Communion: Why do we have communion (the Lord’s Supper) every week?
The question of how often to partake communion in church worship services has been a matter of discussion for centuries since the New Testament church was launched. Many evangelical churches celebrate communion periodically – monthly or quarterly. There’s no clear command in Scripture as to how often we’re to receive the Lord’s Supper and for this reason, many churches have decided not to offer it weekly because they don’t want it to become routine or lose its special status.
If this is our reasoning at VBC, does that mean we should also avoid praying too often, or reading the Bible too much? All of these acts of worship don’t lose their significance because we practice them too frequently, but because we don’t recognize our dependence on our Heavenly Father, or the ongoing significance of the crucifixion and resurrection in our lives, and the depth of power available to us in and through them. Communion isn’t just special – it’s the sacred centerpiece of our worship and our lives. It reminds us of the supreme sacrifice Christ offered and the New Covenant that’s now been made available to us through the shedding of his blood. Is that only worth celebrating occasionally?!
In Acts 2:42, Luke explains that one of the key activities to which the early church was devoted as often as they gathered was the breaking of bread, or communion. Luke also records in Acts 20:7, “On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight.” Even though we’re not commanded to observe communion each week, the teaching of Scripture indicates that believers shared the Lord’s Supper often – even as often as they gathered.
So at VBC, when we observe communion each week at the conclusion of our worship services, it allows us to reflect on everything that comes before it, and focus on the cross of Christ and his return as our eternal hope and joy. During communion, unbelievers are also confronted with the gospel as they see the work of Christ portrayed before them, as believers symbolically partake of the body (bread) and blood (wine) of Jesus. The unsaved are also being reminded that the benefits of the New Covenant are only available to those who trust and follow Jesus.
Since the Lord’s Supper is of such value, importance, and significance to the gathered church, the real question we should be asking isn’t why we have communion every week – it’s why wouldn’t we?