Reflections on Communion

May 18, 2017

 

During our cross country drive to a family reunion last summer, we traveled through the valleys and backwoods of Pennsylvania on a Friday afternoon. As I glanced at the foliage surrounding us, I found myself meditating on the wonderous purposes and plans of the most high and triune God. The nineteenth Psalm, where the robustly speaks about God’s glorious order within creation:
 

The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
(2) Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
(3) There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
(4) Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun,
(5) which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
(6) Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them,
and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
(7) The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
making wise the simple;
(8) the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
(9) the fear of the Lord is clean,
enduring forever;
the rules of the Lord are true,
and righteous altogether.
(10) More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
(11) Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
(12) Who can discern his errors?
Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
(13) Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;
let them not have dominion over me!
Then I shall be blameless,
and innocent of great transgression.
(14) Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

 

Every blade of grass, every crevice and cranny in the hills that my wife, daughter, and I glided upon serve as a counterpart in the created order (Psalm 19:1-4) and synonymously give esteem to God’s Word (Psalm 19:7-11). We can see from Psalm 19 that God not only speaks with unmovable license, but decrees and ordains by His literal speech. All that said, we now have a clear picture of God being a God of order and faithfulness.

 

On our drive to Pennsylvania, I had the opportunity to listen to a Sinclair Ferguson’s sermon titled, Is There Anything for Supper? Had I not been driving, I would have taken notes to explain in greater detail what Dr. Ferguson had said in his sermon, so I’ll paraphrase the general point of his message. Dr. Ferguson emphasized a profound truth regarding the sacrament of communion: not only did Jesus signify that His disciples would be eating in remembrance of His death (Luke 22:19), Jesus was conjointly emphasizing that He was giving Himself for His people. His friends (Luke 22:20). As we enter into the New Covenant, we are grafted into the righteousness of the Son, and the wrath of the Father is satisfied. We are forever Jesus’ comrades, now redeemed from sin and death (John 15:15). Here are three reasons why communion beautifully ties into what Psalm 19 talks about.

 

  1. It shows that God is glorified in order and arrangement
    When we look at how deep-seated the practice of communion is, we see that the Lord always purposely arrays everything for a necessary purpose (Ecclesiastes 3:1).

     

  2. It displays the authority of Christ
    Jesus wasn’t simply throwing a pre-death dinner party, nor feeling sorry for Himself in installing the practice of eating at His table. He was proclaiming that in Him is the final, ultimate, intimate, and true friendship in all eternity. He was informing His people that they didn’t need to feel sorry for Him, but to take heed to His commands, for in them there is life.

     

  3. It confirms the necessity of the sinners' justification
    The breaking of bread and the pouring of wine epitomizes that we don’t live on bread alone (Matthew 4:4). John 6, particularly in verses 53-58, the God-man, Jesus, lays out the cards in verse 58 by telling us that “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” We can only have authentic viability if Jesus is the sustenance of which we consume and meditate upon daily.
    Communion is a practice that should be observed with great reverence and awe.


May meditating on the practice of communion gives us a heartfelt, weighty sense of conviction before we engage in our meals. Jesus is not only Lord of our hearts, but Lord over what we consume.

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