When the pilgrims came to America, they began that wonderful tradition of “Thanksgiving.” The foods they ate were significant in that they were things of the new land—things that were native to America but unknown to Europe like turkey, corn, and pumpkin pie. As pilgrims in a strange land, they ate with gratitude in their hearts and cultivated their identity in the new world.
In a similar fashion, the church is a “pilgrim” community. She has crossed the sea of judgment in Christ, and has been granted safe passage into a new world. That world is heaven. The food of which God’s pilgrims are to eat is the heavenly manna that God provides for us in his Son. The Lord’s Supper is that meal by which Christ’s people are spiritually fed. This is a holy meal! It is part of God’s provision to sustain our souls in this world, and perhaps more importantly, it cultivates our appetite for the things of heaven. It points us to heaven above where our Savior is; where, according to Colossians 3:1-4, our life is as well.
There are many other values to the Lord’s Supper. It not only reminds us that we are in Christ, and therefore have union and communion with him as individuals, but it also reminds us that we are united to one another as well. For this reason, the Lord’s Supper should motivate us to love and serve one another just as Christ loved us and gave himself for us. We ought to strive for peace in our homes and church, and make sure that our hearts are right with the Lord and with one another before we partake of this holy meal together. What a blessing that would be to us, and what glory it would give God in his church if we took this seriously!
Some have considered the Lord’s Supper to be a hindrance to those who have not yet professed faith in Christ. Is the Lord’s Supper “seeker friendly?” This is a great question! 1 Corinthians 11:26 says, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” John Calvin called the sacrament “the word made visible.” The Lord’s Supper is a visible proclamation of the gospel. Christ’s death and resurrection (the hope of the gospel) are both seen and heard. It is true, that anyone who has not professed faith in Christ is told to abstain from the table (1 Corinthians 11:27-29), but this is a good thing. If separation from the table in church is a bad thing, how much worse shall it be for them if they remain separated from the table in heaven? The Lord’s Supper should help unbelievers realize that they are outside the church (and this is a bad thing), but that believing unto salvation and becoming a member of the church would be really good things! The Lord’s Supper is, then, both a sobering warning and a warm invitation to come to Christ.
Christians are “aliens” in this world, and the church is a “peculiar people.” The church is called to be “holy,” to go against the flow and do things that the world does not understand until the Holy Spirit helps them. At Reformation OPC, we are content to be a little strange in the eyes of the world. We do this not for the sake of being strange, but that the peculiar identity of the church and the peculiar message of the gospel might be like a light in the darkness, a city on a hill, salt and light in a world that wants us to conform it instead of being transformed by the church.
So why do we celebrate weekly communion? It is not because we believe that those who don’t are in sin. Rather, it is because we want take advantage of the means of grace that God has given us every week as we gather on the Lord’s Day. Coming to the table of the Lord is a privilege and a spiritual blessing. We invite you to come and partake with us, and to taste and see that the Lord is good!