In his recent book Without Flesh, Reverend Jonathan Fisk makes the following observations about the Lord’s Supper:
“Wherever Christianity is found, in all its forms and varieties, with the exception only of those denominations that also deny the Trinity, all who remain committed to Jesus as the one true God also continue to take as institutional His exhortation to religiously repeat His words as well as to do them. Better yet, regardless of your tradition or private approach, when this taking and eating occurs, it’s always considered one of the highest moments in Christian worship and devotion.”
Later Fisk adds, “The Church of Jesus Christ existed for decades without New Testament Scriptures, but we did not exist for a single week without the New Testament of Jesus’ Holy Supper.”
Also known as the Breaking of Bread, Holy Communion, and the Eucharist the Lord’s Supper is a simple meal where bread and wine are blessed by the words of Jesus, distributed and consumed all in the context of Scriptural prayers and songs.
Since the Lord’s Supper is designed to be an in-person event complete with a presiding minister and one’s fellow believers, partaking of this Sacrament during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenge. Some believers have found ways to continue to receive the Lord’s Supper. Others, especially those with health concerns, have chosen to forego the Sacrament and focus on other acts of Christian devotion. Whatever the case, one thing is certain; the Lord’s Supper will continue to be celebrated until the Lord Jesus returns.
Speaking of the Lord’s return, Scripture teaches that when Jesus returns to take us to heaven it will initiate a sumptuous, heavenly feast. The simple Supper of the Lord that we celebrate now anticipates the glorious, eternal feast we will enjoy in heaven.
Based on what the Apostle Paul says in I Corinthians 11:27-29, some Christian denominations maintain that the Church and its ministers, guided by Scripture, must limit those who are allowed to partake of the Sacrament. This has led to times when people have been turned away from the Lord’s Supper. As one would expect, this is not a popular approach.
Reverend Fisk also deals at length with another question that has lead to division on the Lord’s Supper; is Jesus truly, physically present in the Lord’s Supper or is he present only symbolically? Do we take the words that Jesus used when he instituted the Sacrament at face value or, since our human minds cannot comprehend how Jesus can be physically present in the Sacrament, are we going to deny his real presence in the Sacrament?
It’s hard for me to believe that this blessed Sacrament would have had such uninterrupted prominence in the Church if it was only ever considered a symbolic act. And, as Reverend Fisk points out, there would hardly be anything left of what Jesus said or did if it all had to makes sense to our human reason.
The Lord’s Supper is a celebration that can never die and one of the pinnacles of Christian worship. In the most profound way imaginable it memorializes the New Testament of God’s grace purchased and won for us by Jesus, the beloved Son of God. Whether you have continued to receive the Sacrament throughout the pandemic, have stayed away due to health concerns or have never heard of or received this sacrament, be assured that Jesus wants to bless you with his presence in this holy meal.