Archive for July, 2015

Frequency of the Lord’s Supper

If we believe that the Lord’s Supper is “for the perpetual remembrance of the sacrifice of [Christ] himself in his death; the sealing all benefits thereof unto true believers, their spiritual nourishment and growth in him, their further engagement in and to all duties which they owe unto him; and, to be a bond and pledge of their communion with him, and with each other, as members of his mystical body” (WCF 29.1), wouldn’t it be a great blessing to a congregation to celebrate the Lord’s Supper every week? Are there any good arguments for observing the Lord’s Supper less frequently?

The two most common arguments I have heard are that celebrating the Supper weekly would (1) make it less meaningful and (2) make the service take too long. I find these arguments unpersuasive. In response to argument (1), I would reply that this argument could as easily be applied to the weekly reading of Scripture, singing of Psalms and hymns, prayer, or any of the other elements of worship. If we really believe that the Lord uses the Sacraments to communicate his grace to us for our spiritual nourishment, then it is the Lord, not us, who makes the Sacrament meaningful. In addition, I know from my own personal experience, and that of many others to whom I have spoken, that a more frequent observance of the Lord’s Supper only serves to bring the meaning of the Supper to mind more often, making it more meaningful, not less. In response to argument (2), I would reply that this is an argument from pragmatism, and if the pragmatics of how long the service takes are that important (which I’m not convinced should be the case), there are other ways of shortening the service without leaving out one of the means of grace which God has ordained for our good (e.g., leaving out a few verses of a hymn, asking the pastor to shave a few minutes off the sermon, etc.). In summary, I don’t think it’s a sin to observe the Lord’s Supper less frequently, especially if there are extenuating circumstances a church must work through (such as a lack of resources). However, if a church has both the resources and the opportunity to celebrate the Lord’s Supper weekly, I think it would only serve to bring the congregation closer to the Lord and to one another.

For a slightly more historical perspective, see this article.