorious in its own right, into a mere foreshadowing of what God did for us in Christ.
  • The first Passover celebrates the defeat of the greatest power among nations, the oppressor of God’s people. The Lord’s Supper celebrates the defeat of all evil.
  • With Passover, God demonstrated His power through killing Egypt’s firstborn. With the Lord’s Supper, God demonstrated His love by offering His own firstborn.
  • Jesus invested the bread and wine, parts of the Passover meal, with a new meaning. They became symbols of His own body and His own blood. He Himself was the meal God offered.
  • Jesus became the unblemished Passover Lamb on whom God’s people feasted. It was His blood that saved them from death.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Remember Your Lord
Printed Music & Lyrics

Needing God

Sometimes we just need God. Yes, in a sense we need His gifts as well – His wisdom, His strength, His guidance, His love. But really, we just need Him.

At such times, words are just words. “Truth” is abstract, cumbersome, and irrelevant. Even Scripture seems a wearisome and indirect way of meeting our need for that moment, which is for God to just be there. Exhaustion has left us incapable of doing anything but crying out for His nearness.

Such experiences can result from a particular problem that has troubled and drained us. But often they come from vague accumulations of fatigue, uncertainty, and stress.

During these times, we learn to appreciate God’s greatest gift. This gift is not one of His blessings. It’s not a “something” He sends to us, no matter how precious. His greatest gift is Himself, given to us personally. His most profound comfort is the assurance that He is, and He is here for us, and He is purely love.

Through the sacrament of Communion, we physically remember that “redemption” and “forgiveness” are not the ultimate gifts of His plan of salvation. He Himself is the Gift. The wine is His blood. The bread is His body. The celebration, a remembrance of Him. We feed on Him, the One who gave everything – His blood, His sweat, His pain, agony, humiliation, death, and life. The Heir of all things gave all He had and all He was, not only for us, but to us as well. We feed on Him, and His very being becomes the substance and strength of our lives.

As we reach to Him from these lowest and blackest regions, we can do so with the solid confidence that He is ours and He is present. We can know that when we are incapable of doing anything else, just needing Him pleases Him. Trusting Him is the highest praise He asks. And even in the depths, we can taste the greatest joy that life here or hereafter will ever offer: the joy of loving Him, simply and personally.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Jesus, I Need Your Spirit
Printed Music & Lyrics

Communion Face-to-face

When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.”
He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” (Luke 22:14-15, 19-20, NIV)

Jesus, as one of Your disciples,
I see You standing before me.
In these Your final moments with us,
You act out what You are about to do for us.

You break the bread.
“This is My body, broken for you.
Take and eat.
As you do, remember Me.”

You take the cup.
“This is My blood, poured out for you.
Drink it,
and as you do, remember Me.”

I take the bread and the cup from Your own hand, and
I look into Your face.
You are the Bread of Life,
broken for us,
given to us.
Your life is the wine,
poured out for us,
spilled for us.

I feed on You, Lord,
and I live.
I take this,
remember You, and
give thanks.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Lord, from Your Hand
Printed Music & Lyrics

Christ Is Our Feast

In Matthew 22, Jesus told a story:

“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. And he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come. Again, he sent out other slaves saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited, “Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast.”’ 

“But they paid no attention and went their way, one to his own farm, another to his business, and the rest seized his slaves and mistreated them and killed them. But the king was enraged and he sent his armies and destroyed those murderers and set their city on fire. 

“Then he said to his slave, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.’” (vv.1-9, NIV)

Jesus’ story reminds us of what Isaiah had said many centuries before: 

Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.
(Isaiah 55:1-2, NIV)

Jesus Christ is the banquet our Father spreads for all His children.
His life,
His love,
His holiness,
His truth,
His peace,
His Spirit, and
His relationship with the Father
are the nourishment we all need and crave.

Come daily,
constantly, and
feast on Him by simple faith.
Don’t look past His provision and
spend yourself chasing what can never satisfy.
Jesus Christ is the Bread of Heaven.
He is the Water of Life.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: The Feast Is Spread
Printed Music & Lyrics

One in Christ

This is the 20th in a series of Friday posts on congregational song.

There is one body and one Spirit–just as you were called to one hope when you were called–one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (Ephesians 4:4-5, NIV)

Communion was being served at our local church. Servers stood at the head of each aisle with a plate of bread and a cup. All the church rose and filed down together, waiting to receive the elements and hear the words, “This is my body. This is my blood.”

Being on the far side of the sanctuary, I looked across and saw all those people standing together, filling the aisles–people of every shape, size, and personality imaginable–the elderly and the children, the brilliant and the mentally handicapped, every background, every life situation, every problem and struggle. Each had been personally invited by Jesus Christ, and there they were all together, coming to Him.

What a stunning picture of redemption! For each of us, Jesus has become the bread and wine of life. We have come together in Him. We are one body and one Spirit in Him. We have been lifted to one hope. We cling to one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father who is over and through and in us all.

Unity is largely unexplored territory for us. It is an undiscovered blessing. Let us pray that the Lord will burn into our hearts its possibility and its glowing promise. More and more let us see other people in Him. Let us react to them in Him and love them in Him.

Remember, this picture of redemption is just a glimpse of a day soon to come:

I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:
          “Salvation belongs to our God,
          who sits on the throne,
          and to the Lamb.”. . .
They are before the throne of God
and serve him day and night in his temple;
and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them.
Never again will they hunger;
never again will they thirst…
For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd;
he will lead them to springs of living water.
          And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
(Revelation 7:9-10, 15-17, NIV)

Listen…and sing if you want:
Hymn: See Them Come
Printed Music & Lyrics