The CCEL Times 7.7 (July 2, 2012)
In This Issue:
From the Director
The Lord's Supper
It is said of eighteenth-century Anglicans that they made fun of Scottish Presbyterian reluctance to kneel by chanting "Presby, presby, dinna bend; sit ye down on 'man's chief end'." This rhyme was also a poke at the Westminster Confession's assertion that "the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever."
And yet, doesn't the desire for this 'chief end' have a profound place in every loving Christian's heart? After all, the beatific vision is to know God. Communion with God (in the broader sense) often finds its greatest fulfillment on earth in communion with God (in the narrow sense of a sacrament), and many classic writings on communion are wonderfully inspiring. I'll highlight two.Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth-- For your love is more delightful than wine.
Hudson Taylor's Union and Communion is a commentary on the Song of Solomon, starting with meditation on verse 1:2, quoted above.
C.H. Spurgeon's Till He Come is a collection of wonderful sermons on the Lord's Supper. They're well worth a read.
"United, Separated, Re-united: The Story of Baptism and the Lord's Supper"
What We're Reading
The Lord's Table
Murray's meditations provide a thoughtful guide for believers who desire to develop a deeper understanding of the Lord's Holy Supper. The devotional covers the week before, during, and after the Last Supper, and each entry is labeled with the day of the week so that readers can manage devotions with ease. Murray first explains how believers can prepare to receive God's blessing during the weeks before the Supper. Murray further encourages believers to be filled with God's love, repent of sinful deeds, and meditate on his grace. During the day of Holy Communion, we are called to pour out our hearts to Christ as he strengthens us through his body and blood, which quenches our thirst and feeds our souls. In the days after communion, Murray tenderly urges us to dwell on the redeeming power of sanctification. Murray's text is an excellent resource for those who desire to grow in their faith through Communion.
-The Christian Classics Ethereal Library
Featured Hymn"Eat This Bread, Drink This Cup" by [Taizé Community]
The first volume of Music from Taizé included mostly Latin texts; when preparing the second volume, G.I.A. president Robert J. Batastini was interested in providing more English texts as well. Working with Jacques Berthier and others of the Taizé Community in France, Batastini adapted "Eat This Bread" from John 6:35 on the morning of October 7, 1983, and Berthier composed the music that same afternoon. The volume they were working on was published in 1984.
Batastini intended the hymn for communion processionals that call for a chorus that is easily memorized and sung while people come forward for the communion bread and wine.
-The Psalter Hymnal Handbook
Read more about Hymnary
"The Feast of the Lord"
Spurgeon begins his sermon by stating, "If we do not know what [communion and baptism] mean, they certainly cannot convey to us any blessing whatever." He then proceeds to cover three main points:
1. We declare our firm belief that "Jesus, the Son of God, descended into this world and died as a sacrifice for sin upon the cross."
2. We partake of the feast. The precious blood of Jesus Christ our Saviour must be received by our faith. We must believe in him to save our souls.
3. When is this declaration of belief and partaking of communion done and by whom? Spurgeon declares that "all who come to the table" should partake, and "ought to do [so] often."
Spurgeon concludes the sermon with this, "Beloved brethren, until Jesus comes we have nothing left but to think of Him." Reading this sermon about communion is one way we can 'think of Him.'
New Online study on the Book of Mark
Registration and introductions for this online discussion group will start in August, and the actual study of Mark will begin in September. Anyone may participate in this online discussion group, and more information will be provided in the next CCEL newsletter. Visit the Study Groups page for additional information about CCEL study groups.
Cynthia, the group leader, has extended the following invitation: "Do you believe in Miracles? The Book of Mark is the gospel of Miracles. Mark records more miracles of Jesus Christ than any other gospel. Jesus proves his divinity in Mark by the demonstrations of Miracles. Jesus proves He is who He says He is: the Son of the living God. Do you need a Miracle in your life? Well, come along and join us as we open the book of Miracles."
Making the Lord's Supper Special
The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship Website has an in-depth article examining various issues related to Communion as practiced in the Reformed and Presbyterian traditions. In addition to discussing the frequency of communion and various efforts of churches to make communion special, the article provides a list of additional resources and references.
Read this article at the CICW Website
Thought for ReflectionThe Heidelberg Catechism Question #75
Question 75. How art thou admonished and assured in the Lord's Supper, that thou art a partaker of that one sacrifice of Christ, accomplished on the cross, and of all his benefits?
Answer: Thus: That Christ has commanded me and all believers, to eat of this broken bread, and to drink of this cup, in remembrance of him, adding these promises: (a) first, that his body was offered and broken on the cross for me, and his blood shed for me, as certainly as I see with my eyes, the bread of the Lord broken for me, and the cup communicated to me; and further, that he feeds and nourishes my soul to everlasting life, with his crucified body and shed blood, as assuredly as I receive from the hands of the minister, and taste with my mouth the bread and cup of the Lord, as certain signs of the body and blood of Christ.Read more of the Heidelberg Catechism