Nourishment? – 2
or Will Jesus Spit Us Out?
“But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.” (1 Cor. 11:28-30)
Some more detailed thoughts on what God is doing in the Lord’s Table. Part 1 here.
Covenant Renewal Worship follows the Bible Matrix. This means that our Christian worship recapitulates the Creation Week, the Feasts of Israel, and the journey from slavery to Sabbath (servants to sons), and the process of maturity, from childhood to adulthood. 
Covenant Renewal Worship gets ridiculed by some, but there is plenty of Biblical and historical background for it. We are not under the Old Covenant, so there is certainly an amount of freedom in how we worship. But the kinds of “freedom” we prize as spiritual adolescents today have only been around for about the last two per cent of Church history. It’s time to wind back the clock.
The process is simple:
……….Ascension to Worship
……………Teaching of the Word
Most churches follow something close to this order by spiritual instinct. Although the church bells aren’t heard too often (the Call), the real pity is that many have dropped a Corporate Confession.
We won’t get into steps 3, 4 and 5. My target here is Communion.
If we subscribe to the idea of Covenant Renewal worship, there are implications for those who are practicing paedocommunion. They’re right in linking baptism and Table. But, despite all protests to the contrary, their baptism is hereditary. It is generational instead of “re-generational”, so now their Table is hereditary. The kids who are able to eat solid food are welcome to join in as part of the Covenant community. They have been declared “Christian” in their baptism, and in some mystical way the Table feeds them.
Well, the emphasis on Covenant Community is great. But the typology behind the Table, and its institution by Jesus, make it plain that this is, if not an abuse, a terrible misunderstanding of what the Table is about.
So, just what is God doing in the Lord’s Supper?
Among other things, Communion is a “jealous inspection.” (See Bible Matrix II, chapter 18, “Goblet of Fire,” for more on this.) Communion isn’t a disconnected, freestanding element of worship. Some pastors like to move the order of service around so people don’t get bored. But Communion is part of a process of worship, and it should be celebrated every time we worship, if possible. God is doing something very real in the entire process, so moving the order around is as sensible as drying your clothes before you wash them.
God calls us into His presence (Creation) and separates us from the world (Division). Under the New Covenant, unlike the Old, the world is welcome to come with us as witnesses to the glory! This includes our children. We sing the sacrifice of praise (Ascension).
We are taught the Word (external Law – Pentecost – Testing),  then examine and present ourselves (internal Law – Trumpets – Maturity). This brings us to the “Atonement” part of the service. But unlike Israel’s Atonement Day, we do not mourn but celebrate. We did our mourning at Confession (Division).
However, notice that Confession and Communion mirror each other in the “there-and-back-again” process. There is a link between the mourning and the celebration. We examined ourselves and confessed our sin. But God has done something new in the teaching of the Word, while the minister imaged Christ to us in heavenly places. Now the Spirit judges the thoughts and intents of our hearts. We judged ourselves that we might not be judged. In most cases, if not all, He finds internal Law. The Word has not returned empty.
So, the actual feeding isn’t Communion, it’s the Word. In some real sense, in this rite, the Word is eating us — from the inside. Will Jesus spit us out?
If we examine ourselves according to the Word, we don’t drink to the dregs (Atonement). The sword that “passed over” at Confession now passes through, but Communion is a sacramental “dose” of death. This is because we are already clean. We are washed. Like our High Priest, we “taste death for every man.” Firstfruits (Ascension of the Head) was a “taste” of Pentecost (Garden > Land). Atonement (Ascension of the Body) is a “taste” of Booths (Land > World). We taste the cup before handing it to the nations as prophets.
What this inoculation does is turn us into food. At this restricted Table we become an unrestricted Table, a Love Feast for all those “looking in” (Booths).  If Communion is about nourishment at all, it’s not about our nourishment. It’s about the Vindication of the Word in us as nourishment for the nations. So, worship begins with the Called and ends with the Sent.
This Table is not for the nourishment of the flesh. It is Covenant renewal, but it is not the renewal of Jesus’ side of things. Jesus renews us so we can be recommissioned to go out and renew the world.
This involves the renewal of our own vows on pain of judgment. This might sound stern, but “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins.” That’s why we celebrate. If we are struggling with sin, we lay our burdens upon Him and receive new grace. The New Covenant cup only becomes a curse if we have a controversy with God about our sin, not if we are faithfully fighting it and mortifying it. Otherwise it would be a curse to every Christian. The Supper is only a curse to those whose vow is a pretense, like Judas.
Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. (1 Cor. 11:27)
In context, it is likely Paul had Judaizers in mind when he wrote this. And it explains much of the book of Hebrews, where all unbelieving Judah, post-Pentecost, gave Judas a new “body”:
“…since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame…” (Hebrews 6:6).
So, if your intentions are not those of Judas, or the Judaizers, or anything like them, come! Be renewed!
The bread and wine are consumed separately, but reunited in our own bodies. The saints are the resurrection body of Jesus. The food the children need is the gospel, mediated by hands and hearts made clean by the power of His resurrection.
It should be clear that the Table is not the place for infants or toddlers. It is a grave place, a place for those who carry the world on their shoulders. The Lord’s Table is for royal advisors, legal mediators, loyal knights, chosen ambassadors, Covenant delegates. It is only “for” the children in the sense that they shelter under this ministry until they, too, can take the vow of the martyroi.
Next post, I’ll cover how I suspect this is all echoed in the architecture of Exodus 24.
 See Bible Matrix p. 217 for a basic chart, and Jeff Meyers’ The Lord’s Service for more historical and ecclesiastical background detail than I could ever hope to get my head around.
 James Jordan says that this should be primarily teaching, not preaching, at least not the kind of preaching that is aimed at non-Christians. Many churches continually preach at the saints as though they are not saved.
 See Eat Local and Die.