Here at Grace Presbyterian Church we celebrate the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper every week. In light of that, it is important that you have time to prepare your heart and examine yourself before participating. Something like the following explanation will precede the sacrament each week.
The Lord’s Supper was instituted by Jesus Christ as the covenant meal of the New Testament, superseding the Passover. As in baptism, so in the Lord’s Supper, the benefits of Christ’s work are imparted to the believer as a sign and seal of His covenant faithfulness. Therefore, we believe this ceremony is more than mere memorialism. Jesus Christ is truly present spiritually.
Listen to what various reformed confessions and catechisms teach us about the Lord’s Supper:
- Belgic Confession (1561): the Lord’s Supper is a “spiritual table at which Christ communicates Himself, with all His benefits to us, and gives us there to enjoy both himself and the merits of His sufferings and death, nourishing, strengthening, and comforting our poor comfortless souls” through his body and blood (Article 35).
- Heidelberg Catechism (1563): “as bread and wine support this temporal life, so His crucified body and shed blood are the true meat and drink whereby our souls are fed to eternal life…visible signs and pledges to assure us that we are really partakers of His true body and blood (by the operation of the Holy Ghost)” (Q.79).
- Westminster Shorter Catechism (1647): Believers are “partakers of [Christ’s] body and blood, with all his benefits, to their spiritual nourishment, and growth in grace” (Q.96).
Even as we receive blessing, we also reaffirm our love for Christ. Because of this, it is required of those who participate in this meal that they be sincere, instructed, and accountable members of the church of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul warns us in the strongest terms not to participate in an “unworthy manner.” It is necessary, he says, to “judge the body rightly” (1 Cor 11:27-30).
Therefore, if you are an unbeliever, if you are an unrepentant believer, living in defiance of Christ’s commands: if you do not understand and are ignorant of the meaning of the bread and cup, or if you are not a member of Christ’s church, do not participate in this meal. We invite you instead to remain among us and use this time to ask God to speak to your heart through His word and sacrament, and give you more light and understanding.