Celebrating the Vertical and the Horizontal

We often speak of the Christian life as having both a vertical and a horizontal dimension. We are in relationship with God – that is the vertical – and we are in relationship with one another – that is the horizontal. We catch this way of thinking from our Lord Jesus Himself, who taught that the greatest commandment in the law is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and strength, and the second commandment is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Here is the sum of a life that pleases God.

Both of these dimensions of the Christian life come together here at the feast table of the Lord’s Supper. Here we are ushered into the presence of God to feast on His Son, who promised that if we eat His flesh and drink His blood we have life indeed. Here we are nourishing our relationship with Christ by enacting a memorial of His death for us, by which we are delivered from our sin and made worthy of Him and His glory. That is the vertical dimension. Your love for God is stirred by receiving Christ through the bread and wine.

But there is the horizontal dimension also. We are all one body, the body of Christ. You are knit together in love as you partake together of one loaf and one cup. You forgive as you have been forgiven. You serve one another in love. You give your life for the brethren. You are a more thankful people. Why? Because you are one body. Why are you one body? Because you partake of one loaf and are indwelt by one Spirit, the Holy Spirit of God. This is made real in wonderful ways here at this table.

So here is your Christian life. Here is Christ broken and spilled out for you and filling you with Himself and uniting us together as a body. How precious is the sweet grace of God in Christ Jesus. Delight yourself in Him, for He is your Savior.

Come, let’s taste and see that the Lord is good.


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