The Thanksgiving Meal

(This devotion is day seventeen of a 30-Day Thanksgiving Challenge. Each day includes a daily reading that will be accompanied by a post on this blog.)

Read Matthew 26:26–29; Hebrews 8:6–13

The Lord’s Supper. Communion. The Eucharist. The New Covenant meal Jesus inaugurated and served up to his disciples on the night of his betrayal is called many things. Whatever terms your church tradition uses, this sacrament (or ordinance) is a visible sign and seal of the gospel. Since the church’s inception, Christian’s have regularly celebrated it together in local churches to visibly proclaim the gospel and feed on Christ.

Continue reading The Thanksgiving Meal

First We Confess, Then We Cling

(Below is a Communion Meditation I shared at my local church. This was one way to remember and rejoice in Christ through Communion, not a detailed explanation of it.)

Follow the logic of 1 John as we think about how confession of our sin should lead to clinging to our savior.

Continue reading First We Confess, Then We Cling

Communion Meditation: Rest for the Weary

(Below is a Communion Meditation I shared at my local church. This was one way to remember and rejoice in Christ through Communion, not a detailed explanation of it.)

With August upon us, it’s back-to-school time. With things launching at school and in the church, things are extra busy. The to-do list piles up even while other things get neglected, which leaves us feeling guilty or distracted. The demands of life don’t go away when things get busier. There’s still our house to clean or repair work needing done, cars to fix, bills to pay, emails to respond to, books to read, families to spend time with, relationships to invest in, friends to stay in touch with, parents and siblings to not neglect, and neighbors to reach out to.

Continue reading Communion Meditation: Rest for the Weary

Communion Meditation: Give Thanks, Remember, and Trust

(The following is a Communion meditation shared in my local church as we look forward to the Thanksgiving holiday.)

The Lord’s Supper is also called Communion or even the Eucharist. That latter term, Eucharist, comes from the greek word eucharisteo, which means “to give thanks.” In Luke 22, when Jesus instituted this meal, breaking the bread and drinking the cup, it says he did so by “giving thanks.” Since we’re less than two weeks away from what might be my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, I thought it might help us approach Communion today by considering why it’s a meal about giving thanks.

Continue reading Communion Meditation: Give Thanks, Remember, and Trust

Communion Meditation: Reason to Celebrate

(Below is a Communion Meditation I shared at my local church. This was one way to remember and rejoice in Christ through Communion, not a detailed explanation of it.)

Communion, or the Lord’s Supper, can confuse and remain unclear. And not just the tricky theological questions, but the practical ones most people in their seats have going through their minds. What should I be doing while the bread and cup are passed? Should the tone be somber or celebratory? Should I confess sin, listen to the song, sing, give thanks, or think about the death of Christ?

Continue reading Communion Meditation: Reason to Celebrate

Communion Meditation: Our Need and Christ’s Sufficiency

(This communion meditation took place in a series at our church on spiritual desperation.)

One morning this week I reflected on how God designed simple, tangible, physical things in our life to show us how needy and dependent we are. Every day I need hours of sleep. I can skip sleep or try to cheat it, but I pay the price. Every morning I wake up reminded my energy is limited, my body is weak, I’m not strong enough to just push through, and my health is in part dependent on physical rest. It’s similar with food. At least three times a day I have to eat. I get hungry and thirsty throughout the day and my body’s strength, health, and ability to work effectively and think clearly depends on food.

Continue reading Communion Meditation: Our Need and Christ’s Sufficiency

Communion Meditation: God’s Work, Not Ours

(This is a communion meditation shared at my church to prepare us together. I hope it encourages you with the gospel of grace.)

This year we’ll be thinking about the Reformation, since it’s considered the 500thanniversary. As we take communion this morning I want to prepare our hearts by sharing one thing we can learn from the Reformers like Luther and Calvin.

One emphasis among the Reformers for baptism and the lord’s supper that many of us as evangelicals miss is these ordinances are first about what God is saying to us and what God is doing to us. While we respond and remember in baptism and communion, we cannot miss that they are first God’s work and provision. We primarily receive something in communion rather than do something. The Lord’s Supper is more about the claim Christ is making on us and the gift he is offering to us than what we do for him.

In the Lord’s Supper, Jesus gives us a visible, chewable sign he has given us forgiveness and assurance through his body and blood. They give us greater confidence in God’s promises and faithfulness as we taste and touch them. The elements of bread and wine are God’s tokens, God’s visible word promising in Jesus there is redemption from our sin, shame, guilt, and bondage this morning.

That’s why when Jesus ate the first Lord’s Supper with his disciples, with both bread and wine he gave something to the disciples. At the table he was not receiving something from them as they ate but he was giving them something. He says take and eat, this is my body for you. He tells them, I am the bread of life that feeds you, and I am the Passover lamb whose body is broken so you might be whole. When he gives the cup he says, this is the blood of the new covenant for you, take and drink it.

He’s not asking them to focus on what they’ve done and see this meal as their time to do something, but it’s a time to receive something from Jesus who offers forgiveness, a covering for our guilt and shame, and life with God as our Father. The food is the gift of his faithfulness, provision, and promises not our faithfulness or devotion or activity.

My encouragement this morning is that if you’ve never said yes to God’s gift of salvation in Jesus, Christ still offers himself to you but the meal is for those who have trusted in Jesus’ sacrificial life and death as the one and only means of forgiveness and salvation. Our prayer is that even today you would receive God’s gift offered in the person of Jesus. If you are a believer, as we pass the bread and cup, take time to rehearse the gospel to yourself. What is it you bring in here today: Weariness, doubt, sin, the sense of feeling frenzied, a dry heart, guilt or shame? Jesus offers you something different through himself, so apply the gospel and find freedom and life in who Christ is for you.

 

On the night Jesus was betrayed he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to the disciples and said “take, eat, this is my body.” And he a cup the cup and gave thanks and gave it to them, saying “Drink of it, for this is my blood of the covenant which is poured for the forgiveness of sins.”

Communion Meditation: Signs & Symbols

(This post is a communion meditation shared at my own local church.)

The Lord’s Supper deals in the realm of symbols and signs. Signs and symbols are visible, tangible representations pointing us to something behind the symbol. The thing itself is a signpost reminding us of something bigger and grander than the symbol. Let me give a couple examples.

Continue reading Communion Meditation: Signs & Symbols

Communion Meditation: Contention or Communion

(This is a mediation shared with my local church to prepare our hearts for communion. I hope the gospel of grace in Jesus encourages you.)

We often call this time together “communion.” Do you ever ask yourself why we use that word? If you look up definitions for the word “communion,” it means to be united, to be one, to share intimacy together or to participate in something together. The word likely combines two Latin phrases: com, meaning “with,” and unus, which means “oneness” or “unity.” The Latin-speaking Catholic church referred to this as communion because it was with oneness or unity.

Continue reading Communion Meditation: Contention or Communion

Communion Meditation: A Shared Table

(This is a communion meditation shared at my local church. I hope it can encourage your heart with the gospel of grace in Jesus.)

When we think about Communion we often talk about who Jesus is and what he has done for us individually. In light of today’s message, we should also think about the corporate dimension we celebrate in communion. What promises does God make to us as a body when we eat and drink? What are we saying and acknowledging to one another when we partake?

Continue reading Communion Meditation: A Shared Table