Puritan Richard Sibbes, in his book Glorious Freedom, offers excellent counsel for approaching the Lord’s Table in a worthy manner.
The entire book constitutes his exposition of 2 Corinthians 3:18, a most important New Testament text on the doctrine of sanctification.
I commend this to you in preparation for our Good Friday observances in growth groups this week or for any Communion observance for that matter.
Now that we are to receive the sacrament, think of the sacraments as glasses in which we see the glory of the love and mercy of God in Christ. If we consider the bread alone, and not as representing better things, what is it? And the wine alone, as it does not represent better things, what is it but an ordinary poor thing? Oh, but take them as glasses, as things that convey to the soul and represent things more excellent than themselves, and they are glorious ordinances. Take a glass as a glass, it is a poor thing; but take the glasses as they represent more excellent things than themselves, and they are of excellent use. Bread and wine must not be taken as naked elements, but as they represent and convey something more excellent: that is, Christ and all his benefits, the love and mercy and grace of God in Christ.
Therefore I beseech you now, when you are to receive the sacrament, let your minds be more occupied than your senses. When you take the bread, think of the body of Christ broken; and when you think of uniting the bread into one substance, think of Christ and you made one. When the wine is poured out, think of the blood of Christ poured out for sin. When you think of the refreshing by the wine, think of the refreshing of your spirits and souls by the love of God in Christ, and of the love of Christ that did not spare his blood for your soul’s good. How Christ crucified and his shedding of blood refreshes the guilty soul, as wine refreshes the weak spirits! So consider the sacraments as glasses in which better things be are presented, and let your minds as well as your senses be occupied, and then you shall be fit receivers.
Good counsel. Holy Table. Great Savior.