SENSING THE ATMOSPHERE IN THE MEETING AND
FOLLOWING THE FLOW OF THE SPIRIT
First, we must realize that we are coming to partake of the Lord. Then second, we need to get our spirit ready and exercised. The third practical matter concerning the Lord’s table is even more important. We also have to sense the atmosphere of the meeting and follow the flow. These matters are very strategic. In order to have a good meeting for the Lord’s table, we must have all these main items.
We may compare following the flow in the meeting to serving a feast, which requires that we know the proper way to serve. If we are to serve steak as the main dish, we must serve the steak first. We cannot serve ice cream as the first course in a feast of steak. We must know what the first course is and that the second course follows the first. Then we can have a proper feast in its proper courses. When we come to the Lord’s table, we have to sense the atmosphere of the meeting and follow the flow. In that meeting will we “serve steak,” or will we “serve fish”? We can, for example, stress what the Lord is, or we may stress the ascension and glory of the Lord.
In the meeting there is always a flow. We may illustrate the flow with a team playing a game. In basketball the five members of the one team do not play with more than one ball; they play with only one ball. In this sense, the ball follows a flow, as in a stream. If one person in a basketball game plays with a football, and others play with many different kinds of balls, that game will be a mess. In the best games, all the members play with one ball in one flow. For this we need practice.
Although it seems that there is not much wrong with our Lord’s table meeting, the tide of the Spirit is sometimes too low. This is due to the lack of the exercise of our spirit. Our spirit is not very living and strong. This may be due to the fact that we are afraid to make mistakes, but that still chokes us and quenches the Spirit.
Sometimes certain hymns frustrate the flow of prayer very much. At the beginning of the meeting there may be a real flow of prayer which is not fully expressed. This is not the right time to announce a hymn. Any hymn at such a time becomes a frustration to the flow of more prayers in the spirit. At other times, the worship to the Father may be the best portion of the meeting, but just when we come to the highest tide, a certain hymn again can frustrate the flow. Such a hymn can be like cold water poured on the fire. Just as we have the real sense that two or three more prayers will bring us to a climax, our mouths can be shut by the wrong hymn. To call a hymn in this way is the result of our forms, rituals, and knowledge. Therefore, we have to learn to sense the flow. We have to forget about mere knowledge. First we must sense the flow, and then we should exercise our proper knowledge to do things in an adequate, proper way. When there is a real flow of prayer, we should not do anything to frustrate it.
Sometimes we need a hymn to stir up the praying spirit. At other times, though, we should not call a hymn because the praying spirit is already present. To announce a hymn will stop the praying spirit. We have to follow the flow and not pay much attention to mere knowledge. To always say that after four or five prayers a hymn is needed to match the prayers is to act according to mere knowledge. The knowledge of the letter kills. We must pay attention to the flow. If there is a living flow, do not hinder it. Give the flow a free way to go on. We must learn to exercise the spirit to release something from within, and we must learn to always exercise the inner sense to take care of the flow.
THE WORSHIP TO THE FATHER
The fourth main point concerning the Lord’s table is the worship to the Father. The Holy Spirit always brings people to Christ, the Son. When we are inspired by the Holy Spirit, we say, “Jesus is Lord!” (1 Cor. 12:3). In the same way, the Son always brings people to the Father. If you have the Son, then you have the Father. First John 2:23 says, “He who confesses the Son has the Father also.” The principle here is that when we are touched by the Holy Spirit, we realize something of Christ, the Son, and when we experience the Son, He brings us to the Father. Therefore, after we have experienced the Lord at His table, we should not close the meeting. According to the principle, when we have experienced the Son, He brings us to the Father. It is not right to close the Lord’s table meeting without coming to the Father.
Hebrews 2:11b and 12 say, “He is not ashamed to call them brothers, saying, ‘I will declare Your name to My brothers; in the midst of the church I will sing hymns of praise to You.’” When does the Lord Jesus praise the Father in the church? It must be after the saints in the church have had the Lord’s table. After we have experienced the Lord, the Son brings us to the Father to praise the Father in the midst of His brothers. Matthew 26:30 tells us that after the Lord established His table, He came to the Father to contact the Father by singing a hymn with the disciples. This is the principle to follow. Whenever we enjoy the Lord, we have to be brought to the Father through the Lord. This is why after we enjoy the table, we have to follow the Lord to worship the Father. The first part of the table meeting is to remember the Lord by partaking of Him. After partaking of the Lord, then the second part of the meeting is a time to worship the Father, following the Lord as the firstborn Son. We are the many sons following Him to worship the Father.
All these four main points are mostly neglected in today’s Christianity. Neither the Catholic Church nor the so-called reformed churches pay attention to these matters when they have the “holy communion.” If we are going to have the Lord’s table, we must learn these four main items. We come to the table to partake of something of the Lord Himself. Therefore, we have to prepare our spirit, to cleanse ourselves, and to exercise the spirit to contact the Lord and enjoy Him. Then we learn the technique of how to sense the present atmosphere of the meeting and follow the flow in the meeting. If we all act as one “team,” we will enjoy the Lord adequately and properly. Out of this enjoyment in the spirit, we have the Son. Then the Lord as the Son of the Father leads us to the Father, and we follow Him to worship the Father. In this way we will have a full meeting in two parts for two purposes: to remember the Lord and partake of Him, and to worship and praise the Father.
(The Ground of the Church and the Meetings of the Church, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)