It is a very serious matter. The remarks should be appropriate and to the point. The purpose of the remarks is to call attention to the Lord’s Supper. Soberness, not humor is the order of the moment. Brevity is best.
The Giving of Thanks
The proper giving of thanks in the Communion is as essential to its Scriptural observance as the proper handling of the elements afterwards. Some brethren, who are so careful to use one loaf and one cup, are so careless in the expression of the thanks. Let us notice the simplicity of Christ’s example and imitate it.
(1) For the bread – “And he took bread, and gave thanks” (Lk. 22:19). “Jesus took bread, and blessed it” (Matt. 26:26). You will notice that he took the bread before he gave thanks for it. Is it not safe to follow this example? The thing that he took is the thing that he blessed or gave thanks for. I have heard brethren. waiting on the Lord’s Table, thank God for the day, the privilege of being there and for the privilege of partaking of the Communion (which all may be very well), and then fail to thank God for the very thing taken and which is to be eaten? Personally, I prefer a brief giving of thanks for the thing itself. But if brethren intend to give thanks for other things, it would be very wise to express thanks for the essential thing first to make sure it is not left out.
(2) For the cup – “And he took the cup, and gave thanks” (Matt. 26:27). Following the same pattern Christ first took the cup and then gave thanks for it. It is safe and Scriptural for this example to be followed today. Why should there be contention over it? If all will, voluntarily follow this example, confusion will be eliminated; and everyone’s conscience will be clear.
I observe that some brethren misdefine the bread and the cup in their thanksgiving. If you can not define them Scripturally, please do not define them at all, because God knows what they are. Give thanks for the bread and the cup, and it will be acceptable. After observing many mistakes in the wording of the thanks, I sought for a Scriptural wording of the spiritual significance of the elements of the Communion and found it.
Paul gives it in 1 Cor. 10:16 “The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?” In expressing thanks for the bread, if you want to give the scriptural significance of the bread, it would be safe to say what Paul did about it. The bread is the “communion of the body of Christ.” Some brethren thank God for the cup which is the blood. Christ never said the cup was His blood. The fruit of the vine in it is the blood. Some have asked me if I give thanks for the cup or the fruit of the vine in it. I use Paul’s own phraseology, which embraces both, and there is not a man on earth or a devil in hell that can cite a Scriptural objection against the words of inspiration. Paul said, “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?” (I Cor. 10:16). Paul pointed out what we “bless,” “the cup of blessing,” and explained “is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?” To avoid confusion and be sure, we can use Paul’s own language.
Some have fallen into the error of giving thanks for both the bread and the cup of blessing at the same time. It is better to be safe than sorry and right than wrong.
The Giving of Thanks is excerpted from The Communion by Ervin Waters