Why do we do that?—WEEKLY COMMUNION
We are in the middle of a mini series where we are considering why we do certain things at Table Rock the way we do. Today, Luke Miller is answering the question, “why do we include communion in our Sunday service on a weekly basis?”
The Bible is clear that communion is an important element for a body of believers to partake in regularly. However, there is far less clarity about exactly how this is to be exercised or how often. Across denominations and churches, there exists a multitude of ways that God’s people celebrate communion. At Table Rock Church, we have chosen to include this most sacred of meals on a weekly basis. Because taking communion on a weekly rhythm may be more frequent than many people have experienced at other Christian churches, it begs the question, “why?”
One of the primary reasons we include communion every Sunday is the clear presentation of the gospel—the good news that Jesus died on the cross on our behalf to reconcile us to God—that it provides. Through communion, we remember that our sin demands the punishment of death and such punishment must be paid in order to restore our relationship with our just and holy God. Christ condescended by coming to earth and lived a life without sin or blemish, honoring the Father in every way, so he could be the perfect sacrifice on our behalf. He took our sin upon himself, exchanging his righteousness for our unrighteousness, and gave up his body and blood. He took the punishment that was ours to pay. This exchange is reflected in communion, reminding us we are united to Jesus by the sacrifice of his body and blood for us. When we take communion, we celebrate the forgiveness we have received through Christ and are reminded of the freedom to live without the burden of sin. As those forgiven and alive in Christ, we are able to enjoy this sacred meal and hopefully provide to anyone in attendance who hasn’t yet trusted in Christ, a clear picture of the gospel.
An additional reason we chose to include communion on a weekly basis simply comes down to preference. Many of us on the initial core team involved in the launch of Table Rock Church love communion and wanted to celebrate it weekly. There are many wonderful, biblical churches that exemplify a Christ-centered, Gospel community who have chosen to celebrate communion once a quarter, once a month, or every other week. We made the choice to include it weekly for the reasons above and simply because we love celebrating it together often! It brings joy to us, and we yearn for this sacrament!
A Reminder of Who We Are
At Table Rock, communion most often takes place at the end of the sermon so that we can be reminded of who we are in Christ in relation to what was just preached. Often, the sermon leaves us with ways we have misunderstood God, ways we need to grow in our faith, or ways we need to think differently or behave differently. It can be easy to walk away from a sermon thinking you need to do or change something in order to please God.
Communion is a time to be reminded that God has already won the battle, and it’s for our joy that we would desire to walk in his ways. The sermon shouldn’t be reduced to a list of do’s or do-not’s. Any change to be more like Jesus in our life is dependent on the Holy Spirit’s work in us and is only possible because of the cross. Our faith in the Lord and hope for heaven is only possible because of Christ’s finished work on the cross, and this fact is the very thing we’re reminded of in communion! It is a good and important reminder every single week.
Some would caution that taking communion too often can lead a believer to lose a sense of reverence when eating the body and drinking the cup. The fear is that it becomes too commonplace and that the gravity of Christ’s sacrifice is diminished. We always want to rightly recognize and appreciate the meaning of this sacred celebration and never take it lightly or fail to consider the weight of the meal and the sacrifice we’re remembering. Our hope would be that none of us in our church body would ever take lightly what it cost our Savior Jesus Christ on the cross. Rather, we want to always be mindful of the disposition toward communion that Paul spoke of in 1 Corinthians 11. We don’t believe a complacent attitude toward communion is a forgone conclusion if it is taken weekly, and we want to hold in tension both the solemn occasion we are remembering and the rapturous result of Christ’s sacrifice. Our prayer for our church body is to approach communion with fresh eyes and hearts each week and to enter into the joy of our salvation, bought by the body and blood given for us, which we remember in communion.