I gotta have my orange juice.

Jesu, Juva

Weekly communion

with 2 comments

Over the past seven months I have written a series of blog posts arguing for the practice of weekly communion in the church. Weekly communion is not something for which we have an explicit command in scripture, so at best it is possible to establish it as a “good and necessary consequence” of scriptural examples and commands. This makes it a question of fittingness, betterness, and wisdom rather than a matter of right and wrong that ought to bind everyone’s conscience equally. Still, we ought to pursue not only what is permissible but also what is best, and I hope that you will consider with me the merits and blessings of celebrating weekly communion in the church. What follows is a set of arguments primarily from biblical theology and biblical typology: what you might call a sort of typological logic. You may find a few of these arguments to be somewhat fanciful, but I hope that you will find them to be cumulatively persuasive.

  1. In everything, eucharist!
  2. Jesus knocks: will we open the door and have a meal with him?
  3. Worship is sacrificial, so as priests we too have a daily partaking of bread and wine
  4. Worship is a tryst, thus morsels and wine
  5. Worship is the gathering of the host, a dress review banquet
  6. Worship is spiritual warfare, and we must always find a table set in the presence of enemies
  7. Tithing is linked with bread and wine via Abraham and Melchizedek, and is to result in “food in my house”
  8. Worship is not only a tryst, but a jealousy inspection, a day of the Lord
  9. Bread is to be set out continually in God’s house
  10. There is nothing better than to eat, drink, and be joyful
  11. Joyful feasting is commanded on the day of the Lord
  12. Following Moses’s inspired application, Sabbath feasting is how we obey the fourth commandment
  13. The church’s week to week experience ought to be a taste of God’s blessing rather than his judgment and withdrawal
  14. Whether or not we eat communion, we are showing forth something about the kind of table Jesus sets for his people
  15. Worship is covenant renewal, and to renew covenant is to feast
  16. Worship is in fact the renewal of a marriage covenant, and is it even necessary to ask how often a husband and wife should get together?
  17. Now that we have a perpetual sacrifice and are made permanently holy, we are continually in a festal season
  18. Worship ought to be accessible to all, from the least to the greatest
  19. The worship service that the early church inherited from the apostles was a Eucharistic service
  20. To enter God’s gates with thanksgiving is to enter them with a thanksgiving feast

While Jesus may graciously overlook the fact that much of his church today does not practice weekly communion, we still ought to consider whether it is better for us not to practice weekly communion, and for this I think we have hardly any excuse. God could have chosen the ongoing renewal of his covenant to take many forms, and he chose to cast it as a meal, a covenant meal, a family meal, for very good reasons. It is a widely acknowledged truism even among unbelievers that families ought to to eat together as much as possible.

I hope you will find that this has not only brought to mind the merits of weekly communion, but also other applications. There are many additional worthwhile directions we could take our investigation, and perhaps your mind is already reaching towards some of them. For example, we could ask whether it is better to use wine or grape juice in communion; whether it is better to use bread or crackers; what is the most fitting portion size for communion celebration; whether communion should tend to a penitential or a celebratory tone (Deut. 14:26, Neh. 8:9-12); just what kind of self-examination the apostle Paul means for us to make; whether little children ought to have a place at Jesus’s table (Ex. 10:9-11); where communion ought to fall in the order of worship and whether it ought to carry the burden of confession and absolution; the appropriateness or impropriety of individuals’ withdrawing from the table; and what sort of passages might be appropriate for use in communion exhortation beyond the tried and true words of institution. Perhaps we will consider some of these in the future if time permits.

Written by Scott Moonen

January 9, 2016 at 10:12 pm

2 Responses

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  1. […] to my weekly communion jaunt, a friend asked whether I see communion as central to the liturgy, and what elements of the service […]

  2. […] this post I move from consideration of weekly communion to the use of wine in the Lord’s supper. While both wine and grape juice may be permissible […]

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