I read a sermon yesterday entitled “Sad Fasts Changed to Glad Feasts” preached by the late British Pastor Charles Haddon Spurgeon on at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London in 1890.
Here’s an excerpt where Spurgeon discussed the crucifixion and how it impacts our worship, in particular, our approach to Communion:
When the communion-table shall be uncovered, you will see before you, in the emblems of the death of our Lord, what might have been the memory of a fast.
The Lord of life and glory was nailed to the accursed tree. He died by the act of guilty men. We, by our sins, crucified the Son of God. We might have expected that, in remembrance of his death, we should have been called to a long, sad, rigorous fast. Do not many men think so even to-day? See how they observe Good Friday, a sad, sad day to many; yet our Lord has never enjoined our keeping such a day, or bidden us to look back upon his death under such a melancholy aspect.
Instead of that, having passed out from under the old covenant into the new, and resting in our risen Lord, who once was slain, we commemorate his death by a festival most joyous. It came over the passover, which was a feast of the Jews; but unlike that feast, which was kept by unleavened bread, this feast is brimful of joy and gladness. It is composed of bread and of wine, without a trace of bitter herbs, or anything that suggests sorrow and grief.
The bread and the cup most fitly set forth the death of our Lord and Saviour, and the mode of that death, even by the shedding of his blood; but as they stand before us now, they evoke no tears, they suggest no sighs.
The memorial of Christ’s death is a festival, not a funeral; and we are to come to the table with gladsome hearts, ay, and go away from it with praises, for “after supper they sang a hymn.” At both ends it was psalm-singing. The great Hallel of the Jews commenced it, and another psalm, full of joy and gladness out of the hallelujahs of the psalms finished it. Oh, what hath God wrought!
We crucified the Christ of God; but in that crucifixion we have found our ransom. With wicked hands he was slain by us; but his blessed sacrifice hath put all our sin away for ever. (paragraphs are mine to make the passage easier to read).
Good Friday (and every day really) we should reflect on the sacrifice that Christ made on our behalf, but instead of being somber, we should celebrate. Because of Christ’s death, we can have new life.
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