What if we observed the Lord’s Supper every Sunday?

If we celebrated the Lord’s Supper every time we meet for worship, how would that affect us? I have been wondering. In the free Protestant tradition of which I am a part there is much emphasis on the word “free.” The shackles of liturgical requirements are lifted, and there is a lot of emphasis on human creativity for communication purposes. If I have heard it once, it has been said thousands of times: the worst thing we can do is bore people with the most exciting message ever announced… There is a part of me that absolutely yearns for those moments when we all come alive with our personal expressions of response to the God among us – through song, dance, the arts, reenactments through drama, etc. Truly God becomes touchable, feelable, and we become like statues come alive, animated by the life of God within. And yet (and I bet you have noticed) when we walk into a sanctuary and there is a communion table with the elements symbolizing Christ’s death upon it, there is a gravity we feel. The breezy, chatty banter makes way for the great realities of sin and atonement. We enter into an atmosphere where our natural distance from God and the supernatural grace of mercy that enables us to draw near give the worship service an aroma of a another kind.

I am reminded of the Old Testament prescription that the altar should be built out of unchisled stones, set upon earth, and that the priest should only go up to the altar fully clothed so that his nakedness should not be exposed. (Not a bad prescription for praise teams that need to give a second thought about distracting appearances). All of this seems to say that in worship human instrumentality does not come front and center but the presence of God. And my guess is that there is nothing that puts God more front and center than the Lord’s Supper.

The Lord’s Supper doesn’t introduce anything new or creative to the service. Jesus called it a reminder; it brings us back to the old and the everlasting in a way appointed by Jesus Himself. In a lot of free Protestant churches, the Lord’s Supper is squeezed into services where there usually wouldn’t be room, almost like an afterthought, appendage or even an interruption in “worship as usual.” My guess is that if it was more central, there would a whole lot less silliness in our worship services and more power in dealing with the sin in our lives.

The Lord’s Supper says to all who observe that this is no trivial thing we do. It might not make you laugh and feel like going out for an ice cream afterwords, but it could feed your soul and make you strong.

7 thoughts on “What if we observed the Lord’s Supper every Sunday?

  1. I’m not fimiliar with how the tradition of serving wafers and a shot of wine came about in the church. But it seems to me that Jesus was telling his followers to think about and remind themselves of the significance of Jesus body and blood whenever they gathered for a meal. I think the significance of the curtain seperating the Holiest portion of the temple , the part where only the high priest was allowed to go, was to remove all the barriers so we no longer needed to worship or offer our repentence at an earthly alter. But that also put the responsibility of developing that relationship with God that would make our approach to God a heartfelt sincere expression of our committment to Him and not just go through the motions of a ceremonial type of thing.
    But having said that, I not sure I could maintain the significance of the bread and wine if I would celibrate it at every event where food was served between believers. Things we do habitiually tend to lose their meaning. When we celibrate this event during service, I get to focus and realize the gravity of the event and bring myself to a much deeper repentance and realization of how much I need a Savior in my life. And that the price paid because for my pathetic life was more than just a story passed down through the years.
    Should we celebrate it more often? Yes, I think it would be appropriate to think of the cost Jesus paid every time we gather and break bread with other believers. But we shouldn’t neglect to keep this celebration fresh and part of our Sunday services so that we don’t lose its’ significance.

  2. YES! I agree. I would love to meet every week to share in the Lord’s Supper. I need to be reminded often of what Jesus did and why He did it. I need to be reminded often of my sin, to examine myself, to forgive others and to know that I am forgiven. There’s always the risk of it losing it’s meaning by becoming habitual, but I’m more inclined to think it would become a place to strenthen us spiritually.

  3. In the Old Testament, there was a time when God would tell His people that they were to take a certain time apart to celebrate before Him. They were to eat and drink before Him, recognizing the whole time that He was the reason for their celebration. Under the New Covenant, the Lord’s supper is meant to reflect the same thing, only with Jesus Christ being recognized as the reason for celebration. The 5 minute bread and wine/juice thing does not allow Christians to truly celebrate before the Lord the way God intended it to be celebrated. Celebration by a short ritual every week, though well intentioned, would diminish the significance of the celebration. It was meant as a time for fellowship, eating, and drinking – again, basically enjoying a meal with Him as the focus and recognizing that He is the reason for our being. This can be somewhat more appropriately accomplished through dinners at someone’s home, periodically. But, in my opinion, this bread and wine/juice thing is not at all the supper it was intended to be. It could more appropriately be called the Lord’s snack.

  4. Jesus was celebrating the Passover Seder when he commanded us to break bread and drink wine in rememberance of Him. Here’s a brief portion of the Passover celebration as it relates.

    (Early in the Passover service in the time of Jesus, the first food required was, and still is, the dipping of a bitter herb into fruit vinegar or salt water. This ritual recalled the bitter bondage in Egypt, and the Jewish sages said that it was “a sign of freedom and well-being,” apparently now that the Jewish people were no longer enslaved. The master of the festival prepared a portion of the dipped bitter herb and gave it to each guest to eat. There were then, as there is still, two kinds of dipping during the ritual. In the Fourth Gospel, John described the dipping of the “sop” (KJV – John 13:26). The second dipping is composed of a mixture of figs, nuts, fruit and cinnamon, representing the mortar with which the Hebrews were forced to make bricks with straw. A bitter herb and a portion of this mixture taken between pieces of matzah are eaten.
    Traditional Ritual and New Words
    Also, early in the Seder, a plate with three unleavened loaves – “matzoth” – was exhibited. These were called “the bread of affliction” – quoting Deuteronomy 16:3. This plate is still exhibited as “the bread without yeast” which was eaten in haste on the night of the Hebrews’ exodus from Egypt. It was this matzah which Jesus took up before the meal was served, pronounced the traditional blessing, broke it and gave it to His disciples – with a new word:
    This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.)

  5. Do we protect the value of the Lord’s Supper by celebrating it less often than more often? Or, to put it another way, should we preach the Word of God less so that when we hear it, we would appreciate it more? Our usual answer to the latter is no. Of course, Protestants are afraid that rituals would be elevated to such a place that Christians would trust in the ritual rather than in what the ritual symbolizes. The Reformers, such as Calvin and Luther, emphasized that the preaching of the Word must accompany the sacraments at all times less the sacraments be perceived as acting in what they called “ex opere operato,” acting on the soul in and of themselves apart from the faith of the receiver with power in and of themselves. But I wonder if we have so subjectivized the church that it becomes merely a reflection of our own states of being. It is a uniquely Protestant characteristic to walk away from worship and evaluate it, as in, “wasn’t the music inspiring today,” or “the Pastor was clearly off his game today,” or “couldn’t you just feel the Spirit today.” The Lord’s Supper, in one sense, stands over against me. It roots the worship experience in something objective that calls me out of myself. It is not creative, inspiring, unusual, extraordinarily powerful, or whatever terms might be used. It just is! And it calls me back to just what is – Christ on a cross dying for sinners.

  6. We are told to “… preach the Word in season and out of season…” and “…always be ready to give a reason for the hope…”. The comparison or equating of the Lord’s supper to the preaching, hearing, or teaching of the Word of God does not make sense. We are told to always be ready to speak the Word of God when the opportunity arises so as to possibly reach someone with the message of salvation. Concerning the commemoration of what the Lord has done for us, this is not so. Christmas, Easter, the Lord’s Supper, Passover,… are not celebrations that we are asked to celebrate on a daily basis, as with the command to be ready at all times to speak His words through faith. Obviously, the Word of God must be spoken since we cannot celebrate His sacrifice for us without reminding ourselves of His Word. But the Lord’s Supper is hardly the place for preaching or teaching. Again, it is meant as a celebration. The Lord wants us to celebrate before Him.

    Nobody is saying that it should be celebrated less. The initial forum question was whether we should celebrate it more often. Though this question is worth discussion, how often we celebrate His supper should not be more important than HOW we celebrate it as a body. Is there unforgiveness festering when we do celebrate it? Is there unresolved animosity between brothers or sisters as we celebrate it? Are we celebrating before Him with the right, hearts, minds, and motives? Is it really a celebration and commemoration? Do we truly recognize that He is there celebrating with us? Are we in unity and peace as we, hopefully, fellowship with each other through him and with Him? This is where a short time of teaching and/or preaching would be appropriate, keeping in mind that, again, this is a celebration. These are questions to consider which, when answered, would very likely make the “how often” question easily answerable.

  7. I’m not sure how often we should celebrate the bread and wine. The Jews did it, actually still do celebrate the Passover once a year. But they go all out and have a proper celebration that puts it neatly in prospective. I guess it wouldn’t hurt to celebrate our bread and wine every day. However, in an attempt to center my thoughts on Jesus, I have my watch set to chime every hour. The purpose is to help remind me and help me focus on Jesus, no matter what I am doing. But after listening to this chime every hour for the last few years, I find I sometimes don’t even hear the alarm because I’m so used to it and when I do try and focus, I find I have my quick conversation with Jesus as a rote response. But I still do it because sometimes I manage to focus long enough to have a meaningful conversation. The bread and wine to me, is usually my deepest spiritual connection. I’m not sure I want to water it down.
    Maybe it would be pretty neat to have a full fledged last supper type clebration to commemorate the real last supper with all it’s symbolism and relationship to the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s