Can I admit that I have never really “gotten” the Lord’s Supper the way I think I should? I see the picture of the Gospel, but the experience itself, never seemed to move me, encourage me, or sustain me the way it should. I have wrestled with it for a while; praying that God would help me get out of this practice more of what He put into it. The reflection below has helped me and I pray it will help you.
A Picture of Sin
When training for being stranded at sea military personnel are told repeatedly, “Do not drink the water.” If you are stranded at sea in the beating sun and thirsty, the sound of lapping water and the feel of wetness on your skin has to be tempting.
But if you drink the water, it provides initial relief followed by a more intense, salt-induced thirst. This leads to more salt water consumption. As you drink, the sodium level in your body increases making for a quicker and more painful death experience.
Often we come to sin seeking some relief from legitimate suffering. We get sinfully angry to try to correct a way we have really been wronged. We look at pornography to escape from a truly stressful day. We cheat financially because we are struggling to provide for our family. Yet in every case after the initial relief, sin intensifies the shame and isolation process that makes for a more intense experience of spiritual death.
A Counterfeit Lord’s Supper
With this picture in mind, let me offer a heretical liturgy. Take a glass of water and give it a strong dose of salt. Get a bag of salt and vinegar potato chips. These will be the “elements” of your counterfeit Lord’s Supper (when sin is your Master; John 8:34). On your cup of salt water tape a piece of paper with the names of the sins you retreat to for “relief.”
As you “take the cup,” say to yourself, “This is the cup of my sin. ‘Take and drink because I care for you and want to make your life better. I give you myself,’ sin says to me.” Drink the salt water.
As you “take the bread,” say to yourself, “This is my body available to you. ‘Take and eat. Lose yourself in me and I will protect you,’ sin says to me.” Eat the chips.
Try to sit for 30 minutes and “enjoy” what sin provides. If it becomes difficult (i.e., thirsty), return to “the table of sin” as many times as you like in this half hour. Experience all that sin has to offer. As you do so, look at the words on the cup and be reminded of whose care you are receiving.
The Real Lord’s Supper
After 30 minutes have another private ceremony. This time have a cup of grape juice and a loaf of bread. On the cup of grape juice tape a piece of paper with the words, “Jesus. Gospel. Grace.” Read Matthew 26:26-29 and I Corinthians 11:23-26.
As you take the cup, remind yourself of Jesus’ words, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
As you take the bread, remind yourself again of Jesus’ words, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
Know that you are invited to come and partake of Christ as often as you need to find the protection and sustenance you previously sought in sin. Know that the invitation is always open and His cup never runs dry. Be comforted.
As you taste the sweetness of the juice with no thirst-provoking after-effects, reflect on the superiority of Christ to anything sin offers and read John 4:1-15. As you experience the nourishment of the bread, reflect again on the superiority of Christ and read John 6:22-59.
Join the Conversation
- How did seeing sin’s alternative meal change the way you approached what is offered at the Lord’s Supper?
- How did going through the alternative meal change the way you thought about future temptations to the same sins?
- How did this exercise help you see and run to the availability of Christ during the times you normally would have sought a counterfeit comfort?
If this post was beneficial for you, then considering reading other blogs from my “Favorite Posts on Theology and Counseling” post which address other facets of this subject.