Friday, October 30, 2015

Weekly Communion: Theological Considerations (part two)

* The fifth 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 
Part four: Theological Considerations (part one)

Today we continue to 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 looked at last week and the next two are listed this week.

The first theological reason centers around our unity in Christ.  We take the Lord’s Supper not just as individuals.  We take together.  It symbolizes our unity in Christ Jesus.  Matthison writes:

“The apostle Paul also tells us that the Lord’s Supper signifies the oneness of the body of Christ (1 Cor. 10:17)… If the faithful teaching of this truth accompanies the frequent  observance of the Lord’s Supper, it inhibits division because it repeatedly and forcefully emphasizes the sinfulness of worshipping with an unforgiving heart (cf. Matt. 5:23-24).”

Matthison then reminds us of the importance of partaking in the Supper as a remembrance of Christ and his work.  Weekly communion means that every week we get to do this aspect of what Jesus commanded us. 

“Jesus Christ commands that the Lord’s Supper be observed in remembrance of him (Luke 22:19; cf. 1 Cor. 11:24)… In the Lord’s Supper, we do not merely recollect these great acts of redemption.  We unite ourselves with the new covenant community for which they were accomplished.  If the Lord’s Supper is truly to be observed in remembrance of Christ’s mighty saving acts, why would any Christian not want this remembrance to be part of every Christian worship service?”

Nobody wants the Lord’s Supper to become a dull and meaningless ritual.  If it ever becomes that then something is wrong with us and our approach to the Table of the Lord.  The Lord’s Table is special.  Its specialness is found in what it is and all the theology it teaches.  Today let us enter into all its glory.  Let us demonstrate our unity in Christ as we remember him!