Preparation for Lord's Supper 12/14
Dear Flock of Christ,
We have the unique opportunity this week to celebrate the Lord’s Supper in the midst of the Advent season. As we come to the table this coming Sunday, we will participate in and bear witness to the glorious fruit of the first Advent and the promised hope of the last Advent. The words and truths of Isaiah 53 have been encouraging and instructive to me as I have been preparing. I would like to encourage you in three things that have struck me from the chapter to help you prepare to participate in the Lord’s Supper this Sunday.
First, I encourage you to take time to meditate on the person and work of Christ who came to redeem and reconcile God’s children through his broken body under the weight of our sin and his shed blood to satisfy the just and warranted wrath of God. In light of this, consider Isaiah 53:8-10:
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? 9 And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
This offers us the ability to confess our sins and shames in preparation for the table without fear and with the full assurance of Christ’s finished and complete work on our behalf. It also provides the means by which we can truly forgive and be reconciled to others as much as it depends on us. We need to active in seeking reconciliation as Christ was active in pursuing.
Second, I encourage you to consider the peaceable and joyous result that was purchased through the body and blood which is held firm in the hand of Christ until his return to make glorify his people and make all things new. Isaiah 53:11-12 speaks to this coming reality:
11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.
We are free to come to the table in our union with Christ to receive the grace, wisdom, and strength of faith that we need to honor and glorify God our Father, because we are His sons and daughters in Christ!
Finally, I encourage you to think about and pray for those around you who you know are carrying crippling griefs and sorrows as a result of sin, guilt, shame, and the brokenness of the world. Remember, for many, the Advent season can be a very difficult time resulting in even greater burdens and hurts. This was something that our Savior understands fully and laid down his life to take away the crushing weight of grief and sorrow that burdens his people as beautifully expressed in Isaiah 53:3-6
3 He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hid their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned- every one- to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Pray that the Lord’s Supper would serve as a means of grace to those in attendance on Sunday through the pain of clear separation from God as the elements pass them by calling them to repentance and newness of life, through the sting of God’s loving discipline as their unwillingness to forgive or seek reconciliation that keeps them from the nourishing body and blood leading to confession and pursuit of restoration, or through the strengthening of their faith as they receive exactly what they needed in the power of the Spirit in the humble bread and wine.