July 16

Today's Bible Reading
     Joshua 23
     Acts 3
     Jeremiah 12
     Matthew 26
''. ..Take, eat, this is My Body''...(Matthew 26:26); . ..Drink from it, all of you... (Matthew 26:27); ''For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." (Matthew 26:28)
Just before His agonizing experience in the Garden of Gethsemane, and the heartbreak of Peter's denial and Judas' betrayal, our Lord instituted what we call today The Lord's Supper. It is the common practice of believers throughout the world to share in the eating of the bread and the drinking of the cup as we remember the Lord's death until He comes.     Though it is done in different ways in different places, this wonderful experience of communion is shared by believers of every race, culture, language, and even denominations throughout the world.
            But, as we've done with many simple things, the Christian community has succeeded in complicating this blessed event as well. Some groups practice something called,closed communion which allows only members of their particular church to share in the supper. I would call that the ''church's supper." Others expand their group to their denomination. I would call that the denomination's supper. Others have said it is OK for anyone, from any place, to sit at the table of the Lord with us. I would call that the world's supper. But it is The Lord's Supper reserved for those who have been born again in the Family of God. This Supper is for the Family of blood-bought believers.
            Later, when Paul wrote his first letter to the church at Corinth, he was dealing with divisions and problems in the fellowship of the church. He was trying to bring them back together. One of the problems they were having concerned the Lord's Supper. Some had even begun to call it an Agape Feast. It had become something like a Potluck Supper, or Covered Dish Dinner. At the conclusion of this, they had the Lord's Supper. It was greatly abused. Those who were a part of the cliques were welcomed, and it was used sometimes to isolate the people they did not want present. Some were actually getting drunk at this supper. What was intended to be a time of great fellowship and spiritual renewal had become a judgment upon them.
            It is obvious from this passage, and others, that our Lord's intent was that the Lord's Supper be a time of confession, cleansing, and Holy Communion among the people of God. Wherever, and whenever, the Supper of the Lord is shared, it is always purely symbolic. The cup never actually becomes the blood of Jesus, nor does the bread become the body of Christ. It is just always representative. The spiritual significance of the Supper, however, is deep and rich.  So let us look now with spiritual eyes upon the Supper of the Lord.
            We look back and see Christ dying for us. We look ahead and see Christ coming for us. We are to do this until He comes.  We look inward and see Christ living for us. As we look inward, we are to examine ourselves. The truth is we cannot live the Christian life.  It is only as Jesus Christ lives in us and through us that the Christian life is possible. It is very important that believers regularly participate in the Lord's Supper with all the spiritual implications. It was in that same Upper Room where Jesus instituted the Supper that the power of the Holy Ghost fell on the Disciples, enabling them to turn their world upside down for Christ.  May such power be our experience today.
            St.Helenais a Britishterritory just off the coast of Africa. There are 7,000 people on this island. Most of the Christians are older people. Our prayer focus today ought to be that the new generation of young people will be won to Christ in St. Helena.
''If a man could take his choice of all the lives that are possible on the earth, there is none so much to be desired for its joy­producing quality as a truly self-denying, consecrated Christian life."
Henry Ward Beecher