Friday, June 19, 2009

6/20- Lord's Supper as Communion

Devotional using scripture, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth.

6/20- Lord’s Supper as Communion of Saints

17 In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. 18 In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. 19 No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God's approval. 20 So then, when you come together, it is not the Lord's Supper you eat, 21 for when you are eating, some of you go ahead with your own private suppers. As a result, one person remains hungry and another gets drunk. 22 Don't you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God by humiliating those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? Certainly not in this matter! (I Cor. 11:17-22)

CALVIN: Godly souls can gather great assurance and delight from this Sacrament; in it they have a witness of our growth into one body with Christ such that whatever is his may be called ours. As a consequence, we may dare assure ourselves that eternal life, of which he is the heir, is ours; and that the Kingdom of Heaven, into which he has already entered, can no more be cut off from us than from him; again, that we cannot be condemned for our sins, from whose guilt he has absolved us, since he willed to take them upon himself as if they were his own. This is the wonderful exchange which, out of his measureless benevolence, he has made with us; that, becoming Son of man with us, he has made us sons of God with him; that, by his descent to earth, he has prepared an ascent to heaven for us; that, by taking on our mortality, he has conferred his immortality upon us; that, accepting our weakness, he has strengthened us by his power; that, receiving our poverty unto himself, he has transferred his wealth to us; that, taking the weight of our iniquity upon himself (which oppressed us), he has clothed us with his righteousness(IV.17.2)

Union with Christ is a special benefit of this supper. We recognize this in that Reformed Calvinists have called this supper “communion.” We grow closer to the spiritual presence of Christ in the Supper, and grow closer to other believers as we partake of the same loaf and cup (at the least symbolically). The Lord’s Supper is a symbol of our adoption. It is open only to the children of God who believe. Those who do not believe eat and drink judgment on themselves. The children gather at the Father’s table, and the chief son blesses the food. We are nourished physically, but more importantly spiritually here. We, broken people, are united by the breaking of the bread- a symbol of His broken body. We, poured out and exhausted people, are strengthened and healed by the poured out cup- symbol of his poured out blood.

Prayer: Father, thank you for the gift of the Lord’s Supper. May we anticipate it, as hungry people anticipate food. May we long to be nourished in our soul by you, being made one with you.

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