This article is about examining yourself prior to celebrating the Lord's Supper. Is it my true desire to show thankfulness to God, and to live with my neighbour in love?

Source: Clarion, 2001. 3 pages.

The Lord’s Supper and the Future

From the Form for the Celebration of the Lord’s Supper🔗

Self-examination is an important aspect of the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. The Form for the Celebration of the Lord’s Supper tells us that true self-examination consists of three parts. This meditation focuses on the third part:

Third, let everyone examine his conscience whether it is his sincere desire to show true thankfulness to God with his entire life, and laying aside all enmity, hatred, and envy, to live with his neighbour in true love and unity.

Planning for the Future🔗

God’s wrath is deserved! And yet, there is forgiveness with You, Lord!

Of course, something else must follow. I understand quite well that during these next days I must consider the future. Celebrating the Lord’s Supper has consequences. Faith is never noncommittal. Faith has far-reaching consequences.

So, what about my plans and intentions? What are they? If I were to invent them myself, then the saying that “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” could well prove true. That is not the way to go about it.

If I want to sit down at the table of the Lord to celebrate his meal, I can’t go on the strength of good intentions. Then I would sit there quite depressed because sin has again been successful too often. I want to sit down in the firm faith that the cross of Christ offers me – yes, also me – forgiveness.

That cross ought to be the birthplace for my intentions. It is there that my plans will take on concrete form as an answer to my prayer, “Guide me in your truth, and teach me!” Sure, there must be good intentions; they show the attitude of a thankful heart. The path of each believer is paved with such good intentions. It cannot be any different, because my path through life and through the world always leads me past the cross of Christ.

That road past the cross of Christ is the road I ought to see before me as I eat the bread and drink from the cup. Right now I ought to be convinced: that is the road I want to travel.

I want to travel it in thankfulness and full honesty, honest before God’s face, because the LORD considers the heart.

But I am not alone at the cross.

My wife – my husband stands next to me. And between us, things are not always right. Anger, irritation, misunderstanding, jealousy...

My father and mother are standing there as well. They still do not understand that I am no longer a child. They are full of prejudice and critique. If I am honest I’ll admit there is always tension between us.

My son, my daughter are there as well. Do they really mean it? They hardly ever speak about these things, and if they do, it sounds rather strange, almost flippant and irreverent.

My neighbour is also present...

My client – my supplier...

My relatives – my colleagues...

I am not alone at the cross. I am not the only sinner.

I am going to celebrate the Lord’s Supper once again. Therefore I have to consider the future. God will always be there. God – and my neighbour. Right now I do know what I will receive at the table of the Lord.

An ancient command: love the Lord above everything else, and your neighbour as yourself.

Can I do that? Can I pull that off? Not in my own power.

That’s exactly why I so badly need the sign and seal of the bread and wine.

In this way the Holy Spirit will strengthen my faith.

In this way faith in Jesus Christ gives me more and more strength to serve God, my LORD, with my whole life, and to live from now on in love and peace with my neighbour.

Readings for the Week of Preparation🔗

Romans 12:1-8
Romans 12:9-21
Romans 13:8-14
Galatians 6:1-10
Hebrews 12:1-7
Hebrews 12:18-29
1 Peter 3:8-18
Morning: 1 John 1:5-2:6
Evening: 1 John 2:7-11

From the Scriptures🔗

Psalm 31:21-25🔗

  1. Praise be to the LORD, for he showed his wonderful love to me when I was in a besieged city.

  2. In my alarm I said, “I am cut off from your sight!” Yet you heard my cry for mercy when I called to you for help.

  3. Love the LORD, all you saints! The LORD preserves the faithful, but the proud he pays back in full.

  4. Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD.

Ephesians 4:1-6🔗

  1. As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.

  2. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

  3. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

  4. There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 

  5. one Lord, one faith, one baptism;

  6. one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.


Psalm 25:2, 7🔗

2.   Show Thou unto me, Thy servant,
      All Thy ways and teach Thou me,
      So that by Thy Spirit guided,
      Clearly I Thy paths may see.
      In Thy truth wilt Thou me guide,
      Teach me, God of my salvation;
      All the day for Thee I bide, LORD,
      with eager expectation.

7. To His people, who revere Him,
    Has the LORD His friendship shown,
    And He will to all who fear Him
    Make His steadfast covenant known.
    With a confidence complete,
    Toward the LORD my eyes are turning.
    From the net He’ll pluck my feet;
    He will not despise my yearning.

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