Lord's Day Liturgy

Quite an Earful

When Paul said that as often as you eat and drink the Lord’s Supper we “proclaim” the Lord’s death until He comes (1 Corinthians 11:26), who hears that proclamation?

We do. That is, believers in Christ continue to feed on the body and blood of Christ, and we don’t get past the edifying work of the gospel that Christ died for our sins according to Scripture. It is finished, and every member of Christ’s body around the Table hears it again.

But Paul probably didn’t limit the hearers of the Supper to Christians. Near the end of chapter 14 he acknowledged times when “an unbeliever or outsider enters” corporate worship, and should be able to “declare that God is really among you” (1 Corinthians 14:24-25). That’s connected with clear words of prophesy instead of uninterpreted tongues, and the clear love of each member of the body for the Head and for each other would also be “heard” through the proclamation in communion.

But even that doesn’t seem to be the extent of it. When the church gathers, and I’d think especially when she shares the bread and wine, she “proclaims” the love of Christ in His death and the “manifold wisdom of God…to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 3:10). There are “unsearchable riches of Christ” proclaimed in the gospel, and preaching brings to light God’s plan, “God who created all things, so that through the church” the cosmic powers might sit up and “hear” – so to speak – that in God’s wisdom they are doomed to pass away (1 Corinthians 2:6).

Jesus Christ and Him crucified is the end of fear for all who believe, the end of death for Christ’s people, and signals the end of rebellion at the proper time. We proclaim the power of His death when we eat the bread and drink the cup together.