Lord's Supper: "Do This in Remembrance of Me"
We believe that the Lord's Supper is an ordinance of the Lord in which gathered believers eat bread, signifying Christ's body given for His people, and drink the cup of the Lord, signifying the New Covenant in Christ's blood. We do this in remembrance of the Lord, and thus proclaim His death until He comes. Those who eat and drink in a worthy manner partake of Christ's body and blood, not physically, but spiritually, in that, by faith, they are nourished with the benefits He obtained through His death, and thus grow in grace. (Desert Springs Church Elders' Statement of Faith, section 13.4)
Notes on the Lord's Supper from 1 Corinthians 11:23-29
23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, "This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. 27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.Word Study on "Remember"
- The Need for the Lord's Supper: Forgetfulness (verse 25)
- The Purpose of the Lord's Supper: Remembrance (verse 25)
- The Symbolism of the Lord's Supper: Death (verse 26)
- The Promise of the Lord's Supper: "I Will"
But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
– Jeremiah 31:33 (ESV)
- The Frequency of the Lord's Supper: As Often as You Do (verse 25)
- The Carefulness of the Lord's Supper: Examination (verses 27-31)
One of the key parts of Lord's Supper is that Jesus commanded us to "remember" Him:
And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me."
– Luke 22:19 (ESV)
Some word study background work helps a lot here. In Hebrew, remembering (the verb zakar) is not recalling a fact learned in one's past. Rather it is meditating on, paying attention to, even doing something for the thing or person being remembered.
Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb.Remembering is a key part of the New Testament as well. Jesus and Paul use a Greek word for "remember," of course, and often the Greek word means the same as our English word, "to recall a fact learned in the past." But sometimes Jesus and Paul use the word "remember" in its Hebrew sense:
– Genesis 30:22 (ESV)
Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy.
– Exodus 20:8 (ESV)
My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
when I remember you upon my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
– Psalm 63:5-6 (ESV)
Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.
– Galatians 2:10 (ESV)
Remembering in the Hebrew sense is, in our country today, a lost art. It is a lost art for several reasons.
- Remembering in the biblical sense often means meditation. Meditation, in evangelical circles, often gets a bad rap, because we think of transcendental meditation or new age spiritualism.
- It is a lost art because to be an American these days means to be an individual, and being part of remembering something corporately means some kind of "corporation." Institutions and traditions get a bad rap these days.
- Corporate remembering is a lost art because history gets a bad rap. A lot of Christians get the latest news, or at least follow their current bands/singer, authors, or politicians. We often know a lot about the last 24 hours or week, but virtually nothing about our history (whether its national, ethnic, or family history).