From the Heidelberg catechism:
Question 105. What does God require in the sixth commandment?
Answer: That neither in thoughts, nor words, nor gestures, much less in deeds, I dishonor, hate, wound, or kill my neighbor, by myself or by another: but that I lay aside all desire of revenge: also, that I hurt not myself, nor willfully expose myself to any danger. Wherefore also the magistrate is armed with the sword, to prevent murder.
Question 106. But this commandment seems only to speak of murder?
Answer: In forbidding murder, God teaches us, that he abhors the causes thereof, such as envy, hatred, anger, and desire of revenge; and that he accounts all these as murder.
Question 107. But is it enough that we do not kill any man in the manner mentioned above?
Answer: No: for when God forbids envy, hatred, and anger, he commands us to love our neighbor as ourselves; to show patience, peace, meekness, mercy, and all kindness, towards him, and prevent his hurt as much as in us lies; and that we do good, even to our enemies.
But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.” (Luke 10:29-37 ESV)
Sire, it belongs, in truth, to the church of God, in the name of which I address you, to suffer blows, not to strike them. But at the same time let it be your pleasure to remember that the Church is an anvil which has worn out many a hammer. — Theodore Beza to the King of Navarre in France (1561)
After Abraham defeated the Shemite king Chedorlaomer, he brought a tithe to the priest-king Melchizedek, who served him a meal of bread and wine (Gen. 14).
Similarly, in a preliminary fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham, the nations of the world brought their wealth to Joseph, who gave them life by providing them bread (Gen. 41:53-57). In addition to this, Joseph seems to have had a position of cupbearer-advisor to Pharaoh (Gen. 44), so that it could be said that Joseph had become both chief baker and cupbearer (Gen. 40), the man of both bread and wine.
Thus, weekly communion: week to week we bring tithes, offerings and tribute to our priest-king (1 Cor. 16:2), and we find that Jesus, the greater Melchizedek (Heb. 5-7) and “son of Joseph” (Luke 4:22, John 6:42), is more, not less, prodigal than the shadows and types that came before him:
Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says Yahweh of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. (Mal. 3:10)
One of the things that is happening in the Lord’s-day worship service is that the church is conducting spiritual warfare. We see this throughout the book of Revelation, where it is the church’s songs and prayers that call forth God’s powerful action. We see it, too, in that God uses even the singing of babies to silence his enemies (Ps. 8:2 taken together with Matt. 21:16). Jesus prepares a table for his church in the very presence of her enemies (Ps. 23).
Thus, weekly communion: for when is the church not surrounded by enemies, and she must always find a table and an overflowing cup there.
One of the aspects of the church’s Lord’s-day worship is that we gather as the spiritual army of God to assemble before Jesus our commander. It is a sort of dress review or dress parade before our commander and king, in which we also receive instructions and orders for the coming week.
In the Old Testament, this military review occurred three times a year (Ex. 23:17), on three of Israel’s feast days (Ex. 23:14). This made it equally a kind of military banquet with the commander.
Thus, weekly communion: our dress parade before the king is always accompanied with a banquet.
The church gathered is Jesus’s bride. One of the aspects of Lord’s-day worship is that Jesus holds tryst with his bride.
Seemingly every other page of the Bible has something to do with food. Food is the chief avenue for the consummation of fellowship; if we are what we eat, then when we eat together, we become more united. We have already seen Jesus’s desire to eat with his church. Ahashuerus prepares a feast for his people (Esther 1). Esther prepares feasts for Ahashuerus (Esther 5, 7). Joseph prepares a table for his brothers (Gen. 43). Jesus prepares breakfast for his disciples, then instructs them to feed his flock (John 21). Melchizedek prepares a meal (of bread and wine!) for Abraham (Gen. 14), and Abraham later prepares a meal for Jesus and two angels (Gen. 18). In spite of their differences, Jacob and Laban share a meal to seal their covenant (Gen. 31:54). Jesus prepares a table for us in the very presence of our enemies (Ps. 23). Solomon and his bride banquet with and feast upon one another. In a sense, Jesus eats us into his body (Rev. 3:16, also considering we are the loaves of Lev. 24 and 1 Cor. 10), and we eat Jesus (John 6).
Thus, weekly communion: every tryst has its morsels and wine (e.g., Esther 5, 7), and every reunion its repast. Jesus provides not only enough wine when the groom meets with the bride, but also the best wine (John 2).
As I have previously suggested, the Lord’s supper has much in connection to the tribute, or grain, offering. The priests in Israel offered bread and wine to God every morning and evening (Num. 28:1-9), and additional bread and wine every Sabbath (Num. 28:10). The priests ate portions of the bread (Lev. 2) but had no portion of the wine, which was poured out entirely (Lev. 10:9). And interestingly, the tribute offering, together with the frankincense that accompanied it, is the only offering described as a memorial. Likewise, Jesus calls the Lord’s supper a memorial (1 Cor. 11, often confusingly translated “remembrance”).
Clearly Jesus means us to draw connections between his supper and the daily offering of bread and wine. This is one of the many ways in which the worship of the church has become a sort of transfiguration of temple worship; for example, the church is the temple (1 Cor. 3), we offer a sacrifice of praise (Heb. 13), and we draw near in worship (Heb. 10), which is sacrificial language. Likewise, as a kingdom of priests, we eat bread—and now drink wine!—together with God in his house.
Thus, weekly communion: if every priest offered memorial bread and wine every day that he stood in service in God’s house, how much more should we eat memorial bread and wine every day that we stand together as the house of God?