“Of Thy Mystical Supper, O Son of God, accept me today as a communicant. For I will not speak of Thy Mysteries to Thine enemies, neither like Judas will I give Thee a kiss. But like the thief will I confess Thee: remember me O Lord, in Thy Kingdom.”

We hear this hymn on Sundays before approaching the chalice to receive Holy Communion, so I thought it would be nice to look at the words of the hymn a little more closely.

We begin by singing – “Of Thy Mystical Supper, O Son of God, accept me today as a communicant.” This is rather straightforward – we are offering a prayer that we be accepted, county worthy, of receiving the very Body and Blood of our God. Though a simple sentence, it carries great power. St. Paul says that receiving unworthily – not being accepted – is not unto our salvation , but unto our condemnation. So we begin by praying that we be made worthy and accepted as communicants of the Supper of the Son.

Then we make 3 statements:

“For I will not speak of Thy Mysteries to Thine enemies” – this has always been something that the Church held dear. It’s related to our Lord’s statement one time about not throwing pearls before swine. The Church is not a gnostic group with secret teachings only for the initiated, but the reality of life in God is that the works and ways of God are hidden and incomprehensible for those who are not close to Him. Even when speaking about Christians, St. Paul says that we grow, beginning on milk, and slowly maturing to being fed meat. We grow in God. And so this first statement is our participation in the reality that the Mysteries of God are only knowable to those who choose to follow Him. For those outside of the Church, we preach the Gospel, just like the Apostles and all the Saints have done.

“Neither like Judas will I give Thee a kiss.” – we go on to state, to pledge really, that we will not turn our back on our Lord. For money, Judas betrayed the Lord with a kiss. There are so many temptations we face and our options are really to cling to our God or to betray Him. The Fathers speak in this way concerning all sin, that all sin is a betrayal of our Saviour. So here we promise not to betray our God, which includes our daily struggle to put sin in all of its forms behind us and to cling to following Christ.

“But like the thief will I confess Thee: remember me O Lord, in Thy Kingdom.” – to be in the memory of God is to participate in His salvation. The thief didn’t ask for salvation, he asked to be remembered in the Kingdom, and Christ responded “today you will be with Me in Paradise.” No matter what our circumstances, even if we’re hanging on a cross, in our love for God our response is to confess Him. When we face difficulty it’s very tempting to turn our backs on God and to attempt to handle things on our own. So here we link a constant confession of the True God, a confession which makes us worthy of the Kingdom, with our partaking of the broken Body and the spilled Blood of the Lord. We will all have opportunities to be broken and spilled, and may God give us the grace to confess Him even in these times.

So perhaps as we hear the words of this beautiful hymn at tomorrow’s Holy Liturgy, and at others as well, we can look into our own lives and make sure that we’re living all three of these statements, all three of which are necessary (according to the hymn) for our acceptance as communicants of the Holy Mysteries of our Christ.

Author Matthew Jackson