The Lord's Supper, Why Not Weekly?
The Lord’s Supper, Why Not Weekly?
In this writing it is the intention to seek to establish that biblically the Lord’s Supper is to be taken frequently. As will be indicated below the practice in observance of the Lord’s Supper after the resurrection and ascension of our Lord was to seek to develop a weekly norm in partaking the Lord’s Supper. If you will note there is no scriptural normative for the observance of the Lord’s Supper monthly or yearly, It is the evidence of the Scripture that establishes at least a weekly partaking of the Supper as being the minium biblical pattern and set practice.
With a scriptural observation of the progression of the Lord’s Supper one finds that the Apostles were dispensing the Lord’s Supper on a daily basis (Acts2). Therefore we could say that it could be appropriate if the church wanted to gather daily for the word, pray and communion that would be acceptable. Some through out history have a daily communion service. However in our busy culture and society that would in almost all instances be impossible to practice as a church.
With the early church becoming established she began observing the Lord’s Supper weekly. (Acts 20:7; I Cor 11:20-2; I Cor 16:1). Paul acknowledging that the church came together on the Lord’s Day (1 Cor. 16:1) also identifies the problems surrounding the infantile churches abuses in the administration and partaking of the Lord’s Supper. Even with the abuses he in no manner directs an infrequent observance of this sacrament. However he reestablishes its purposes and meaning as well as the duties of the community of recipients.
Now while we see the progression from daily to weekly communion we can state in the affirmative that a biblical norm was established in the New Testament church. Therefore the regulative worship in the Bible would be closer adhered to if there is an established weekly communion of God’s called people rather that a planned monthly, quarterly or yearly communion as some churches practice.
With the Lord’s Supper being a means of grace, along with the preparatory self examination and with the the post Supper duties required it seems good for the church to benefit from the Lord’s Supper weekly.
Proposition # 1 That the scriptures record the Lord’s Supper three times shows it of great importanceto the church and therefore establishes that is is to be be a common and frequent practice in the Church. (Matt. 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:17-20; I Cor. 11:23-26f.)
Proposition # 2 The language of the WCF XXIX:1 is language that supports frequent communion both in the observance and the effects of the grace bestowed therein:
1. Our Lord Jesus, in the night wherein He was betrayed, instituted the sacrament of His
body and blood, called the Lord's Supper, to be observed in His Church, unto the end of the
world, for the perpetual remembrance of the sacrifice of 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.
Proposition # 3 Since the self preparation for reception of the Lord’s Supper is a call to examination of the basic pious duties of the Christian life therefore frequent (weekly) partaking of the Lord’s Supper should be observed.
WCF Question 171:
How are they that receive the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper to prepare themselves before they come unto it?
Answer: They that receive the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper are, before they come, to prepare themselves thereunto, by examining themselves of their being in Christ, of their sins and wants; of the truth and measure of their knowledge, faith, repentance; love to God and the brethren, charity to all men, forgiving those that have done them wrong; of their desires after Christ, and of their new obedience; and by renewing the exercise of these graces, by serious meditation, and fervent prayer.
Proposition # 4 That the Lord’s Supper is a community meal evidences that the Supper is to be as frequent as when God’s people are gathered together XXIX:3 (Heb. 10:24-25).
The Lord Jesus hath, in this ordinance, appointed His ministers to declare His word of
institution to the people; to pray, and bless the elements of bread and wine, and thereby to set
them apart from a common to an holy use; and to take and break the bread, to take the cup, and
(they communicating also themselves) to give both to the communicants; but to none who are not then present in the congregation.
Proposition # 5 The “after Supper” Christian duties being mental contemplation, and for progressive sanctification is basic duty all believers are to continually do therefore once again evidencing the frequent need to partake of the Lord’s Supper.
WLC Question 175:
What is the duty of Christians, after they have received the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper?
Answer: The duty of Christians, after they have received the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, is seriously to consider: How they have behaved themselves therein, and with:
1. What success;
2. if they find quickening and comfort, to bless God for it, beg the continuance of it,
3. watch against relapses,
4. fulfill their vows, and
5. encourage themselves to a frequent attendance on that ordinance:
but if they find no present benefit, more exactly to
1. review their preparation to, and carriage at, the sacrament; in both which, if they can approve themselves to God and their own consciences, they are to wait for the fruit of it in due time: but, if they see they have failed in either, they are to be humbled, and to attend upon it afterwards with more care and diligence.
Proposition # 5 The Lord’s Supper being a sacremant is a sign and seal of covenant promises of salvation and the full deliverance brought by Christ, the power of the Holy Spirit and the effectual work of the Word.
Of all that has been proposed and the resons for them set forth then the question is simply put, “Why would the Church want anything else than a weekly observance of the Lord’s Supper?