“THE LORD’S SUPPER”

Wayne S. Walker

“Take, eat, this is My body….This cup is the new testament in My blood;
this do ye…in remembrance of Me” (1 Cor. 11.24-25).

     INTRO.:  A song that was designed to help prepare our minds for
eating the bread that represents Christ’s body and drinking the cup which
represents His blood is “The Lord’s Supper” (#171 in “Hymns for Worship
Revised”).  The text was written and the tune was composed both by Tillit
Sidney Teddlie (1885-1987).  Born in Swan, TX, Teddlie was a gospel
preacher, singing teacher, and music publisher, but is best remembered as
a hymn writer, perhaps having produced the greatest number of usable
songs among members of the Lord’s church during the 20th century.  He
died at the age of 102.

     It would take pages just to list all the hymns that Teddlie provided
words or music or both for, but there are three which stand out.  Perhaps
his best-known song is “Heaven Holds All To Me.”  His greatest song is
likely “Worthy Art Thou.”  But very probably his most often used song is
this one.  In the summer of 1921, Teddlie heard Foy E. Wallace preach a
sermon on the subject of “The Duty of Constant Communion” at which time
eighteen souls responded to the invitation.  The sermon moved Teddlie to
begin this text, which he finished in the winter of 1922.  The song was
published by the Firm Foundation Publishing House of Austin, TX, in 1923.

     I do not have many early Firm Foundation books, and the earliest
hymnbook of my collection in which the song is found is the Gospel
Advocate’s 1935 “Christian Hymns” (No. 1), where C. M. Pullias is
identified as the owner.  The song appears in Teddlie’s 1938 “Spiritual
Melodies,” Marion Davis’s 1940 “Complete Christian Hymnal,” and the
Foundation’s 1944 “New Wonderful Songs.”  After its inclusion in the
Advocate’s 1948 “Christian Hymns No. 2,” it has been used in nearly every
hymnbook published by people associated with the church of Christ.

     The song reminds us of the importance of our eating the bread and
drinking the cup.

I. Stanza one emphasizes the communion
 A. “Sweet communion”–The bread that we break is a communion with the
body of Christ, and the cup is a communion with the blood of Christ: 1
Cor. 10.16
 B. “Hearts are brought in closer union”–the Lord’s supper is more than
just partaking of bread and drinking the cup; it is an act that involves
the whole heart or mind of man as we remember the death of Christ: Ps.
19.14, Matt. 15.8, Mk. 12.30, Eph. 3.17
 C. “While partaking of the bread”–the term “break bread” can be used as
a synedoche for the entire Lord’s supper: Acts 20.7

II. Stanza two emphasizes God’s love
 A. “God so loved”–the love of God is one of the grandest themes of the
Bible: Jn. 3.16
 B.” Loved, and gave the best of heaven”–He sent Jesus to die for our
sins: Rom. 5.8
 C. “Yea, for us His life was given”–we know that He loved us because He
laid down His life for us: 1 Jn. 3.16

III. Stanza three emphasizes the blood of Christ
 A. “All else surpassing”–I do not understand this to say that the
Lord’s supper is the single most important part of our worship, more
important than anything else in the service, but that when we do partake
of the Lord’s supper, it is to be more important to us than anything else
at that time, because we are to examine ourselves to partake worthily: 1
Cor. 11.26-29
 B. “Precious blood for you and me”–it is by the blood of Jesus Christ
that we have redemption: Eph. 1.7
 C. “Christ gently whispers, ‘Do this in My memory'”–Christ whispers to
us through the words that He spoke as recorded in the scriptures: Lk.
22.19-20

     CONCL.:  The chorus repeats the idea that in this precious feast we
can see wondrous love for you and me.  While this song has been used
frequently by brethren to prepare us for partaking of the bread and the
fruit of the vine to remember Christ’s death, perhaps more than any other
single hymn (some of my earliest memories of communion services in
worship even before I became a Christian and started partaking are of
this song), its message never grows old or stale.  Rather, it simply
helps to bring to our minds those important facts that we need to
remember about “The Lord’s Supper.”

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