Lord’s Supper – Frequency

How often should we partake of the Supper? In some churches it is quarterly, in many monthly, some bi-monthly and in ours weekly. Such varied regularity is an indicator that we are lacking in a particular (“proof”) text to offer explicit guidance on the topic. Proof texts lacking, there are, nevertheless, good Biblical reasons for us to share in the covenant meal more frequently rather than less. For example, we find the early church breaking bread as often as they met (Acts 2:46). In 1 Corinthians Paul exposes the errors of the church especially those relating to the holy meal.

we find the early church breaking bread as often as they met (Acts 2:46)

It’s in that context that he suggests they partake of the meal regularly when he says, “when you come together as a church…when you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper that you eat…”(1 Cor. 11:18a; 20). In other words, this is suggestive that every time they gathered they ate.

To be honest, I am not sure why many churches celebrate communion when they do. Honestly, I don’t think many have really thought too much about it. I know we never really did when I was on staff at a church that practiced it monthly. It’s just what we had always done and figured what everyone else did, except for those pesky Catholics who celebrate it every Sunday and we know that we don’t want to be like them. Whatever the reasons, Michael Horton is surely correct when he says, “One’s view of the nature of the Supper plays no small part in determining frequency.” Therefore, if the Supper is merely a time of reflection and remembrance then there would be no real need to celebrate it frequently because reflection and remembrance can be done in prayer, in song, or in secret. But if the Supper is a real and effectual instrument of extending God’s grace to his church and offers the unique vehicle for communion with the risen Christ, then we would expect it to be observed more frequently. Because of this, Calvin believed that the covenant meal should be partaken of “at least weekly.”

Objections to weekly communion are fairly standard, but the favorite goes like this. “If you observe it weekly then it will lose its excitement.” The logic is simple: familiarity breeds contempt. But consider such logic when it comes to preaching, prayer, or worship in general. Such a line of argumentation destroys all of Christian worship. In reality, however, if the supper becomes boring the problem is not with the supper but with us.

Therefore, let me encourage you to avail yourselves of the ordinary means of grace and especially the weekly communion we offer here. On the first and third Sundays, the supper is served in the morning and on the second and fourth Sundays, it is served in the evening. Make it a priority to be here for that.

Any thoughts?