(For the Second Service)
Brothers and sisters:
The apostle Paul describes the institution of the holy supper in 1 Corinthians 11:23-29: For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgement on himself.
If we are to celebrate the holy supper for the strengthening of our faith, we must first examine ourselves.
Let everyone consider his sins and accursedness that he may humble himself before God.
Let everyone examine his heart whether he believes the sure promise of God that all his sins are forgiven him only for the sake of the suffering and death of Jesus Christ and that the perfect righteousness of Christ is freely given him as his own.
Finally, let everyone determine whether he intends gratefully to serve the Lord with his entire life and to live in true love and harmony with his neighbour.
All who by the grace of God repent of their sins, desire to fight against their unbelief and live according to God's commandments, will certainly be received by God at the table of his Son Jesus Christ. They may be fully assured that no sin or weakness which still remains in them against their will shall keep God from accepting them in grace and granting them this heavenly food and drink.
But to all who do not truly grieve over their sins and do not repent of them, we declare that they have no part in the kingdom of Christ. We admonish them to abstain from the holy supper; otherwise their judgment will be the heavier.
Christ has commanded us to use this supper in remembrance of him. At this table we remember that our Lord was sent by the Father into the world, assumed our flesh and blood, and from the beginning to the end of his life bore for us the wrath of God. He was bound that we might be set free. Though innocent he was condemned to death that we might be acquitted at the judgment seat of God. He let his blessed body be nailed to the cross and so took our curse upon himself to fill us with his blessing. He was forsaken by God that we might nevermore be forsaken by him. By his death and the shedding of his blood he confirmed the new and everlasting covenant of grace when he said, It is finished (Jn 19:30).
Therefore, as often as we eat this bread and drink of this cup, we are reminded and assured of Christ's hearty love towards us. He died on the cross and shed his blood for us that he might feed our hungry and thirsty souls unto eternal life with his crucified body and shed blood, as truly as we receive this bread and drink in remembrance of him.
By his suffering and death Christ has obtained for us the Spirit of life. By this Spirit we are united with him and receive all his gifts. The same Spirit unites us in brotherly love as members of one body.1 Therefore we all, incorporated into Christ by true faith, are one body and shall show this to one another not just in words but also in deeds.
Finally, Christ has commanded us to celebrate the holy supper until he comes. We receive at his table a foretaste of the abundant joy which he has promised and look forward to the marriage feast of the Lamb, when he will drink the wine new with us in the kingdom of his Father.
Let us rejoice and give him the glory, for the marriage feast of the Lamb is coming!2
Let us pray.
Gracious God and Father, we thank you that you have given us your only Son as a sacrifice for our sins and as our food and drink unto eternal life.
We pray, work in our hearts by your Holy Spirit through this supper so that, entrusting ourselves more and more to your Son Jesus Christ, we may not live in our sins, but he in us and we in him. Strengthen our faith that you will forever be our gracious Father, who gives us all things necessary for body and soul. Grant us your grace that we may joyfully take up our cross, deny ourselves, and confess our Saviour.
Teach us to expect our Lord Jesus Christ from heaven, who will change our mortal body to be like his glorious body and take us to himself in eternity. Amen.
In order to be nourished with Christ, the true heavenly bread, let us not cling to the outward symbols of bread and wine, but lift up our hearts to Jesus Christ, our advocate at the Father's right hand.
Let us firmly believe that we will be nourished with his body and blood as certainly as we receive this bread and drink in remembrance of him.
(When he breaks the bread, the minister shall say:)
The bread which we break is the communion of the body of Christ. Take, eat, remember and believe that the body of our Lord Jesus Christ was broken for the complete forgiveness of all our sins.
(And when he gives the cup:)
The cup of blessing, for which we give thanks, is the communion of the blood of Christ. Take, drink from it, all of you, remember and believe that the precious blood of our Lord Jesus Christ was poured out for the complete forgiveness of all our sins.
(During the communion some suitable portion of Scripture may be read and a Psalm or hymn be sung.)
(After the communion, the minister shall say:)
Beloved in the Lord, now that the Lord has nourished us at his table, let us together praise his name with thanksgiving.
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy (Ps 103:1-4).
The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger for ever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love towards those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him (Ps 103:8-13).
Therefore my heart and my mouth shall proclaim the praise of the Lord, from now on and for evermore. Amen.
Merciful God and Father, we thank you for the opportunity to partake of the supper of your Son Jesus Christ, by eating of the bread and drinking of the cup, and so proclaiming the death of our Lord as the only ground of our salvation.
We praise you that you give us the privilege to rejoice in the communion of your Son, as well as in the fellowship with one another.
We also earnestly ask you that we, being strengthened in faith by the celebration of this sacrament, may bring forth fruits of thankfulness.
Cause us to show in our whole life our heartfelt love towards you and towards each other.
Grant that with ardent expectation we may await the return of our Saviour, who promised that he would drink with us of the fruit of the vine in the kingdom of his Father.
To you, Father, be all glory, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.