Tips for Preparing Lord’s Supper Meditations
by Jack Cottrell (Notes) on Saturday, December 26, 2009 at 4:55pm
QUERY: Can you give some suggestions on how to prepare meditations for the Lord’s Supper? I hear many meditations that somehow do not seem to relate to the subject at hand.
MY REPLY: It is important that the meditation have just ONE MAIN IDEA, and that this idea be related in some way to the CROSS or DEATH of Christ. It is also important that the meditation be brief (usually no more than four or five minutes).
In preparing meditations, we must remember the PURPOSE of the Lord’s Supper: “Do this in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19). The Supper is a “remembrance” in two senses. First, it is a MEMORIAL, an act of worship (praise, honor, thanksgiving) directed toward Jesus Christ to glorify him. Second, it is a means of REMEMBERING, an act of edification directed inward to strengthen our faith. In this latter sense, the Supper does not convey forgiveness for sins; we are justified (forgiven) 24/7 through our faith in Jesus. Rather, we should see the Supper as a weekly recharging of the batteries of our faith.
Thus the Lord’s Supper is a MEANS by which both kinds of “remembrance” take place. First, through the
Supper, our faith holds up the cross. Second, through the Supper, the cross holds up our faith.
The purpose of a meditation, then, will be either to help people to worship God and honor Jesus for dying on the cross, or to help people to renew and strengthen their own faith. To best accomplish these purposes, the TONE of the meditation should be serious, with humor being very light and fleeting, if used at all.
How does one select an idea for a meditation? One may use the passages of Scripture that speak specifically of the Lord’s Supper: Matt. 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:19-20; 1 Cor. 10:16-17; 1 Cor. 11:23-29. However, one does not have to base a meditation on one of these texts. There are three main themes that occur throughout the Bible which may guide a meditation: (1) the CROSS or death of Jesus: the fact and its meaning; (2) our own FAITH in the cross: the fact and its result; and (3) the COMMUNION SERVICE itself: its elements and actions.
Here I will give two lists of possible SUB-THEMES upon which a meditation may focus. First, here are some sub-themes regarding the cross, and our faith in the cross: the cross itself, the act of crucifixion, nails, the spear, the crown of thorns, wounds, Christ’s body, blood, Christ’s blood specifically, the power of his blood, suffering, tears, sacrifice, death, substitution, redemption, propitiation, atonement, the obedience of Christ, the resurrection, the wrath of God, the grace of God, the love of God, our love for God, sin, forgiveness, the idea of a gift, life, assurance of salvation, spiritual warfare, spiritual growth, nearness to God, Christ as High Priest, Christ as Lamb of God, Christ as bread of life, Christ as man of sorrows, Christ as Good Shepherd. Of course, when using such themes for a Lord’s Supper meditation, they should always be related in some way to Christ’s death for our sins.
Second, here are some sub-themes related to the communion service as such: communion with Christ, communion with others, the presence of Christ, the physical elements of the service (the cup, the juice, the bread), the process of eating and drinking, feasting, Sunday (the Lord’s Day), weekly observance, memory, memorials, thanksgiving, joy, confession, self-examination, sins, repentance, tears (ours), proclamation, faith, rest, OT precedents. Again, when using such themes for a meditation, one should always tie them to Christ’s death for our sins.
What are some sources for specific ideas or themes? It goes without saying that the Bible is always our primary source, both the Old Testament and the New Testament. But one should not overlook hymns and books of poems. Also, one’s experiences may be used, especially as a basis for testimony. One can also use a meditation to refute false ideas about the Supper.
Remember: whatever the specific idea, it must in the end POINT TO THE CROSS, either to honor the
Savior’s death or to strengthen personal faith.