I. Communion As The Visible Word

One of the doctrinal distinctives that separate Reformed churches from others is that we consider the Lord's Supper or Communion as more than just a rememberance of Christ's suffering and death. We know the Supper to be the visible Word, a sermon for the mouth as the preached word is a sermon for the ears. Another way the Reformed have described the sacraments are as signs and seals. The Lord's Supper, therefore, is a visible sign of Christ's body being broken and His blood being shed for the remission of sins. The seal of the Communion table rests in that just as surely as my eyes can see the bread broken and the wine poured out for me, just as surely I can have assurance that Christ's sacrifice has paid the price for my sins. This concept of sign and seal is described in Question and Answer 66 of the Heidelberg Catechism:

66. What are the sacraments?
The sacraments are holy, visible signs and seals. They were instituted by God so that by their use He might the more fully declare and seal to us the promise of the Gospel. And this is the promise: that God graciously grants us forgiveness of sins and everlasting life because of the one sacrifice of Christ accomplished on the cross.

The Catechism is clear that not only are the sacraments visible signs and seals, but they were intended to more fully declare and seal to us the promise of the Gospel."

When a new kid at PYC hears the Good News proclaimed and is moved to put faith in Christ, by offering them the Lord's Supper we are complementing the preaching of the Word and giving the kids a visible sign that will reinforce to them that Christ has indeed given His life for them. For those kids who are attending regularly and have already trusted in Christ, the Lord's Supper is a strengthening of their faith and a new proclamation of God's love toward them. Again, the Heidelberg Catechism describes this perfectly in Question and Answer 75:

75. How does the Lord's Supper signify and seal unto you that you share in Christ's one sacrifice on the cross and in all His gifts?
In this way: Christ has commanded ALL believers to eat of this broken bread and drink of this cup in rememberance of Him. With this command He gave these promises: First, as surely as I see with my eyes the bread of the Lord broken for me and the cup given to me, so surely was His body offered for me and His blood poured out for me on the cross(new kids). Secondly, as surely as I receive from the hand of the minister and taste with my mouth the bread and the cup of the Lord as sure signs of Christ's body and blood, so surely does He Himself nourish and refresh my soul to everlasting life with His crucified body and shed blood(kids who regularly attend).

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