Andrew W. Blackwood suggests that the Lord’s Supper is an act with ten different meanings (from his The Fine Art of Public Worship, chp. 12):
- It is a memorial of Christ’s redeeming grace: “This do in remembrance of Me.” Like the Passover out of which it grew, the Christian Supper teaches us to look back upon the meaning of our redemption.
- It is a symbol of Christ’s death for us sinners: “This is my body, which is broken for you.”
- It is our mightiest means of grace. Grace is the sum of all that we know about God. It is the attraction of his goodness, supremely in the cross. The prayer, public worship, and the Lord’s Supper.
- It is a thanksgiving feast. Such is the literal meaning of that stately title. the Eucharist. In the Greek the original word means thanksgiving.
- It is likewise a family meal. As such, it has among Christians the place which the Passover filled in the religious experience of the ancient Hebrews. The Passover was preeminently a family meal.
- This family meal is at the same time the Holy Communion with the Church of all the ages, on earth, and in glory. This is no small part of what we mean when we stand to say in the Apostle’s Creed, “I believe … in the holy communion of saints.” The word “communion” literally refers to that which we have in common. Another word which means almost the same as communion is fellowship.
- It is likewise a Sacrament. Theologically the word sacrament means an outward and visible sign of God’s inward and spiritual grace.
- The Sacrament is also a Covenant of Grace: “This cup of the New Covenant in my blood …”
- There is a sermon in the Supper, the most powerful and moving sermon in the history of the church: “Ye do show the Lord’s death till He come.” The verb translated “show” literally means to preach.
- The Lord’s Supper is a symbol of Christian hope: “… till He comes.”
© 2013, Rick Hogaboam. All rights reserved.