Skip to main content

The Lord's Supper: The worthiness we can bring to God

John Calvin, at length, from the Institutes of Christian Religion 4.XVIII.40, 42:
Paul enjoins that a man examine himself before eating this bread or drinking from this cup (1 Cor 11:28). He meant that each should descend within himself, ponder with himself whether he:
  • Rests with inward assurance of heart upon the salvation purchased by Christ;
  • Acknowledge it by confession of mouth,
  • Aspires to the imitation of Christ with the zeal of innocence and holiness;
  • After Christ’s example he is prepared to give himself up for his brothers and to communicate himself to those with whom he shares Christ in common;
  • Is counted a member of Christ, he in turn so holds all his brothers as members of his body;
  • Desires to cherish, protect and help them as his own members.
Not that these duties of faith and love can now be made perfect in us, but that we should endeavour and aspire with all our heart toward this end in order that we may day by day increase our faith.
Let us remember that this sacred feast is medicine for the sick, solace for sinners, alms to the poor’ but would bring no benefit to the healthy, righteous and rich – if such could be found. For since in it Christ is given to us as food, we understand that without him we would pine away, starve and faith – as famine destroys the vigour of the body. Then, since he is given us unto life, we understand that without him in us we would plainly be dead.
Therefore, this is the worthiness – the best and only kind - we can bring to God is to:
  • Offer our vileness and (so to speak) our unworthiness to him so that his mercy may make us worthy of him;
  • Despair in ourselves so that we may be comforted by him;
  • Abase ourselves so that we may be lifted up by him;
  • Accuse ourselves so that we may be justified by him;
  • Aspire to that unity which is commends to us in his Supper to desire one soul, one heart, one tongue for us all.
If we have weighed and considered these things well, these thoughts, though they may stagger us, will never lay us low. How could we, needy and bare of all good, befouled with sins, half-dead, eat the Lord’s body worthily?

Rather, we come as:
  • Poor to a kindly giver;
  • Sick to a physician;
  • Sinners to the author of righteousness;
  • Dead to him who gives us life.
We shall think that the worthiness which is commanded by God, consists chiefly in faith, which reposes all things in Christ, but nothing in ourselves, in love – and that very love which, though imperfect, is enough to offer to God, that he may increase it."

Image: Alex Leung - Creative Commons.


Popular posts from this blog

"Big eyes full of wonder"

Books. Fiction. Libraries. Second only to churches as are the best gateways in your community to ultimate reality and new possibilities.

Our local library has just re-opened after refurbishment, and I love that our boys have spent several mornings there during the summer holidays, discovering some wonderful new stories.

I realised a few months back that I wasn't reading enough fiction. My work necessitates reading a lot of non-fiction, a mix of historical and contemporary thinking, biblical studies and theology. But fiction is the cinderella. Easily overlooked, and yet able to awaken my imagination and show me the way things are meant to be.

So I've picked up a few more lately - bought and borrowed. Not every book attempted flies, and that's ok. These have been winners though.

Ink. This is Alice Broadway's debut novel. It's young adult fiction and tells the story of Leora who lives in a world where the events of your life are tattooed on your skin. Nothing gets hid…

Uniquely Matthew

Reading gospel accounts in parallel is sometimes used to blur the differences in perspective between the evangelists, seeking to harmonise the texts and find a definitive historical account of what happened. No such thing exists because every account is biased and limited. You simply can't record everything. You have to hold a vantage point. And that's not a problem.

Matthew, Mark and Luke take a very different vantage point to John who was of course an eyewitness himself of the events. Comparing the text of Matthew, Mark and Luke across the death and resurrection of Jesus yields two steps.

Firstly, the common ground. All three accounts tell of...
Simon of Cyrene carrying the cross…. · Jesus labelled as King of the Jews…. · Criminals crucified with Jesus… · Darkness in the daytime… · Jesus' loud final cry… The women who witnessed Jesus death, and Jesus' burial… · The tomb lent to Jesus by Joseph of Arimithea… · The women who went to the tomb on the morning of the…

Songs we're singing in Church

Christians are a singing people, it's part of what we do when we gather.

Our church meets morning an evening on a Sunday - normally using 5 songs in each service. So, over the year that's about 520 song-slots available. The report from the database system we use ( tells us that in the past year we've sung about 150 different songs.

Our current most used song has been sung 11 times in the last year, just under once a month. Our top 10 are used about every 6 weeks. By #30 we're talking about songs used every two months. The tail is long and includes loads of classic hymns from across the centuries, plus other songs from the past 40 years, that we have used around once a term or less.

1. Rejoice - Dustin Kensrue

2. Come Praise & Glorify - Bob Kauflin

3. Man of Sorrows - Hillsong

4. Cornerstone - Hillsong

Rejoice was a song I didn't previously know, along with a couple of others that have quickly become firm favourites for me: Chri…