It has been noted by many people at TSF that there has been a more frequent observance of communion over these weeks where varied service changes have taken place. And this has raised the question as to why? … will it now be weekly instead of monthly?
The quick answer is that it will be more frequent than in the past, though not a necessary feature of every Sunday gathering.
The primary reason for the larger emphasis is from a conviction that we need to have a greater focus upon the communication of the Gospel. Many Sundays the communion time fits very naturally with the teaching topic and passage of the day. Other times however, the topic is focused upon another area of biblical truth; and including the communion allows opportunity to incorporate a section of our gathering time again upon the Gospel.
The primary concern I always have heard over the years regarding such a frequent observance of the Lord’s Table is that such a pattern of recurrence will make the commemoration too common-place and routine, thus diminishing its meaning. I would grant that anything in the expression of faith that becomes rote loses its uniqueness and special qualities … but the answer is not to diminish the event, but to diminish the rote nature of the event by creatively making it a meaningful observance.
I often respond to the objection by saying this: Think about it – why is it only communion that we worry about losing its meaning? We would never say, “We should only pray once a month, because, if we pray every week, it won’t be special and we’ll just be uttering vain and repetitious phrases.” We would never say, “Preach, teach, instruct – it goes on every week and gets so tiring – let’s not have any teaching except once a month so that we don’t get so bored with it.”
One might respond that those examples are ridiculous – that the early church in the time of the Apostles gave themselves to prayer and teaching. Yes, they did. But what was the one, first, primary, central reason for which they gathered? It was to REMEMBER. That was the focus of the gathering – to remember the Gospel truth of Christ’s sacrifice … and along the way they prayed and taught the Scriptures. The early church would have NEVER gotten together without observing the communion.
So I would submit to you that our emphasis is the restoration of a rightful focus, and we want it to be meaningful in a fresh and new way each Sunday. We have no reason to meet; we have no life and relationship with God … without the incredible sacrifice of the body and blood of Christ – the innocent for the guilty. Let us – as oft as we do it – be awestruck in the memorial remembrance of the One who gave His life freely that we might live!