We participate in communion, the Lord’s Supper, on a regular basis as part of Sunday worship.
Why do we participate in the Lord’s Supper regularly?
1- The Biblical Record
Sharing communion was a regular practice in the life of the church. Jesus instituted the communion meal at the Last Supper, indicating the regular occurrence the meal would play in the life of the gathered believers, “Do this in remembrance of me.” In 1 Corinthians 11 the apostle Paul discusses the importance of the shared meal, as well as theological and practical implications for the life of the church. In Acts we regularly find the church “breaking bread” together. And Luke tells us that this was a daily practice among the church in Jerusalem. If this was so important to Jesus and the church for the first few hundred years of its existence, then should it be important to us? Yes, it should.
2- Habit and Spiritual Rhythms/Disciplines
As Protestants, we can sometimes fear tradition and repetition. The question that comes up the most is, “Won’t doing it every week take away its meaning?” No, it should not (or at least, we don’t think it will!). Sometimes communion will connect with us more than at other times. This is to be expected. But worship is not about our feelings. Worhsip is about giving God the praise he deserves—regardless of how each of us is feeling. If our only focus is to make the church gathering fresh and new, we run the risk of making our gatherings about us—rather than about gathering before God and bringing Him glory.
In both the Old and the New Testament God regularly calls his people to remember. In the Old Testament as Israel wandered through the wilderness for 40 years, God spoke over and over again, “Remember I am the Lord your God; I am the one who brought you out of Egypt.” God’s reminds the Israelites that as they move forward, they are not to forget who God is and what he has done. The same God who delivered them is the same God who is going before them. In the New Testament Jesus instituted the communion meal at the Last Supper, and he said, “Do this in remembrance of me.” Once again, believers are called to remember. As Christ-followers move forward in life and time, we do so with one eye looking back and the other eye looking forward. We remember Jesus’ sacrifice and all of its implications for us. And as we develop the habit of remembering, it can actually buttress our faith in a powerful way. It can enable us to move forward boldly in the name of Jesus. So, in this sense, we participate in communion every week because we want to remember rightly. And it is a spiritual discipline. Habits and traditions are not always empty or hollow. Our habits form our hearts.
3- The Sacraments
As Protestants, we have two sacraments: (1) Baptism and (2) Communion/Lord’s Supper. If communion is a sacrament, should we not make it a regular practice within the life of our church? If we practice communion every week, then will the act lose its power and meaning? No. Humans do not give the act its meaning. That is Jesus’ role—and he instated it with great meaning. Again, what if it just becomes routine? Then refer back to #2 Habits and Spiritual Rhythms above. It is a habit that still has great power and forms us through remembering rightly each week as we gather together and participate in this sacrament of God’s Church in Christ through the Holy Spirit.
If you have any questions about communion, please contact Pastor Chris directly.
What about children and communion?
As parents, we must give spiritual guidance to our children by being ready to respond to their questions about communion and their desire to participate in this worship activity of the church. For more information about what communion means and how to give guidance to children, see the Your Child & Communion document below.