The Paper Pulpit

Observing the Lord’s Memorial properly
Sep. 22, 2013 @ 04:58 AM

The ability to see things in proper perspective is a gift that multitudes of people in today’s world do not have. Those who lack a proper sense of proportion will likely be unable to distinguish between that which is important and that which is unimportant, and between that which is real and that which is unreal.

How often friendships are ended, marriages are shattered, and churches are divided by insignificant trifles! Chaos is created in relationships primarily because those involved are either unwilling or unable to entertain any point of view other than their own.

There is only one way we will ever be able to live life with fullness and joy — we must learn to see everything from God’s perspective and in the light of eternity. It is only through the study of God’s Word and genuine worship that we can learn to do that.

Alan Walker, in Everybody’s Calvary, tells of a young minister in a small English village church. He had invited his congregation to wait after the service for a celebration of the Lord’s Supper. Only two people waited. He thought of cancelling the service, but decided reluctantly to continue with it.

As he read the words based on Scripture found in the liturgy of many churches when they celebrate the Lord’s Supper, he came to this passage: “Therefore with angels and archangels and all the company of heaven,” he suddenly stopped. The wonder of what he had read grabbed hold of his imagination.

“Angels and archangels and all the company of heaven ...” he said over again in his mind. “God forgive me,” he said in silent prayer, “I had never realized before that I was in such great company every time I share the bread and cup as a way of remembering Christ’s sacrifice for us on the cross.”

Christian bodies around the world celebrate in different ways the meal that Christ instituted with His disciples on the night before He was crucified. Some celebrate it every Sunday, while others celebrate it every three months plus on special occasions.

Christians even debate the importance of the way they celebrate it as over against the way other Christian bodies celebrate it. To some it is a sacrament; to others the bread and cup are symbolic, but no less spiritually meaningful. By arguing over the different ways the Lord’s Supper is celebrated it is easy to miss the meaning of Christ’s words, “As you take this cup and this bread, remember me.”

One of the most meaningful observances of the Lord’s Supper in which I have participated was in a nursing home here in Wilmington during the 1970s. Residents of the facility sat in their wheelchairs in rows, waiting for me to complete my devotional comments so that the bread and cup could be distributed among them. As the cup was being passed among the wheelchairs I observed two ladies sitting next to each other who had tears running down their cheeks. One was a Caucasian Episcopalian; the other was an African American member of an evangelical church in the city.

Confined in a nursing home that provided excellent medical care, it had possibly been a few years since either of them had had the opportunity to celebrate the Lord’s Supper. There were many differences between these two ladies — educational, economic, cultural, the color of their skin, and perhaps many others. But as they took the bread and cup they were “one in Christ.” I still get choked up thinking about that day.

The next time you celebrate the Lord’s Supper, ask God to help you see it in the light of the Cross and the Empty Tomb. Be aware of the fact that you are not just among fellow Christians, but that you are also in the presence of “angels and archangels and all the company of heaven”. Experience the thrill that comes from realizing that fact — even though there may be only two other people present.

What a tremendous difference it makes when you have a proper perspective!

The Rev. D.E. Parkerson is retired pastor of First Baptist Church of Sanford.