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Can We Talk About The Lord’s Supper?
I ask us to reexamine our traditions concerning the Lord’s Supper.

Indirectness and Reversal

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:9)

In the chapter titled “Singularity” the infinite difference between us and God in the above verse is bridged by noting that just as we were created to live in His universe with those heavens above us, so also we were created to know Him. He has revealed Himself both in His creation of the universe and in the Scriptures, which are the record of His revelation of Himself in His Son, Jesus Christ.

One implication of the difference between us and God is that our earthly ways of thinking tend to be wrong, we have to learn God’s way of thinking. Sometimes this means that what we think to be very important, isn’t so important to God. Or it may mean that what we want to do isn’t what God wants us to do. That also applies to the way we go about doing things, there is our way, and then there is God’s way. Often enough then, our thinking is contrary to God’s thinking. And that is just why Paul told us to put on the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5), and to renew our minds (Romans 12:2).

Examples of the difference between our thinking and God’s thinking are easy to find, especially in the New Testament. When the disciples worried about food, clothes, and a home, Jesus said,

… seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33)

This has been explained as the theology of reversal by some. Others have philosophized about the indirect approach. The practical meaning of this is that our earthly thinking tends to be wrong, and that we have to learn God’s way of thinking. What ever you want to call it is really unimportant. But this idea is valuable to meditate upon, it will condition our thinking about God, and lead us to begin to think about things the way God has shown us he wants us to.

The New Testament is full of such reversals, strength in weakness (II Corinthians 12:9); the foolishness of preaching (I Corinthians 1:18); Jesus, a precious stone yet the rock of offense (1 Peter 2:6-8); the righteous One, Jesus, made sin for us (II Corinthians 5:21 ); Jesus’ victory over death through death (Colossians 1:22). The direct statement that the first shall be last (Mark 9:35) was in answer to His disciples dispute over who would be the greatest amongst themselves. Jesus taught that the way of salvation is narrow and small (as in the NASB), or as the KJV puts it, “strait” and “narrow” (Matthew 7:13-14) and that way is through the name of Jesus,

… there is no other name under heaven by which ye must be saved … (Acts 14:12)

But that small and narrow way opens to the largest place of all where we will be truly free (John 8:36). Jesus also said that in losing our life we will find it (Luke 9:24). And not only will we find it, but we will have it abundantly (John 10:10). And speaking of abundance, giving not keeping is the surest way to true riches as it were,

Give and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For whatever measure you deal out to others, it will be dealt to you in return. (Luke 6:38 NASB).

Consider Romans 11:35,

Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?

In the overall context of talking about the Lord’s Supper and worship, the conclusion we can draw from the idea of reversal is that the surest path to a richer and more fulfilling worship experience is seeking to serve God with what He considers to be richer and more fulfilling worship to Himself, not seeking it for ourselves. We should see that worship that is intended to satisfy God, done in the way He has disposed of it to us, rather than for and by ourselves, is ultimately the most satisfactory to ourselves. We should see that the worship which satisfies God is that worship which He has devised. And we should see that though worship is what we owe to God, when we give what is due Him we reap superlative benefit to ourselves from such worship.

God’s great purpose is that Jesus Christ shall have the preeminence in all things (Colossians 1:18). As part of that purpose He is building the Church (Matthew 16:18, Ephesians 2:20-22). We are God’s building. It is as precious stones that we are to be built up in the Lord (1 Corinthians 3:9-12a), being conformed to His likeness (Romans 8:29). The value and place of the Lord’s Supper is pertinent to this by directing our attentions in worship to the mystery of our Faith: Christ died; Christ has risen; Christ will return. When our attentions are so directed, worship takes on new vitality by being focused upon Jesus, and that vitality will in turn give vitality to our lives. Plainly said, the path to the richest worship experience is the path of a close walk with the Lord in our daily lives. As Coleridge said, “Forget thyself and strive to know thy God”.

©FH 2012

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