Midweek Reflection by Pastor Shawn:
The Lord’s Supper and Union with Christ
There is much happening when we partake in the bread and the wine—the act is rich with meaning. There’s a particular significance to the act that I’ve been ruminating on lately: our union with Christ.
Scripture repeatedly speaks of us being “in Christ” or “united with Christ”. When in faith we partake of the signs—bread and wine—, the Spirit ‘feeds’ us with the thing signified: Christ the God-man, with whom we are united.
In salvation, we are united to Christ and thus we are born again, regenerated, brought to spiritual life. In salvation, we are united to Christ and thus we are not guilty for our sin before God—we are justified. In salvation, we are united to Christ and thus we are made to be like him in sanctification—and this is increased through the grace of the Lord’s Supper. The meal is a means of sanctifying grace, one way that the Holy Spirit makes us more and more Christlike. One day, when we are resurrected and glorified, we will be fully and perfectly united to Christ—and the Lord’s Supper is a beautiful, precious foretaste of that day. Every time we partake in the bread and wine, we are ordering off the menu of the Wedding Supper of the Lamb.
In the Lord’s Supper, God the Holy Spirit strengthens our union with Christ. It is a gift from God for our nourishment. Like a caring parent, he provides for us in ways that we need and can receive. As creatures, the material bread and wine of the sacrament satisfy our true hungers. At communion on Sundays at COGS we state that “these are the gifts of God for the people of God.”
In the Lord’s Supper we focus on God’s action. Certainly we must come to the table in faith, but the big story is what God does in us with the bread and wine. This meal is for us even when our wills are weak and our faith is fickle. If I’m being frank, my faith has good days and bad days, and more bad days than I’d like to admit. But this table is for doubters, for sinners, for the weak, for the sick, for the battered, for the weary. My faith doesn’t make it what it is, but my faith does receive it for what it is. In faith I simply come to this table for healing, for holiness, and for true happiness. And when I eat and drink, all of this comes to me through union with Christ. This meal is not something we do, but is a gift of God for us.
And it’s something we do in community—the Lord’s Supper brings us out of our private rooms into the shared dining room, together. We are co-heirs at the family table of God. We dine together.