Monday, August 22, 2011

Immanence and Worship Part II - The Lord's Supper

Communion - outside of preaching, this is probably my favorite time in the service.  This the moment when the people of God gather around the Lord's Table to remember the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus and to show themselves publicly as the body of Christ.  To fully understand Communion, I think it is essential that we think on the immanence of God during this time.  I don't have much time to write, but here are a few brief thoughts on it, with more to come.

When Communion is being served, assuming a close communion is practiced, we see the gathering of the visible church of God.  Each baptized believer comes forward and partakes, while remembering.  What I think is amazing, is that we are coming forward as Spirit-filled believers.  Christ is present in us by the Spirit.  At this point, we are communing with Christ, who has indwelt us through the filling of the Spirit.  As we remember Christ's death, we can also know that the Spirit of Christ has filled us to the uttermost.  We are continually being filled and renewed by the Spirit.  As one tastes the bread, and as the wine hits one's lips, we are experiencing the living Christ with our senses as well as our spirit.  At what point could one true and living God be more immanent than this except by the physical presence in addition to the spiritual presence of the Lord Jesus?  In fact, I think the argument could be made that God is more immanent by the indwelling Spirit than he was while on Earth, though he is not as immanent as he will be upon his return.  So as the Spirit-filled Church gathers around the table and as we remember crucifixion of Christ, I believe we can affirm that Christ himself is immanently among us.

So, you're probably wondering now, "What does this mean to me?"  Well, the application is quite simple.  The Covenant Lord desires to be among us.  He showed this by sending Christ, and he shows us this in the present by filling us with his Spirit and giving us a time in which we can commune with Christ as the body of Christ gathered around the Lord's Table.  The spiritual presence of Christ lends a certain gravity to the ordinance, and I would venture to say that the relevance of the Lord's Supper is dependent upon the God we worship being an immanent God.