Monday, October 5, 2015

Weekly Communion: The Flow of the Service

* I started a short series for our church bulletin outlining some thoughts on the practice of weekly communion.

Today we celebrate the Lord’ Table.  In other words, we get to come to Jesus’ table and commune with him.  As 1 Corinthians 10.16 states:

Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ?

This language of “sharing” is the language of fellowship or communion.  Jesus Christ gave us this meal to strengthen his people in communion with himself.  In light of this think about the flow of our worship service as it leads up to the Lord’s Table.

First we are called to worship.  This is a summons from the God of grace to enter into his presence to worship him.  There is, next, a confession of sin from us and then an assurance of pardon from God based in his word.  We then seek God in prayer through the pastoral prayer and the Lord’s Prayer.  We are then to hear from God’s word.  We do this through the scripture readings and the sermon.  Interspersed throughout all these activities is the singing of God’s people in worship and praise.  From the word we come to the Table of the Lord to commune with him.  This should be a time of joyous fellowship with Jesus Christ and his people.  Having been fed at the Lord’s Table we end the service with a charge to go forth in faithfulness and benediction to bless us as we go.  There is a natural movement in the service from call to confession to pardon, to prayer, to Word to Supper, to benediction.

Why is this important?  Session recently approved the weekly observance of the Lord’s Supper.  This means that every week will be following this trajectory of worship which also includes the Lord’s Supper.  Over the next few weeks I will be writing here in the Pastor’s Pen about the biblical, theological, and historical reasons why weekly communion is a good practice.  I hope to also address some potential concerns, such as: “If we do the Lord’s Table every week won’t it be less special?” 

Keeping our eyes on the flow of the service will help us see the journey we are on each Sunday.  The elements of the service are not disjointed pieces thrown together. Rather, they are steps on a journey into the presence of God.  Our journey ends up at the table of the Lord Jesus and then he sends us out into the world with his blessing.  Since the Lord’s Table so clearly speaks of the gospel our participation in this Christ given practice is simply one more way we manifest our love for the gospel message.