John 4: 21-24
I just use this scripture to recall an impression I had on Lord’s day morning as to the intensity of the time at the Lord’s supper. We can easily reduce the level of it, especially if our memories are good, but I think the general tendency of scriptures that relate to worship, whether in the Old Testament or in the New, put the spirit of things to be reached at some level of intensity which seizes hold of the company that is there. It is not just to go over again things that have been said before, valuable though they are, but some impression came to me that the intensity of the time was something which would leave a mark upon us and would open the door with a great deal of substance in relation to the service on the Lord’s day morning. It is very easy to fall into a pattern, but if you get some distinctive impression that lays hold of you then the occasion takes on a new form, and certainly a new tone.
I use this scripture for the expression of Jesus, “neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem”, that is to say, as in Mr Darby’s hymn:
By sight, nor sense, defined. (Hymn 74)
We are taken out of the circumstances in which we are at the Supper as the service unfolds itself. We find that we are enjoying things on a level that we find difficulty in expressing by way of anything that amounts to description, but what we do find is that something happens in us because of the intensity of what the Spirit is able to work in the company and bring it out for expression and enjoyment. It does not require lengthy prayers or anything like that, but what it requires is the impression. Think of the value of that expression, “the name of the city from that day Jehovah is there”, Ezek 48: 35. You go to the Supper and have the emblems in remembrance of Him, but what you are going to touch is a place where the Lord is.
Then we have contact and experience with the Spirit, but then there is also a transcending aspect of things, “My Father … is greater than all”, John 10: 29. Think how that must imply intensity in the souls of those who can touch it. Such expressions are used by Jesus, they are not used by the woman, or by the disciples. They are used by Himself, bringing out that from His point of view one object of the gathering that follows the Supper is that believers who are participating should, in their spirits, be taken out of their ordinary environment and find the blessedness of that place where Jesus is.
These things occurred to me at the Supper on Lord’s day morning. I commend the thought to the brethren, not that we pray to have an intense time, but, as things work by the Spirit in the spirits of the brethren, I think it is possible for us to be lifted out of what we have always heard, out of what we speak of, out even of the scriptures that we have read. There is the power which comes into our spirits as we experience having our place with Jesus - certainly, “neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem”, not in a book or anything like that, but in the company of one another in whom we have confidence where there is the ability to enjoy the things of Jesus Christ together.
I leave this with the brethren because it was quite a distinct impression to me to be able to say how intense the time is, and yet it binds you into the circumstances of Christ and His Father.
26th August, 2008