It is not uncommon to find ourselves doing things “just because.” For instance, we can get ourselves into a pattern of practice and not realize what we are doing or rather not realizing the gravity of what we are doing. We might pray in such a way that the words have become meaningless repetitions that we recite over our food. We might sing in such a way that the words are pretty, but our hearts are on the steak dinner we plan on having after worship. Usually, these repetitions come in when it is something we do frequently. I mean, must of us don’t just go through the motions when it is our kids birthday, after all it only comes around once a year. Most of us don’t go through the motions of major holidays like Christmas or Thanksgiving. We like everything to be “just right” for those holidays, especially if we are hosting that year. For things that come around even less frequently than that get even more special attention. A woman’s wedding day is a big deal. I know some that have been planning their wedding since they were five. Painstaking efforts are put into making certain that the dress, location, preacher, rings, flowers, décor, and reception are perfect.
This has led some to believe that if perhaps we limited the frequency we do things, we might enhance the importance of them in our lives. We get married once (hopefully), we get baptized once. We celebrate major holidays just once a year making them all super special. Why then shouldn’t we limit the frequency of religious practices to create the same ambiance?
More often than not, it is the Lord’s Supper that is put into this category. I have yet to hear anyone tell me that less frequent praying makes your prayer life better. I have yet to hear someone say that less frequent attendance at services enhances one’s faith. But, for the Lord’s Supper, I am often told that if we did it less, it would become more meaningful. Of all of the other religious practices we engage in it is true? Does my prayer become more special if it do it once a month? Does my singing become more heartfelt if I do it once a week? Does my devotion to God become stronger the more I stay away from his house? I think if we are honest we know the answer to these questions. No. No, I am not made spiritual stronger by avoiding worship. I contend the same is held true concerning the Lord’s Supper.
In I Cor. 10:16 Paul wrote, “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?” The Greek word translated as communion in this passage literally means fellowship or participation. (The NASB translates it as a sharing). What are we sharing in? The body and blood of Jesus Christ. The body which was broken for us. The blood was shed for my forgiveness. When we eat the bread and we drink the fruit of the vine it is our opportunity to have a part of that sacrifice. Every time we eat and every time we drink we are having fellowship with the divine. Why wouldn’t I want to do that often? Why would I want to do that once a month or once a year?
Of course, I don’t want to go beyond what is written. I want to be certain that my faith is based on God’s word and not my opinion (Rom. 10:16). How do I know how often God wants me to partake of the Lord’s Supper? In Acts 20:7 we find that the saints in Troas had gathered on the first day of the week to eat the Lord’s Supper. But, how do I know that did that every first day of the week? When God wanted something done annually he would tell them the exact day and the exact month. For instance, the Passover was to be kept on the 14th Day of 1st Month which was Nisan (Lev. 23:5). The Jews knew what that meant. There was no doubt that God intended every 14th day of the 1st month. If God wanted something done monthly he would tell them what day of that month he wanted it done. For instance, at the beginning of every month God expected them to offer a New Moon burnt offering (Num. 28:11). The Jews were not confused about the frequency. They did not ask for clarity to see if God meant every first of the month or if he meant they could only offer the new moon sacrifices on the first. And finally, if God wanted something done weekly he would specify the day of the week. For instance, he told the Jews to keep the Sabbath. We know that he meant all Sabbaths. We know that every time Saturday rolled around the Jews were to keep it, honor it, and not work. So, what does this have to do with the church’s practice of partaking of the Lord’s Supper?
The church gathered on the 1st day of the week. Which one? Unless otherwise specified in the text, according the pattern God has shown us, every first day of the week. Common frequency should no less weaken its significance than praying often.
Grinnell church of Christ
Website design by Blythe Data Recovery & Computer Repair, LLC
Understanding the Lord's Supper part 1
Volume 7 Issue 9