… the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
It has been our practice, here at the First Presbyterian Church, for quite a while now (10+ years) to offer the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper one Sunday each month and additionally on Christmas Eve and Maundy Thursday. Specifically, we celebrate Communion in our morning worship services on the first Sundays in January, April, July, and October and in our First Sunday Evening Communion Service the other months.
At the June meeting of the Session, the elders unanimously approved a significant change to our practice. We will still be celebrating the Lord’s Supper once a month (as well as Christmas Eve and Maundy Thursday), but we will be doing so during both morning worship services, rather than in the evening on the first Sunday of each month, beginning in October.
The Directory of Public Worship (one part of the standards of the ARP Church) tells us,
“The session of each congregation shall determine how frequently the sacrament is provided. It should be provided regularly enough that it is seen both as belonging to the ordinary parts of the worship of God by His people and as beneficial for their spiritual nourishment.”
The elders, in their consideration of our Communion observance, recognized the importance of providing the Lord’s Supper not only “regularly enough” (once a month, as they had previously determined), but also in an “ordinary” time and place within our practices as a congregation, so that the benefit of spiritual nourishment can be readily available to Christ’s people.
In the spiritual sense, true worship is never ordinary but is always supernaturally extraordinary because of the Spirit’s presence with those gathered in the name of Christ, though our regularly scheduled time and location and the regular inclusion of certain parts of worship can be classified as “ordinary.” In our congregation, our “ordinary” practice for worship is to meet in the morning (at 8:25 or 11:00 a.m.) on the Lord’s Day as a fellowship of believers, devoting ourselves to the Word of God, the sacraments, the prayers, and praising God through song. Therefore, in an effort to more effectively provide Communion regularly in a time, place, and manner that is most beneficial for the spiritual nourishment of Christ’s people here at First Presbyterian Church we will begin this new practice very soon.
In the months ahead The Diligent will be presenting a series of articles about the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, ranging from a look at the Biblical/theological doctrines that undergird our observances of the sacrament to the practical considerations of providing Communion to 250-600 people. My hope for you is that this series of articles will help you grow in grace and will enhance your worship of the risen Lord Jesus each time you eat and drink in remembrance of Him.
The sacrament of the Lord’s Supper is a means of grace by which God makes provision for the ongoing spiritual nourishment of His people. The Lord Jesus Christ is spiritually present in the sacrament, and they who partake by faith truly and spiritually receive and feed upon Christ crucified and all benefits of His death. Through this means of grace God sustains and enriches His people in fellowship and unity with their crucified and risen Lord, providing them a foretaste of eternal fellowship with Him.
The Directory of Public Worship