This article is about our sin and celebrating the Lord's Supper.

Source: Clarion, 1998. 3 pages.

Preparing for the Lord’s Supper: Self-Examination and Detesting Myself

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 first part.

First, let everyone consider his sins and accursedness, so that he, detesting himself, may humble himself before God. For the wrath of God against sin is so great that He could not leave it unpunished, but has punished it in His beloved Son Jesus Christ by the bitter and shameful death on the cross.

Guilt and Punishment🔗

I have a difficult week ahead of me, a week in which I must prepare myself for the upcoming celebration of the Lord’s Supper. The most difficult aspect of these coming days will probably be that those days will be just ordinary days...

...days in which the same work needs to be done as always – be it housework or out-of-the-house work; be it routine or challenging activities

...days during which I will be occupied with my usual concerns and worries

...days during which I will not even think of the upcoming Lord’s Supper celebration unless I really force myself.

Indeed, I will have to set time aside for this preparation.

....time to consider my sins

…time to consider that those sins cause God’s wrath to come over me

…time to rediscover that I – enlightened by God’s Word – ought to detest, ought to loathe myself because of those sins

…time to humble myself before God.

God’s wrath really deserved.
Detest myself.
Humble myself before God.

These are harsh, hard-hitting words. Actually, I am not so sure that I do have all that many sins. I rarely feel that I deserve God’s wrath. Why should I want to detest myself? How often do I really feel guilty and lowly before God?

I have to think of Jesus Christ. His death on the cross was bitter and shameful. Next Sunday when I will eat his body and drink his blood, this eating and drinking must be a proclamation of that bitter and shameful death.

God’s wrath really deserved!
Detest myself!
Humble myself before God!

Hard-hitting words, indeed. Yet, when I – as if with my own eyes – see how shameful and bitter Jesus’ death on the cross was, I am sharply reminded: these harsh words are true words. All this has to do with my sins...

…my evil and corrupt nature; that’s why I always have the urge to be disobedient to God.
…my daily sins; every day I go against God’s will in so many different ways. That’s why I have deserved God’s wrath: my rebellion against God the most high King is treason. That’s why I would have deserved the heaviest punishment which would last forever and which I should have borne in body and soul. But my Saviour carried the punishment which I have deserved. He suffered the wrath of God which should have destroyed me. He died on Golgotha also for my sins.

When I think of these things then I cannot but detest, loathe myself because so often do I give in to my sins...

…so often do I live easily and superficially, without too much thought for God.
…so often I am negligent to do good, either consciously or subconsciously.

And yet the Lord sends me an invitation to meet Him at his table, next Sunday.

An invitation for me – even though I have grown old and wonder how many times I will yet be able to eat the bread and drink from the cup.

An invitation for me in the prime of my life – all too often I claim to be too busy to be honest even to myself.

An invitation for me – I have only celebrated the Lord’s Supper two or three times.

An invitation for me – it will be the first time next Sunday. I will start this week by going back to the cross. That’s where I ought to stay throughout the coming week. There, at the cross, I will renew my confession once made: Lord God, have mercy on me, wretched sinner.

That’s how I will humble myself before God. I feel myself a sinful, lowly person, yet placed in the full light of God’s grace.

Undeserved mercy – that will occupy my thoughts forever.

Singing: Psalm 32 verses 1, 2🔗

  1. Blest is the man whose trespass is forgiven,
    whose sins are covered in the sight of heaven.
    Blest is the man against whom, Lord, Thou wilt
    not count all his iniquity and guilt.
    How happy he, contrite of heart and lowly,
    who has confessed his sins, O LORD most holy;
    who does not secretly Thy laws transgress,
    whose spirit harbours no deceitfulness.

  1. When I kept silent, sinful ways condoning,
    I pined away through my incessant groaning.
    Thy hand weighed down on me in my deceit;
    my strength was sapped as by the summer’s heat.
    To Thee, O God of justice and compassion,
    I then at last acknowledged my transgression.
    I said, “I will confess my sins to Thee,”
    and all my guilt Thou hast forgiven me.

From the Scriptures🔗

Psalm 51:3-15🔗

For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.
Create in me a pure heart, o God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you.
Save me from blood guilt, O God, the God who saves me, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.

Readings for the Week of Preparation🔗

Psalm 130
Psalm 30
Psalm 32
Psalm 25:1-11
Psalm 25:12-22
John 19:17-30
1 Corinthians 11:23-29
Morning: Luke 22:14-20
Evening: 1 Corinthians 12:13-26

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