How often we celebrate communion, or the Lord’s Supper, is not prescribed in Scripture. There is no verse we can turn to that will answer that question. Some churches celebrate weekly, some monthly, others quarterly, and some only on special Holy days. Most protestant churches in the US have settled on monthly, typically the first Sunday of the month. But, why? The communion passage we use each month during the celebration of communion is 1 Corinthians 11:23ff. The words used during communion are in the middle of a section Paul wrote to the Corinthians to provide them instructions on communion. Nowhere in those instruction will you find the frequency.
The bread that Jesus broke represents His body that was given for our sake on the cross. The cup represents the blood He shed on our behalf. Every time we observe the ordinance of communion, we are to remember all He did for us. How fitting as we just celebrated his death and resurrection a week ago. Communion is a beautiful picture of what happened at the cross, what it means to us (everything), and how it changes our lives as believers.
Because we take the Lord’s Supper to remember Christ’s death, and the forgiveness of sins, we should take it fairly often. After all, we all sin fairly often. Since the Bible does not give us instruction for communion frequency, there is freedom for a church as to how often they observe the Lord’s Supper. I think it should be often enough to renew focus on Christ, without being so often that it become routine. For me, and I hope many others, the monthly rhythm of communion a great reminder to take stock in my walk with the Lord. It is a time to check my heart. Because, it is not the frequency that matters but the heart attitude of those who are partaking. We should partake with reverence, love, and a deep sense of gratitude for the Lord Jesus, who was willing to die on the cross to take upon Himself our sins.
Paul reminds us that our self-examination before partaking in communion, and the judgment and discipline of the Lord, is for our own good to avoid the eternal condemnation. Communion is a time to examine ourselves; to look at the last month and evaluate our attitudes and actions; and ask for forgiveness and divine assistance in the coming month. Part of remembering our Lord until he comes again is making sure we are living in a way that brings Him honor.
Heavenly Father, we confess that we have sinned against you in our thoughts, words, and deeds. We have had anxieties about the future even though we proclaim you as Lord. We have failed to love others as you have loved us. We have disobeyed your commands, and we have failed to always act at the prompting of your Holy Spirit. Have mercy on us, and forgive our sins. Cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Help us to walk in your ways and to love as you have loved. Amen.
At Cornerstone we practice what is called open communion. This means the only fence we put around the table is the one Scripture itself puts in place. Communion here is open to all those who profess Jesus as their Lord and Savior. You do not need to be a member here, at Immanuel, or a certain denomination.
1 John 1:9 tells us that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” And so, in that confidence, we enter into communion.
1 Corinthians 11:23b-24 “The Lord Jesus, on the night 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.””
Pass the Bread: Eat in remembrance of Jesus.
1 Corinthians 11:25 “In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.””
Pass the Juice: Drink in remembrance of Jesus.
1 Corinthians 11:26 “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”