Lord’s Day 28: United More and More

Catechism and Psalter

In our continuing series on the Heidelberg Catechism, today we turn to Lord’s Day 28.  These three questions and answers provide a thorough explanation of the second sacrament ordained by Christ in the New Testament: the Lord’s Supper.

75 Q.  How does the Lord’s Supper remind you and assure you that you share in Christ’s one sacrifice on the cross and in all his gifts?

A.  In this way:
Christ has commanded me and all believers
to eat this broken bread and to drink this cup.
With this command he gave this promise:

First,
as surely as I see with my eyes
the bread of the Lord broken for me
and the cup given to me,
so surely
his body was offered and broken for me
and his blood poured out for me
on the cross.

Second,
as surely as
I receive from the hand of him who serves,
and taste with my mouth
the bread and cup of the Lord,
given me as sure signs of Christ’s body and blood,
so surely
he nourishes and refreshes my soul for eternal life
with his crucified body and poured-out blood.

76 Q.  What does it mean to eat the crucified body of Christ and to drink his poured-out blood?

A.  It means
to accept with a believing heart
the entire suffering and death of Christ
and by believing
to receive forgiveness of sins and eternal life.

But it means more.
Through the Holy Spirit, who lives both in Christ and in us,
we are united more and more to Christ’s blessed body.
And so, although he is in heaven and we are on earth,
we are flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone.
And we forever live on and are governed by one Spirit,
as members of our body are by one soul.

77 Q.  Where does Christ promise to nourish and refresh believers with his body and blood as surely as they eat this broken bread and drink this cup?

A.  In the institution of the Lord’s supper:
[I Corinthians xi.23-26.]

This promise is repeated by Paul in these words:
[I Corinthians x.16, 17.]

Suggested Songs

58, “The Lord I Will at All Times Bless” (Psalm 34)

(Sung by Cornerstone URC in Hudsonville, MI)

“[A]s surely as I see with my eyes the bread of the Lord broken for me and the cup given to me, so surely his body was offered and broken for me and his blood poured out for me on the cross.…[A]s surely as I receive from the hand of him who serves, and taste with my mouth the bread and cup of the Lord, given me as sure signs of Christ’s body and blood, so surely he nourishes and refreshes my soul for eternal life with his crucified body and poured-out blood.”  The Lord’s Supper teaches us that Christ’s Word and Spirit continue to nourish us throughout our pilgrimages on this earth.  Not only does Psalm 34 contain the familiar words, “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good,” it also praises God for providing for the needs of his saints.

The Lord I will at all times bless,
In praise my mouth employ;
My soul shall in Jehovah boast,
The meek shall hear with joy.
O magnify the Lord with me,
Let us exalt His Name;
When in distress on Him I called,
He to my rescue came.

O taste and see that God is good
To all that seek His face;
Yea, blest the man that trusts in Him,
Confiding in His grace.
O fear the Lord, all ye His saints;
No want shall bring distress;
The lions young may pine for food,
The saints all good possess.

155, “Now to God, Our Strength and Savior” (Psalm 81)

“[T]o eat the crucified body of Christ and to drink his poured-out blood…means to accept with a believing heart the entire suffering and death of Christ and by believing to receive forgiveness of sins and eternal life.”  Psalm 81 is a unique composition because in it God speaks directly to his people.  The Lord calls attention to the stubborn sinfulness of Israel and adjures them, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.  Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.”

O My people, hear My pleadings;
O that thou wouldst hearken now;
No strange worship shalt thou offer,
Nor to idols shalt thou bow.

I am God the Lord who saved thee,
And from cruel bondage freed;
Open wide thy mouth of longing;
I will satisfy thy need.

If My people would obey Me,
Gladly walking in My ways,
Soon would I, their foes subduing,
Fill their lips with songs of praise.

Yea, with wheat the very finest
I their hunger will supply,
Bid the very rocks yield honey
That shall fully satisfy.

111, “O Lord, My God, Most Earnestly” (Psalm 63)

“Through the Holy Spirit, who lives both in Christ and in us, we are united more and more to Christ’s blessed body.  And so, although he is in heaven and we are on earth, we are flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone.  And we forever live on and are governed by one Spirit, as members of our body are by one soul.”  One of the marks of the Christian life is that the more we are united to Christ, the more we desire to be united to him and his people.  In Psalm 63 David powerfully expresses his thirst for God:

O Lord, my God, most earnestly
My heart would seek Thy face,
Within Thy holy house once more
To see Thy glorious grace.
Apart from Thee I long and thirst,
And nought can satisfy;
I wander in a desert land
Where all the streams are dry.

The lovingkindness of my God
Is more than life to me;
So I will bless Thee while I live
And lift my prayer to Thee.
In Thee my soul is satisfied,
My darkness turns to light,
And joyful meditations fill
The watches of the night.

My Savior, ‘neath Thy sheltering wings
My soul delights to dwell;
Still closer to Thy side I press,
For near Thee all is well.
My soul shall conquer every foe,
Upholden by Thy hand;
Thy people shall rejoice in God,
Thy saints in glory stand.

–MRK

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