This is the exhortation & thoughts before communion from Sunday, March 7th, 2010.
Worship is entirely a picture of God condescending to us. God, though perfect, transcendent, and holy, accepts the worship of mere sinful men. Think of it – our stammering tongues offer imperfect tunes though He is surrounded with the doxologies of angels. Our weak and sometimes babbling prayers are heard and even seen as incense to Him when offered in sincere faith. Imperfect and limited men are even called to be His spokesmen, preaching His Word to congregations.
Worship is a picture of God’s merciful condescension. This should cause us to offer our best; that which is reverent and heartfelt, beautiful and sincere; that which is offered in both joy and awe.
To put it another way, in worship, God knows what we can reach. He deserves more, but we cannot reach that, so He tells us what to do and calls us to do it. It’s particularly shameful, then, for His people to offer less or to water down what is expected. God has already made the table low enough for us to reach. Let us never be guilty of chopping the legs off the table as well.
God has called us to worship through His Word, expressed in human language that we can understand. Even that is God condescending to us. We offer praise for that invitation with imperfect voices and imperfect songs. And all of that reminds us of our great weakness and God’s great mercy.
Communion, as a covenantal meal, is given to all members of the covenant; every one of His baptized people. And a beautiful element of this is that it further shows how God gives us what we can reach. He puts the elements of worship and the privilege of worship where we can get to them. Our children, our little ones, cannot necessarily sing the notes we can, read the words we can, or follow the whole sermon like we can. But, if they can belt out an “Amen” then let them reach it; it is theirs. If they can sing some of the words, let them reach for that; it is theirs. If they can chew and drink, then let them reach it; it is theirs. Worship belongs to all the children of the covenant – nursing babes, toddlers, older children, and adults.
Communion is another example of how God condescends to us in worship. We are weak and we need food and drink. He gives it to us. We are forgetful of His goodness and grace, so He reminds us in the sacrament. We are finite and our minds cannot comprehend His sacrifice on our behalf; so He shows it to us in bread and wine.