Address to Mourning Communicants

"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin." (Hebrews 4:15)

Afflicted one—We cherish the hope that you have been able today to have your own sorrows soothed by close and endearing fellowship with the Man of Sorrows. We trust that Jesus, the Prince of Sufferers, has met you at His own Table, and solaced you, alike with the assurance of His exalted sympathy and with hopes that are full of immortality. Yes, even though the very sacredness of the Table of Communion—the sacredness of its associations with the 'loved and lost,' may have made, for the time, your sadness deeper, and the blank more real—yet, like the two disconsolate Marys, hurrying from the spot dearest to them on earth, have you not been met by your Lord in the way? Has not Jesus, the Prince of Consolers—the peerless Comforter—been found standing, as in their case, on the very path of your trouble, ready to dry your tears and hush your sadness with the old joyous salutation—"Don't be afraid!" He, the thorn-crowned King, whom you have seen through expressive symbol evidently set forth crucified, has been soothing your sorrows by pointing you to His own. His own! What a cup of suffering was that! filled to the brim! anguish which had its exponent in "the great drops of blood" and the Eloi cry! There are generally some mitigations in the case of the severest earthly afflictions—some drops of comfort mingling in the bitter draught. In His case there were none. "All Your waves and billows have gone over me." In that solitary, unsolaced hour, He could plaintively echo the prophetic utterance, "I have trodden the wine-press alone!"

But, blessed lesson to gather under the shadows of Gethsemane's Garden and Calvary's Cross—"In that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to support those who are tempted!" Blessed lesson, moreover, to have learned at that Holy Table, that, under life's darkest experiences, there is a Brighter than the brightest material Sun to dispel the gloom; yes, and that after earth's longest and dreariest night-watches, there is a "breaking in the Eastern Sky," a joyful morning at hand, whose Sun shall no more go down, neither shall the moon withdraw itself, but where the Lord your God shall be your everlasting light, and the days of your mourning shall be ended.

Leave, then, the Communion Table behind you, with the vision of the Crown rising above the Cross—taking up this as your 'Song in the night'—"For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" (2 Cor. 4:17).

"Fainting and footsore toil we in the way;
No manna glistens in the desert sod;
Yet here, to earnest souls that kneel and pray
Is given—the Bread of God.
Resting beneath His Shadow cool and sweet
We gain fresh strength for conflict with our foes;
Here the lone desert, with its sultry heat,
Does blossom as the rose.
And though these earthly shadows, dark and dim,
Veil from our sight His blessed presence now;
Yet faith, exulting, lifts her eyes to Him,
And sees the thorn-crowned Brow!
Waves from the ocean of His mighty love
Break in rejoicing on the expectant shore,
Whispering sweet voices of the Land above,
Where storms shall be no more."
—R. H. Baynes