"To Behold the Beauty of the LORD"
“…to behold the beauty of the LORD…” Psalm 27:4
Dear brothers and sisters,
The men who penned the Westminster Larger Catechism were pastors. They were men of the truth. As shepherds of the flock, they led souls with the light of truth. When they gave pastoral counsel on how to prepare for the Lord’s Supper, they pointed with the light of the Scripture. How did they teach people to approach the communion table? They exhorted themselves and ensuing generations to prepare “by examining themselves of their being in Christ…of their desires after Christ…” (WLC 171) Among the many practices they recommend in preparing your soul for communion, they commend examining your “desires after Christ”.
As you till the soil of your mind, heart, and conscience, can you echo the desire of David? Can you say with the sweet Psalmist of Israel, “One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple”? (Psalm 27:4) Do you relish the beauty of Christ? Is he your portion and your cup? (Psalm 16:5) When you cast your vision, is Jesus the brightest light? When you enjoy his sweet presence, what about him brings you most delight? Our faith is a Jesus focused communion. Do you fix your thoughts and deepest affections on his spotless robe of righteousness, freely given to sinners who believe? Do you not ache for the healing power of the Holy Spirit, who cleanses us from spiritual leprosy? Does your heart not yearn to love what he loves, and hate what he hates? Do we long for extended seasons of fellowship with him? Oh, how our minds wrestle to articulate our desires after him through prayer and praise! As believers, Jesus is all our desire. We are learning to examine ourselves of our “desires after Christ.”
The traditional “Communion Season” of Scotland and historic Presbyterianism consisted of days preparing for the Sacrament. The traditional Presbyterian practice of communion was 2-4 times per year, with a rich and focused time of reflection, worship and celebration. Thursday was/is usually a day of confession, Friday a time to examine one’s spiritual growth, and Saturday provides a focused concentration on the person of Christ. The Lord’s Day morning witnesses the serving of communion, and the evening sermon is a highly charged evangelistic message urging souls to fly to Christ. Monday is a day of thanksgiving for the Lord’s mercies. Each of these elements contribute to a rich enjoyment of the Lord’s Supper. Even though we practice communion more frequently, we can still set aside the time leading up to the Lord’s Day for reflection, worship, and focus. We can rivet our thoughts on the beauty of the Lord. In the words of the Westminster men, we can examine ourselves of our “desires after Christ.”
Much love in Christ,
Posted on Friday // April 10, 2015 // 9:40 AM
by Chris Thomas