7 July 2022 Anno Domini
the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.” (Psalms 23:5-6; all scripture quoted is form the king James Version)
Our Lord seldom received the same hospitable consideration that He offers to His elect. The Table has already been set and furnished with cup and bread. Moreover, He has anointed our heads with oil after the example of the woman who did the same in Luke 7. Our blessings at the Lord’s Table are profuse – our cups run over with them. In the Reformation faith, the Church has no Altar. What need of an Altar when the Sacrifice has already been made once-and-for-all time by our Lord Jesus Christ. An altar is made for sacrifice, but we need no other sacrifice for our sins than that of a broken and contrite heart. As David prayed in the Wilderness, so must we pray: “For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” (Psalms 51:16-17)
The sacrifice for sin has already been made. No need for a priestly offering or intercession –
“For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.” (Hebrews 7:25-28)
So, we come to the Table of the Lord, and the King of Kings, in humility and love. How could we come otherwise for such a mighty Sovereign willing to die for us and in our stead? The Lord’s Table of the Holy Communion is merely a shadow and type of that at which we shall one time gather in joy and mutual love. It will be the great Marriage supper of the Lamb; but we have our Lord’s Table to attend here in this life as an earnest of our faith. We observe the Lord’s Supper aware of His real Spiritual Presence. We partake of the wine, symbolizing His blood shed for us; and of the bread, made from many grains of wheat and crushed like His body was broken for us. The bread is consumed as we consume His Word – for He is the word made flesh for us.
Unlike the good Pharisee, Nicodemus, who came at first under cover of darkness, the Lord feeds us openly before our surrounding enemies (in the presence of mine enemies). The goodness and mercy that follows us is not of our own making, but of His Hand working in and through us for good. We follow in weakness, but in faith, the Good Shepherd that knows the way and is able to save the straggler.
Just as the father of the prodigal prepared the fatted calf for his delinquent son, so does our Father prepare the fat and delicacies of His Table for us. This Holy service is accented by manna of His grace, “And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.” (Deuteronomy 8:3), the MILK of His Word “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.” (1 Peter 2:2), the WINE of His joy, “Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works. Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no ointment.” (Ecclesiastes 9:6-8) His judgments are a terror to the unrighteous, but a blessing to the Elect much like Honey from the comb (More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb) Psalms 19:10 (KJV),
There are two main components in our sustenance of the Life in the Spirit and these are, daily and prayerful meditation in the truth of His inerrant Word, in order to understand it, and application of the truth in our lives, so that we may practice it.
In observing the Truth of God’s Word, as seen through that Prism of Love, we may then be assured of that last promise in our introductory text: “I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.” We have even begun that dwelling here in this world and in the Temple of our Hearts of which He is the Sovereign.