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Monday, May 10, 2021

All Else Surpassing

By Adam Faughn

    There are a dozen or so different hymns we typically sing in preparation for the Lord's Supper. Sometimes, due to familiarity with the hymns, we may struggle to concentrate on the words, but we should always strive to concentrate on them, as these songs are meant to help us focus on an essential portion of our worship.
    One of those songs is called "When We Meet in Sweet Communion" (in some songbooks, it is entitled "The Lord's Supper") by Tillit S. Teddlie. Each line of the song is powerful, but there is one line  that often makes me think   a   great   deal.   It   is   the opening portion of the chorus, in   which   we   sing,   "precious feast, all else surpassing." As with   many   poetic   lines,   the meaning of this could be taken a couple of different ways, but it seems to me we are singing the truth that this feast –the Lord's Supper –is greater than any other meal we could ever eat.
    While the list of reasons why that is true could go on and on, here are five reasons why these few moments should mean so much to us; more than any other meal.
1.  Connection with the Savior. When instituting this meal, Jesus   stated   that   He   would "drink it new" with His followers in    the    Kingdom    (Matthew 26:29).   Considering   that   the kingdom and the Church are synonymous   (Matthew   16:16-19), each  time we partake of this meal, Jesus is right there with us. We are connected with Him through our obedient faith as we remember what He has done.
2.  Memory of the Cross. Famously, Jesus stated that the Lord's Supper was to be done in remembrance of Him (Luke 22:19). Each of the emblems is meant to take our minds back to the cross; the bread  representing His body and the fruit of the vine representing  His blood. Each time we eat this feast, it should be a powerful time of remembering the totality of all that happened for our salvation at Calvary. In no other act of worship are all our senses involved in this way, so our memory should be stirred deeply through what we are doing.
3.  Proclamation of Victory. The Lord's Supper is to be eaten week after week by faithful Christians "until He comes" (1  Corinthians 11:26). It is a proclamation of what Jesus did  for us all those years ago and what it means to each of us in our spiritual lives. Knowing what He did at Calvary and knowing that we are doing this until He returns at the end of time, we are proclaiming victory over sin and death so the world might know that Jesus is Lord.
4.    Togetherness of the Saints. The New   Testament makes clear that there is a "together" aspect to the Lord's Supper. Though it is eaten individually,   Christians   gather for   this   purpose   (Acts   20:7) and encourage one another by being present at the table. Further,   Christians around   the world gather for this purpose each week, so we are able to know that our Christian family is connected by this feast each and every Lord's Day.
5.  Reflection on Our Lives. Though the Lord's Supper typically does not last all that long each week, it still provides us with a precious time to reflect on what is most important  in our lives. In fact, we are commanded to examine ourselves during this time (1 Corinthians 11:28)   and   realize   that   any "worthiness" we have is only true because of what Christ has done for us on the cross.
    At no other meal or feast could all of these things be true. Further, there is no way that any man-made meal could ever have these things be true each and every time it is eaten. But this is not our supper; it is the Lord's Supper. So, as long as we are faithfully partaking, each of these things is true throughout the feast, and we are the beneficiaries of great blessings in our spiritual lives by partaking each week. It truly is a precious feast, "all else surpassing."
- Adam Faughn preaches for the Central Church of Christ in Paducah KY. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.centralchurchofchrist.org Visit the Faughn Family blog, A Legacy of Faith.


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