Some thoughts on this week’s “Communion Bread”

JesusCommunion-[Have you ever had a hard time knowing exactly what to think and feel about the eating of “The Bread?” Ever wonder why sometimes you just don’t seem to be in “the mood” to partake? Perhaps, you may have at some point wished that you were sitting in the back of the church so you could just slip out the door. And yes, I have too. In part, I think that the problem is that sometimes we don’t really know how to relate to the “Lord’s Table,” and also to the eating of the bread, at least not at the heart level. Yes, most of us know and understand intellectually, but sometimes it just doesn’t seem to sink in. True of course, sin can be and is often an issue. Yes again, anxieties of all sorts can figure in, including the football game right after church service. But I think that all of these issues may well relate back to just one thing; that we have, for whatever reason, lost our perspective.

The following story really “brought it home” for me and made me realize just how precious a gift this “bread of life” was and is, and also how hungry I really am for it; more than I could possibly realize. –MWP]

In February of 1871 a young French soldier lay as if dying in a hospital of Geneva. Cold, misery, and privation had destroyed the robust constitution; but worst of all was the heart-sickness, the longing for home.

Far away in his native village in Brittany was an old father over seventy, a mother, and a sister. Three brothers beside himself had left their paternal roof to defend their fatherland, and for months he had been in uncertainty as to the fate of these loved ones.

As he lay on what he thought would prove his deathbed he told a comrade that he would dearly like to see his old father once more. A letter was written, which found the family in great anxiety about their absent ones. The father, in spite of his seventy years, started at once. Many difficulties had to be overcome by the old man.
The father arrived at length in Geneva, and hastened to his son. “O, father!” said the sick soldier, “it is good you are come before I die.” “Ah, no; you must not die,” said the old man; “your mother is waiting for you at home. Courage, my lad; I have brought money, and will buy everything you need; only you must not die.” “It’s of no use, father,” cried the son, “I have here all I need; but I am not hungry. All sorts of good things are brought to tempt me to eat, but I cannot touch them;” and he fell back exhausted by this short conversation.

The poor father let fall his head on his breast quite disheartened. Had he indeed come so far only to take back the dead body of his son? All at once a bright thought flashed through his mind; he drew from his knapsack one of the common loaves of rye bread such as eaten by the peasants of Brittany. “Here, my son, take this; it was made by your mother.”

The sick lad turned his heavy eyes, stretched out his hand eagerly, crying, “Give it to me, father; I AM hungry!” As he ate his eye lighted up, the blood came back to his cheeks, and large tears rolled down his cheeks as he said, “It is so good! It is SO good! –The bread from my home!”

From that time he began to recover; and fifteen days later he was able to start on the homeward journey.

Jesus said, I am the bread of Life!

Think of it, like the young French lad, we are on the battlefield of life. Spiritually shot, wounded in sin, weak with a hunger we don’t understand, thirsting desperately for the water of  life, we sit each week at church, not really partaking fully in the worship of God, just sitting there…We are expecting to die…we really see no future, we have no concept of our calling, and our home, our true home is not even a distant thought. Then something inside of us stirs and we think, “oh how wonderful it would be to just see home, our real home.” “How wonderful,” we think, “it would be to see and feel comforted by our Father, our Heavenly Father.” And then by the great work of the Holy Spirit, we somehow find ourselves partaking of the “spiritual bread of life,” namely; Jesus.  And we realize that this is what we were missing. This is what was absent all along. Our perspective comes back, our sins are pushed away, and we hold on to this “bread of life” with everything that we have. We are desperate for it.  But, you know what the good news is?  The good news is that He is holding on to us with a grip that is far tighter than the one we hold on to him. He will never let you go! “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me,” Jesus says, “and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.” John 6:37 

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. -John 6:35

Come on! Don’t you think that its time to start our journey home?

The “Soldier’s Story” was taken from the Swiss Almanac (1884).

This Do in Remembrance of Me: My Own Private Thoughts When Approaching The Lord’s Supper

At the time of receiving…

lords_supper-1024x484Lord, I am here to remember your completed sacrifice against my sin, and to remember your grace against my corruption, and your love against my fears.

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I believe your word; I remember your command; I adore your goodness; I wait for your redemption. Thank you for effecting your completed sacrifice on the cross and making it the seal of mercy, and the conveyance of life to me. O Lord Jesus, come into my heart.

I look to You for mercy and strength to keep mercy. I profess my faith in Christ, that I have pardon and peace with God, life and righteousness only by his death and merits; and to own my obligation to live unto him that died for me, in faith, love, and self-dedication. I look for Christ’s love and likeness; for the benefit and for the efficacy of the cross; to have the load of sin taken from my heart; and any other load, which Christ thinks fit, laid upon my back.

I look to You to help me leave sin behind me, and to receive Christ instead of it; and if I do the one, having laid my sins on Christ, with a will to forsake them, I am sure of the other.  Lord, grant me the peace, and all that comes with it, as well as love, patience, resignation, thankfulness, deliverance from the fear of death, and a hearty longing for eternity, I look to the cross for the pardon of sin, for the kindling of love, for the turning of my heart, for the renewal of my will.

I look to You, not to give, but to receive; not to tell you how good I am, but to think how good you are. I have a great many sins and wants to tell you Lord, more than would take up the whole day; and when I have told you all that I know of in myself, it is not the half, but a very little of what you know about me. I bring myself and my sin to you, believing that you will be all to me, and do all for me that is in your heart.

I go as a Sinner to a Saviour. To whom else should I go, with my blind eyes, foul leprosy, hard heart, and rebellious will? You tell me what I must have, I know not how many graces I need; but I cannot stay for them; my wants are urgent; I am a dying man. My Lord, with your own kindness, you say, “come; do this; remember me.” Your invitation is qualification enough for me to participate today; and I long to feed on you, to thank you, to take you into my heart. I will  behold you crucified, and your blood poured out for me, in spite of all my sins and fears; and though all the saints on earth stood up with one mouth to forbid me, I go to put myself under your wings, and to fly to you for refuge from the monster sin, ready to devour me.

I look to the Cross to know You and myself; to wonder at the reconciliation of strict punishment with free pardon; to see the greatness of my sin, and the greatness of my hope, in the greatness of the sacrifice therein represented; to sin no more, because I believe there is no condemnation for my sin; to be raised as high as heaven, and humbled in the dust; to be astonished at the mystery of Christ crucified, and to profess that I know less of God than ever.

Let me be daily thinking of the cross, daily in a state of thankfulness for it, daily living under it, resolving to receiving you in faith and humility, daily learning of your sacrifice of  love and undeserved mercy, making your love and life my pattern, and dreading the sin which could be expiated with no less a sacrifice.

“Do this in remembrance of me;” –I remember who I am, and what thou are; I will remember you as my Saviour; I will remember you as my Master; I will remember your love; I will remember you as hating my sin; I will remember you as bearing my sin; I will remember you and fear not; help me to remember you and sin not; help me to remember you, to live for you, by you, and through you.

Now knowing, and assuredly believing, the promises of God made over to me for the forgiveness of my sins, through faith in the blood of Christ;

I do from a detestation of my sinfulness, and a hearty sense of my want of pardoning grace, accept once again, your covenant of rest and peace: Trusting in you for the accomplishment of my whole salvation, in the way of gospel holiness, by your Spirit; and resolving without delay to put myself into your hands for that purpose. May you keep me steadfast in this faith and engagement, and carry me on from strength to strength that I may be one with you, my Saviour, and I live for you, and I love you with all my heart, and with all my soul.  

Amen.