At the very center of the sacrament of Holy Communion is the idea that it is a thanksgiving for God’s mighty acts of redemption in Christ, especially for the incarnation, the atonement, the resurrection, and the establishment of His eternal kingdom. It is a thanksgiving that the kingdom has indeed come. This is why Holy Communion can simply be called the Eucharist and this thanksgiving is essential to the covenant renewal which occurs at the Supper.
Consider the object of the Lord’s Supper. It was instituted to keep in remembrance the death of Christ and to show it forth until He come. Now how are we to show forth the death of Christ? Not only by a pious calling to our minds while we are at the table, but by a constant, sincere, and faithful acknowledgment of the love which He has manifested to sinners.
In essence, there is a “return of love” to Him on our part. This “return of love” is the thanksgiving. That is, the essence of thanksgiving is a recounting of all God has done to free us from sin and death. When we celebrate the Eucharist, it fulfills the feast of Passover as it was decreed by Moses. It not only recounts the history of salvation – it meditates on it. It rejoices over it and becomes part of it. At the Lord’s Supper, we are to express our thankfulness for the giving up of the Son of God for the eternal well-being of our souls and bodies. This is normally done in a formal way by the presiding minister thanking the Lord, which also functions as a prayer of consecration. Without Christ giving Himself up as He did, there is no hope for sinners. When we take the Lord’s Supper, we are to express our thankfulness, our gratitude. Thankfulness is very appropriate, even necessary, when churches come together to take the Lord’s Supper.
When we sit down at the Lord’s Table with genuine thankfulness, there is a restatement and renewal of our covenant, as found in 2 Corinthians 6:17-18
I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and you shall be my sons and daughters says the Lord Almighty.
Thus, to sit down at the Lord’s Table and partake of the bread and the wine is to partake of the benefits of the New Covenant. Consider the greatness of this covenant. This covenant was founded on an eternal priesthood with the very blood of the Redeemer as the single, complete sacrifice for sins and contains the promise of eternal salvation. As Jesus Himself put it, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood.”
Thus, at the Table, it is not merely to remember Christ’s death, but much more to partake of the benefits and the saving power of Christ’s redemptive sacrifice. It is to be united to Christ who both died for us and rose for us. We sit down at the Lord’s Supper and share the bread and wine as a profession of faith. We are not just remembering Christ’s death; we are taking our place at His Table in His house. May these truths be evidenced by words and actions in the whole tenor of our walk and conversation as we approach the Lord’s Day.