Is Communion the Black Sheep of Worship?
I am an advocate for churches to partake of communion every single week. I see more benefit in doing so weekly, as opposed to say, four times a year, which is more common in certain denominations. Now, let me be clear. We are not told in Scripture how often to partake of the Lord’s Supper. As a matter of fact, we are given freedom on this issue. 1st Corinthians 11:26 tells us: “For as often as you eat of this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” I believe that the New Testament is more focused on HOW we do it, than HOW OFTEN we do it. But, the frequency in which a church partakes, is a discussion worth having. I could mention more reasons why I think a church could benefit from partaking of the Lord’s Supper every single week, but I’ll just mention three: 1. The early church had weekly (maybe even daily) communion. This reason is good enough for me. The churches that were planted, pastored, and taught by the Apostles themselves practiced communion every single week. It was a priority for them. Their worship gatherings centered around this worship practice. The first believers made this expression of worship a priority, and I believe we should follow their example.
2. Communion is one of the few worship practices we are prescribed in the New Testament. The Old Testament had many guidelines for worship practices, and they were given for good reason. But for New Testament worshipers, we aren’t given very much instruction. We aren’t expected to observe the many worship feasts and festivals of the Old Testament. We don’t practice the various sacrifices and offerings. We don’t do ceremonial cleansing. But, we are instructed in a few things, and partaking of the Lord’s Supper is one of them. It is a shame when we make room for man-made practices like special music, drama, or altar-calls, but neglect a biblical practice of worship.
3. The arguments against weekly communion are pretty weak. I’ve heard people say that the reasoning for only doing the Lord’s Supper a few times a year, is so that it doesn’t become routine and they want to keep it special. I would argue that by doing it so infrequently, it looses its significance and importance (at least in the eyes of the worshipers). Besides, we wouldn’t apply that same logic to other expressions of worship such as singing, praying, sermons, and certainly not the giving of offerings. Again, I don’t believe your church (or mine for that matter) is living in sin by not partaking of weekly communion, but I do think we could benefit by revitalizing our focus on this practice and making it a priority in the worship culture of our churches.