By Dick Wamsley
“For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26).
TCM (Taking Christ to Millions) is an international training institute in Austria, where theological graduate students from countries in eastern Europe, Russia, the Middle East, and central Asia converge for concentrated study to help them reach their people for Christ. One student at the institute describes how the church he serves in one of those closed countries observes the Lord’s Supper each week.
The adults meet at an appointed time each week at a restaurant for a meal. They may sit at several different tables, but the predetermined leader situates himself so everyone in the group can see him.
After everyone has finished the meal, the leader picks up a piece of bread and bows his head in silent prayer. Everyone knows what he’s doing, though nothing is said. When he lifts his head, he eats the piece of bread. Others at the various tables follow his lead. Then he bows again in silent prayer. Again, he lifts his head and picks up a glass of wine, water, or whatever else he has, and he drinks. Others follow in like manner.
No words are spoken. No verbal acknowledgement is made of what they have just done. But everyone at the tables knows they have just “proclaimed the Lord’s death.” In fact, it’s the very reason they gather in a public place to observe the Lord’s Supper—to proclaim Jesus’ death even at the risk of being discovered.
The student’s story draws us into the profound sacredness of the Lord’s Supper; that we proclaim our Lord Jesus’ death with other Christians around the world, some of them at risk of their own lives. What a solemn moment this is! What an extraordinary opportunity we have to lead others toward the foot the cross, to “the throne of grace with confidence” (Hebrews 4:16).
Adapted from the e2: effective elders newsletter, September 8, 2017. Used with permission.
Dick Wamsley served as senior minister at Taylorville (Illinois) Christian Church for more than 27 years and at Nebraska Christian College for 14 years. He is retired from full-time ministry, but continues to serve in interim ministries for churches in central Illinois.