I was very privileged this weekend to attend the first worship service at Saint Andrew's Community Church, pastored by Garrett Craw The liturgy was rich, the word was faithfully preached, and the communion of the saints was very sweet.
I especially appreciated the administration of the Lord's Supper. Pastor Craw emphasized the Supper as a Thanksgiving Meal - a "Eucharist" (Greek for thanksgiving). Therefore, when we came to communion, we did not curl up into our fetal positions - transforming the feast into the supreme moment of morbid / subjective introspection. Rather, we sang an uplifting hymn together and greeted one another with the peace of Christ. People were smiling with the joy of tasting God's grace.
This is so important to a correct understanding and practice of the Lord's Table. In most places I see the administration of the Supper, it is a morose exercise with a funeral dirge played in the background. The warnings are so shrill and frightening that the invitation and welcome into Christ's presence are lost. People are exhorted to reflect more on their unworthiness (something they should have already done in the confession of sin), instead of their glorious union with Christ's body and blood. Instead of being the climax of our covenant renewal with God, it is a disturbing foray into our own psyches.
Behind this is the reality that the Supper is primarily a memorial rite, not a subjective remembrance. Christ literally says, "Do this as my memorial," not, "Do this in remembrance of me." (1 Corinthians 11:23-25) With these words, Jesus teaches us that this sacrament is a place where God remembers us, not vice versa. As the rainbow in the sky causes God to "remember" his Noahic covenant (Gen 9:14-16), so the Supper causes God to "remember" his New Covenant with us in Jesus. Because we are united to Christ, we are at peace with God. The Supper is a supreme moment of joy, not morbidity. What a blessing to worship in spirit and truth!