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North Side Notes

Why we celebrate the Lord's Supper (most) every week

Posted by Kyle Edwards on

One of the most vexed questions in practical Christian ministry over the past thousand years or two is how often the Lord's Supper (aka Holy Communion, aka the Eucharist) should be celebrated. Should you do it a lot, like at least once a week? Or should you not do it a lot, like a couple of times a year?

At the North Side we celebrate it every Sunday except when we need to conserve time for special events like congregational meals or baptisms. But at the church I grew up in, a large Southern Baptist church, we only took it four times a year, and usually not in the morning service. 

So what accounts for the difference? Generally speaking - and this is a big "generally" - everyone agrees that the Lord's Supper is really important and that its importance affects how often it's celebrated. But this can go one of two ways. 

You could say that it's so important that we're only going to do it a few times a year. We need that extra time to prepare ourselves for it, and its infrequency keeps us from turning into just something else that we do every week. Scottish Presbyterianism took this road at one point. These were "high days" on the calendar, and the elders would meet with each and every person before the time came to make sure you were spiritually prepared for receiving the elements. You might even get some kind of form from them that you'd have to turn in when the day came to prove that the elders had admitted you to the Table!

Or you could say that Communion is so important that we should do it as much as we can. Preaching and praying and singing are all really important, and we do those things every week. The Lord's Supper is in the same bucket. 

This second route is the one we take. However, we can't be dogmatic about it either. The truth of the matter is that Scripture doesn't tell us explicitly how often we're supposed to celebrate the Sacrament. 

The most important thing I think is that we're doing it. And that's because we need it. It shows us the body and blood of our Lord. It confirms for us the blessings of the gospel purchased through that broken body and that shed blood. Without the Lord's Supper our understanding of and joy in the gospel would be severely diminished. So this Sunday, we're coming to the Table. 

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