Thursday, October 22, 2015

Weekly Communion: Theological Considerations (part one)

* The fourth in a series on the topic of weekly communion.  Originally appearing in our church bulletin.
Part two: Does Scripture Tell Us "How Often?" 
Part three: Some Church History 

In considering the topic of weekly communion we have looked at the flow of our service, some biblical data, and a little bit of church history.  Today we look at the theology of the Lord’s Table to determine what it teaches us about weekly communion.  Here I draw upon Keith Matthison’s work Given for You: Reclaiming Calvin’s Doctrine of the Lord’s Supper (Presbyterian & Reformed, 2002).  Matthison gives four theological arguments—two of which we look at today and the other two next week.

Matthison’s first point is:

“The Lord’s Supper is said by the apostle Paul to be the communion of the body and blood of Christ (1 Cor. 10:16).  Here we encounter the central mystery of the Lord’s Supper and probably the main reason why Calvin desired communion to be celebrated at least weekly.  In the Lord’s Supper, we truly commune with Jesus Christ.  Our union and communion with him is strengthened and nourished as we partake of his body and blood in the sacrament…  Why would any Christian not want this communion with Christ to be part of every worship service?”

Matthison goes on to state his second point:

“According to Scripture, the Lord’s Supper is also a proclamation of the death of Christ (1 Cor. 11:26)… Do believers not need to be continually reminded of this message, to hear this gospel?... If the Lord’s Supper truly is the proclamation of Christ’s death, as Paul says it is, why would any Christian not want this proclamation to be a part of every gathering for worship?”

As was stated a few weeks ago, we are not required to have weekly communion but the biblical theology of the Supper should move us.  As Matthison asks, “Why would we not want this every time we gather for worship?”  Given the glorious blessings that flow from this sacrament we should be a people eager for the Table of the Lord.

So today, let us commune with Jesus Christ and proclaim his death as we participate in the Table of the Lord!