Chapter 6 The Fellowship At The Feast

For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread (1 Corinthians 10:17).

It is the blessed habit of the saints to specially remember our Lord at His own instituted remembrance feast. This ought to be our hearty resolve each Lord’s day. Nothing should be allowed to disturb these moments of quiet and sacred remembrance. Then let us put aside all worldly care, and all daily business, and all the griefs and sorrows of our earthly pilgrimage, and gather unto Him and with His saints in this feast of love.

The Celebrants of the Past

It is pleasing to remember how many of all ages in the Christian Church have celebrated the remembrance feast and the sufferings and death of the Saviour in this, His own appointed way. It has never been a crowded table; but it has never been a forsaken one. Many are now in Heaven who were constant at His supper on earth, but now feast with Him in the banqueting halls of Heaven.

Many of these dear ones of ages past commemorated His sufferings and death on our behalf at the risk of their lives. The mountaintops were not too cold; the moors and glens not too isolated; the caves of the wilderness not too damp and drear for those noble souls who loved their Lord. They testified their devotion to Him at all hazards and under every hardship. They sat where the Belshazzars and Caesars of this world never sat nor ever shall.

There was a good deal of zeal, warmth, and fervency in their devotion. Their excellent example stirs and excites our own love as we remember them. We can but admire these saints of past days who cleaved to the Lord through grace, and with great purpose of heart kept the feast. They recognized His righteousness for their justification, His fullness for their every need, and His blood for their pardon and cleansing. They would not forget and therefore were resolved to keep the feast.

The Celebrants in Our Own Land

It is pleasing to remember, too, that there are many believers in our own land who come to this appointed ordinance. We who are of British stock have ancestors who once sat at “the table of devils,” as in the case of the Druids. We read in our history, and bow in shame as we read, that at one time our ancestors offered up human sacrifices, and these were very popular in Britain.

So we heartily rejoice that missionaries came from abroad and preached the gospel of God’s saving grace so that new converts among our forefathers set up the Lord’s remembrance feast and spread the sacred elements in our native land. Such dates are unknown; such places are unmarked; but the sweet influence of their faith and love has done its wonders and left behind a testimony of incalculable value among our peoples.

It is cause for praise that there are so many today, though few compared to the vast number of unbelievers, who count a day in His courts better than a thousand elsewhere, and delight to remember their Lord. They neither creep there by stealth, nor steal up, like Nicodemus, by night, but do so openly and publicly and count it their joy and delight to thus meet the Lord at the remembrance feast.

The Celebrants in Other Lands

It is also pleasing to remember that our Lord’s sacrificial love in His death is remembered on all continents and in practically all countries—in the great lands of China, Africa, India, and, maybe with the exception of a few Islamic lands, in all other places of the earth. I myself have been present at a thousand such gatherings in many lands, from the most southerly assembly in the world to almost the most northerly; from the most easterly in New Zealand to the most westerly in the Americas. Still they multiply, and the voice of adoring worship and praise never ceases in the earth.

Thus we are part of a great family of believers—“a multitude which no man can number”—though we may meet in small local fellowships. These small groups, if they but thought of themselves, could easily feel uncomfortable and discouraged or sad. But it is not so. The Lord is present in their midst, and they know they are loved by Him, that they are the gift of the Father to Him, that they are a possession purchased by His own blood. They are morsels together of the one great loaf.

There is an inseparable connection between our growth and increase in love and appreciation for the Saviour and the observance of this remembrance feast. Alas, we think of some who have grown cold in spiritual affections because of the neglect of it. There is nowhere else where we can be better established than in being engrossed and absorbed in remembering the love of Christ in His sacrifice for us.

Then, too, we should see to it that in coming there is tender love for all the Lord’s people. There should be no discord among the saints of God. It is a corporate fellowship of all who are saved of the Lord, and the unbroken loaf on the table testifies of that oneness. We are to exclude none who are born of God and who maintain a godly life. But we are to examine ourselves, too. We must put away all that is offensive to our Lord and come, sit down, and enjoy the feast with the Lord and all His redeemed ones.

O God, how wide Thy glory shines!
How high Thy wonders rise!
Known thro’ the earth by thousand signs,
By thousands thro’ the skies.

But when we view Thy strange design
To save rebellious worms,
Where vengeance and compassion join
In their divinest forms:

Now the full glories of the Lamb
Adorn the heav’nly throne,
While saints on earth that know His name,
Their Lord and Saviour own.

Isaac Watts