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April 14, 2009 / beidson

We Are Not All Preachers, But We Are: The Lord’s Supper As Proclamation For The Church

I was glad to observe the Lord’s Supper this past Sunday in our church as part of our Easter celebration.  There could not have lords-supper1been a clearer picture of our intentions for gathering.  Everything was pointing toward a resurrected Messiah, the Man, Jesus of Nazareth.  And yet while we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus almost 2,000 years ago, our hearts and minds were set on the hope we have of his imminent return, when he will come again to receive us to himself.  Sunday was about the past, sure, but really, Sunday was about the future.

As we took the Supper, I was glad to be around those with whom I know the Lord.  They were my brothers and sisters, my fathers and mothers, and together we were remembering the body and blood of our crucified Christ.  But the Supper is not merely an exercise in memory, as if death were the end of Jesus, so that we may only remember him.  The Scriptures tell us that as often as we eat the bread and drink the cup, we proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.  The Lord’s Supper is a sermon about the Last Day, about the end of the ages, about a resurrection to death and to life.  It is about judgment and salvation.  The Last Supper was about a New Supper, when all of us who have the blood sprinkled on our hearts will sit down to dine with the Lamb who was slain before the table was ever set.

And even though we were silent while we took the bread and cup, make no mistake, we were preaching.  There is a message in the meal.  Either we are a room full of fools rejoicing over a dead man’s broken body, or we are new creatures who are longing to see their Creator in the flesh.  For now, we know in part, but a day will come when we will know Christ fully, just as we are known.  It is to this day that we direct our attention when we swallow the elements.  There is more to taking the Supper than remembering Christ, though we certainly do this.  Together, we are proclaiming the Lord’s death as sufficient for the sins of the world.  We must preach this message, and so, we must take of this meal.  Jesus died, yes, and it is enough, but he is on his way even now, and this is why we eat.

There were two clear messages delivered on Sunday morning: one by our pastor and the other by 1,200 people all preaching at the same time.  No, they weren’t speaking in tongues, though they were speaking,   And no, we do not have that many preachers in our church; we only have a handful of men on staff.  There were even a few children who participated.  And what happened was not chaotic; in fact, it was the essence of unity.  As we took the Supper together, together we preached the gospel and proclaimed the Lord’s death.  And we will always do this, until the day he returns to save and judge those who have loved and hated his death.  We were a body gathered around a table.  We were preaching a message with our mouths full.

Few men are called to preach for a living, but all believers are called to proclaim the gospel by their living and dying.  We are not all preachers, but then again, we are.  Not as individuals, but collectively, as an eschatological community, whose flesh is one and whose Head is one.  Everyone at the table knows the Lamb has been sacrificed for us, and so we partake of his body and blood with sorrow and joy.  But the Lamb will dine with us soon, and so we eat to remember, but we eat to proclaim as well, Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

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