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Preparing for the Feast

By August 27, 2017 3 Comments
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by Chris Jacobsen

Today I’m continuing a sermon series on the sacraments, beginning a two-week focus on the Lord’s Supper. In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul warns his readers not to eat the Lord’s Supper “in an unworthy manner,” lest they bring judgement down on themselves.

I have a confession to make: sometimes when I celebrate the supper, I do so in an unworthy manner. I have been in conflict with someone and have failed to work it out prior to dining. I have left some sin unconfessed, too embarrassed to even tell God what it is I have done. I have eaten the bread and drank of the cup, knowing full well that there were those who did not feel
welcome.

That is why I am thankful for the Reformed Church in America’s liturgy of preparation: the Preparatory Service before the Celebration of the Lord’s Supper. It is a reminder that part of being in communion with God is working hard to be in communion with my fellow Christian. I know I don’t do it perfectly, and that is why I’m thankful for the amazing grace of God. Because even though I always come to the table unworthily, Christ bids me come to the table anyway.

Today, we’re not celebrating the Supper. May the Holy Spirit prepare my heart this week (and yours too!), so that when we come to the table, we come in peace, demonstrating the love of God and love for one another. Amen.

Chris Jacobsen pastors Abundant Life Reformed Church in Wyckoff, New Jersey.

3 Comments

  • Fred Mueller says:

    Yes, Chris! If only the worthy were allowed to come to the Table, the chairs would all be empty. Consider the institution meal. The disciples all sat there at the Last Supper, then deserted Jesus, running away. Do we do that? Do we dine with him then abandon him when we leave the hallowed hall? He said, “Remember me.” We do that. We remember him. He takes it from there. Thanks be to God!

  • Marjorie A Vander Wagen says:

    Hallelujah! In the consistory meetings we are asked: “Have the elements been profaned?” My thought is there are two ways to “profane” the elements: to whom they are served and how they are served. In my opinion I am not to judge to whom they are served. That is God’s job. My job is to serve the elements properly and in decent order. Preparation for communion is essential to receive the elements in communion, remembrance and hope. My heart grieves when the communion liturgy is abbreviated to just “On the night he was betrayed…” The Lord’s Prayer and Apostles’ Creed are omitted. Each communion service is a celebration of the gospel that Jesus gave his life for us so that we can have communion with him. We should not assume that every person sitting in the pews that morning knows the whole story. This may be our only chance to present the good news that in participating with bread and wine all are included in God’s kingdom. Thank you for your message.

  • Don Prange says:

    The Church – especially in its sacramentalist traditions – has been observing this metaphorical meal in an ‘unworthy’ manner for centuries and on into the present whenever it celebrates this memorial meal and remembers the death of Jesus as a mediating sacrifice for the sins of the world… emphasizing a death FOR US as opposed to Jesus’ own invitation for us to be in communion with him in a death WITH HIM in resisting injustice and oppression in whatever forms they take in economic, social and political conexts.

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