Reading: Basis of Union of the United Reformed Church (1972) section 15
The United Reformed Church celebrates the gospel sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. When in obedience to the Lord’s command his people show forth his sacrifice on the cross by the bread broken and the wine outpoured for them to eat and drink, he himself, risen and ascended, is present and gives himself to them for their spiritual nourishment and growth in grace. United with him and with the whole Church on earth and in heaven, his people gathered at his table present their sacrifice of thanksgiving and renew themselves, and rejoice in the promise of his coming in glory.
By including this paragraph on the Lord’s Supper from the Basis of Union, I do not in any way claim that this has for us the status of Holy Scripture. But, since I do not suppose that this is the bedtime reading for many of us, it is useful to be reminded from time to time of what we regard as the authoritative statement in our tradition of the meaning and significance of the Lord’s Supper. It deserves to be better known. Its structure most closely follows that of paragraph 10 of section 5 of the 1956 Statement of Faith of the Presbyterian Church of England; but some of the ideas (and wording) are drawn from the third paragraph of section 5.8 of the 1967 Declaration of Faith of the Congregational Church in England and Wales. Note the balance between Christ’s sacrifice on the cross in the second sentence and the people’s sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving in the last, the link between what the United Reformed Church does and what the whole Church on earth and in heaven does, and the way that the statement culminates in Christ’s coming in glory at the end.
When you reflect after Communion, ‘What have I done today?, say to yourself, ‘I have done more than on any day in the week. I have yielded myself to take part with the Church in Christ’s finished Act of Redemption, which is greater than the making of the world.’
P.T.FORSYTH, The Church and the Sacraments.
The Rev’d Professor David Thompson is a retired minister and a member of Downing Place URC in Cambridge.