It takes only a few minutes. It is so easy to do a child could do it. It costs no money to be involved in. Despite all of this, it may well be the most important activity any Christian does. It is, of course, the Lord?s Supper.
<p> This special issue of Abundant Life is dedicated to examining the key issues and ideas surrounding the Supper. While taking the Supper is marvelously simple (who can t eat unleavened bread and drink grape juice?), it is at one and the same time a powerfully complex act of worship. Our minds are called to their most vigorous action and thought during the simple physical acts of eating. Further, there are always cautions about innovations and departures from the New Testament pattern of taking the Supper. We have to know when to do it, how to do it, and what to engage our minds in as we are eating this bread and drinking this cup. It is a challenge, isn t it? </p> <p> Some of that challenge may come because we partake of the Supper every seven days. I am not moved by the argument that participating in the Supper once a year would make it more special. Our interest should be in observing it as often as Scripture instructs and making every one of those observances special to the Lord. However, there is no question that repetition can lead to familiarity and familiarity to mindlessness. Most of us probably have a story about the first time we took the Supper and how overwhelming it seemed to be. You may remember other observances - perhaps the Table Talk was particularly memorable or the song sung before hand very poignant. But by and large, our Supper observances can easily join a long chain of fairly routine acts of worship drifting into the oblivion of the past. Frightening isn t it? To say that remembering Jesus? death could become routine should terrify us. There was nothing routine about Calvary for Jesus; therefore, I need to make certain that I put forth the effort necessary to make every observance of the Supper truly meaningful to me. </p> <p> Personal responsibility thus becomes another challenge to our Supper observance. Note the last sentence of the paragraph above again: I need to make certain that I put forth the effort necessary to make every observance of the Supper truly meaningful to me. We live in a time when increasingly we abdicate responsibility to others. People talk easily of how the government failed them or the schools aren t getting it done or the church didn t get me in the mood to worship. Haven t you heard I just don t get much out of worship as if there is something defective about their worship? Yet the Supper remains a distinctively personal and individual action. I think about Jesus. I meditate on Calvary. I consider the return of Christ and how He would find me. I look at my life and see what changes need to be made. I am sorry. I rejoice. The Supper is something I must do. Certainly the right song beforehand helps me get ready. A well read and explained Scripture is valuable as well. Finally, however, it is up to me. Either I get my mind on what it needs to be focused on or I fail. No one else failed for me. I failed to worship. </p> <p> Thus, taking the Supper is a challenge. The stakes are very high: For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died (1 Cor 11:28-31). Spiritual sickness and even spiritual death await those who don t take the Supper seriously. </p> <p> This issue is designed to help us rise to that challenge. Don t miss J.W. McGarvey?s fine piece on the weekly observance of the Supper (page 2). It is taken directly from his commentary, which was written in the late 1800?s. Like many things from that time it is solid gold, and it will help you the next time someone says why do we have to take the Supper every week? Phil Roberts? piece on the facing page explores the rich meanings of the Supper. Phil is gone now, but his life lives on in his writing. Pages four and five contain some very practical admonitions about our worship. T.D. Roberts? article on meditating on paradoxes is superb, and young mothers will especially enjoy Ed Whittlesey?s article written just for them. May this issue of Abundant Life help us to observe the Supper in a way that honors our Lord Jesus Christ and re-fortifies our own Christianity. </p>