This Sunday, the fourth Sunday of Advent, will see us engage in a silent communion during the 9:30 hour in the SDA sanctuary. Some of you may never have participated in such an experience. A silent communion is a self-directed exercise in reflection, devotion, and worship centering on the Lord’s Table conducted in silence (only background instrumental music will be heard). Upon arriving in the sanctuary (please do all you can to be prompt as we make use of every minute of the hour) you will receive a guide describing the four movements of the communion.
The first movement from 9:30 to 9:45 AM concentrates on adoration and praise. Using Psalm 145 as our guide we will worship the Lord in the silence of our hearts for His various attributes and acts.
The second movement from 9:45 to 10:00 AM calls us to a focused time of confession of sin and repentance before God. We will utilize the Puritan prayer entitled Purification for this purpose. Here is how that prayer begins:
Lord Jesus, I sin. Grant that I may never cease grieving because of it, never be content with myself, never think I can reach a point of perfection. Kill my envy, command my tongue, trample down self. Give me grace to be holy, kind, gentle, pure, peaceable, to live for Thee and not for self, to copy Thy words, acts, spirit, to be transformed into Thy likeness, to be consecrated wholly to Thee, to live entirely to Thy glory.
The third movement from 10:00 to 10:15 AM brings us to the actual supper. After reflecting on three paragraphs of our confession of faith, we will approach the table and serve ourselves the bread and cup. Here are those paragraphs if you wish to do extra preparation in advance:
Paragraph One: The Lord’s supper was instituted by the Lord on the same night in which He was betrayed. It is to be observed in His churches to the world’s end, for a perpetual remembrance of Him and to show forth the sacrifice of Himself in His death. It was instituted also to confirm saints in the belief that all the benefits stemming from Christ’s sacrifice belong to them. Furthermore, it is meant to promote their spiritual nourishment and growth in Christ, and to strengthen the ties that bind them to all the duties they owe to Him. The Lord’s supper is also a bond and pledge of the fellowship which believers have with Christ and with one another. See 1 Corinthians 10:16, 17, 21; 1 Corinthians 11:23-36.
Paragraph Seven: Those who, as worthy participants, outwardly eat and drink the visible bread and wine in this ordinance, at the same time receive and feed upon Christ crucified, and receive all the benefits accruing from His death. This they do really and indeed, not as if feeding upon the actual flesh and blood of a person’s body, but inwardly and by faith. In the supper the body and blood of Christ are present to the faith of believers, not in any actual physical way, but in a way of spiritual apprehension, just as the bread and wine themselves are present to their outward physical senses. See 1 Corinthians 10:16; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26.
Paragraph Eight: All persons who participate at the Lord’s table unworthily sin against the body and blood of the Lord, and their eating and drinking brings them under divine judgment. It follows,therefore, that all ignorant and ungodly persons, being unfit to enjoy fellowship with Christ, are similarly unworthy to be communicants at the Lord’s table; and while they remain as they are they cannot rightly be admitted to partake of Christ’s holy ordinance, for thereby great sin against Christ would be committed. See Matthew 7:6; 1 Corinthians 11:29; 2 Corinthians 6:14-15.
The fourth movement from 10:15 to 10:30 AM puts the church directory before us and calls us to a time of petition and intercession for one another’s needs as God brings them to mind.
I urge all of us to make this additional observance of Communion in the month of December as a means of grace that brings even more blessing into our lives during this Advent season.