Making the Lord's Supper Worshipful

From the Southern Union ministerial institute.

By HENRY S. PREMIER, Pastor, Daytona Beach, Florida

No church service is more important than the celebration of the Lord's supper. The Lord's sacrifice of body and blood is brought vividly, sacredly near, as the bread and wine become a part of our blood stream. No me­morial in the church calendar is more deeply spiritual. The service should have in it the so­lemnity of a funeral and the orderly arrange­ment of a formal wedding ceremony.

For fruitful returns in devotion a strong ser­mon might be preached on the Sabbath before, to lead the congregation and young people to realize  the imperative necessity that every Christian enter into the blessings of the ordi­nances and accept, in symbol, the body and blood of Christ.

To neglect to take part willfully is dangerous and may be another step toward giving up Christ. Paul said, "Not discerning the Lord's body" is the reason why "many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep." Other words that involve apostasy are the strong ex­pressions "unworthily," "guilty" and "damna­tion."

The Lord's supper should be as sacredly awe­some to the one who leads out as the services on the Day of Atonement were to the high priest of the ancient Jews. A study of his prep­aration for that ancient fast should govern the minister or local elder in his worshipful atti­tude toward the sermon-worship, ordinance of humility, and church communion.

Granted that an appropriate sermonet of fif­teen minutes has explained values and im­pressed everyone anew with the importance and meaning of the service ; and granted that the second major preliminary (ordinance of feet washing) has been carried out with poise and respect for the Holy Spirit's presence, we would then be ready for the Lord's blessing on the bread and wine, to go forward under God. This makes the celebration of the Lord's sup­per rich and worshipful decorum.

The formality followed in administering the ordinances of the Lord's house has a great deal to do in bringing in a spirit of solemnity. Very careful instruction should be given to deacons and elders as to their parts, some time previous to the service. To preserve reverence, the 'con­gregation is asked to face the emblems of the Lord's table as they kneel each time.

At our sanitarium church-centers three con­secrated, missionary doctors may be asked to assist, who will be seated behind the table. In our larger churches three local elders may be given a chance to develop. The center man would be the officiating elder. The elder on each side of the center will look after the covering cloth and assist in the breaking of the bread. It should be understood that after breaking the bread, nothing on the table should be touched. The center man alone lifts the plates and trays to pass the emblems to the elder on either side.

The same orderly arrangement is maintained in returning the trays. The deacons pass the partly empty trays to their respective officiating elder, who passes them to the center man for him to place. This order adds reverence to this highest type of worshipful service.

In our larger churches the best method fol­lowed to increase edification and to have awe­some worship at its best is to have the officiat­ing pastor stand in the sacred desk and read reverently and impressively the scripture as the service progresses. The three elders on the lower level meanwhile participate in the me­chanical part of the celebration.

If the minister himself feels the quiet work­ing of God's Holy Spirit, it will carry over to the assistant elders and to the congregation, as wondrous waves of spiritual vibration come from Him who is our own great High Priest. The great significance of the body and blood spent in behalf of our salvation then comes home to hearts in awe and new inspiration.

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By HENRY S. PREMIER, Pastor, Daytona Beach, Florida

October 1947

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