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The Lord s Supper

The Lord s Supper

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"This do in remembrance of me." i COR. xi. 24

"This do in remembrance of me." i COR. xi. 24

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jun 04, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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THE LORD S SUPPER By REV. BERARD J. SELL, M.A., B.Sc. "This do in remembrance of me." i COR. xi. 24 THERE are many Christians of great excellence of life who do not observe the Lord s Supper. The Friends abstain from the rite as savouring of super stitious veneration for the mechanical, and as detracting from the spirituality of the Religion of Christ. The Salvation Army abstain from reasons incidental to their organisation. Some in our churches refrain from the celebration, because they shrink from the appearance of an unreal profession of overmuch goodness ; others because they deem that the service has become identified with crude and unworthy ideas of sacrifice ; others seriously doubt whether our Lord meant it to be of permanent obligation ; while a great number of people, without perhaps consciously reporting it to themselves, are deterred in consequence of the former laws, which, in this country, made participation obligatory, and visited abstention with civil disability. Through sixty Christian generations has this 128 THE LORD S SUPPER Supper of our Lord been kept, through ages of changing modes and doctrines, by an unbroken line of witnesses. It is a memorial older than the oldest fragment of the ew Testament. It is an authentic guarantee of the human reality of Jesus of azareth. It is no dream that such an One lived. It is an incon testable historic fact that He stood actually among His disciples, and that from that day to this day this
has been done in remembrance of Him. It is but a symbol. But deep human feeling always finds for itself a symbol, and grows stronger for uttering itself symbolically. I admit that symbols are not essential, even though they be stamped with the signature of Christ Himself: but let no one suppose that it is a sign of immaturity to cleave to symbols, or a sign of maturity to abandon symbols. Shall human love and patriotism utter themselves in symbols, and our soul s loyalty to Christ never manifest itself in sacred form ? We are not all reason and will ; imagination and feeling count for much. I am inclined to say that if the Lord s Supper did not already exist, consecrated by the pious usages of many generations, we should be driven to invent some form to express with all solemnity our disciple- ship and fellowship. Our Lord " knew what was in man," when He touched the bread and the cup, and for ever made them symbols of Himself. That has laid hold of the heart of Christendom. The gathered THE LORD S SUPPER 129 emotions of nearly two thousand years are indis- solubly bound up in this His memorial. Let no one say that it is intrinsically unimportant We may lament as \ve may the fact that controversies innumerable have waged around this service, but the fact is itself eloquent of the importance that must be attached to it. If you have seriously read the history of your own country, you know how questions con cerning this service stood in the forefront of the Reformation struggle, how men felt that the spiritual liberties of the nation were bound up in their view of this service, how many were content to go to death in testimony of their convictions. Men saw that if
priests did actually work a miracle, " making the Body of Christ," nothing would prevent priests from becoming the tyrants of the individual conscience and of the national life. And they were right. I do not now desire to enter into that controversy ; I pass on to the immediate purpose that I have in hand, to ask, What is meant by this Service ? To His initial act Christ Himself did not give a name, but to-day so many different names are applied to it, that we shall do well to keep within the lines of the simplest Scripture nomenclature. There are two names applied to this Service in the ew Testa ment 130 THE LORD S SUPPER I. It is the Supper of the Lord, Let us try to realise the scene of that evening meal in the upper room. Our Lord had pronounced the traditional blessing, " Blessed be God, who bringeth food out of the earth and hath created the fruit of the vine." On the board were cakes of unleavened bread, a bowl of wine, and sauce in which the cakes were to be dipped. As they ate together, the Master worn with scornful foreboding, but filled with tenderness towards His own, said : " This is My body, broken for you ; this is My blood in the new Covenant." The disciples could not fail to understand His meaning, for they knew all too plainly that violent death lay just ahead for Him. The woeful pathos of His naming memorials of His death touches even a careless heart. And thenceforward they remembered Him as He

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