The Lord’s Supper is a solemn occasion which we labor to maintain through its observance as a sanctified, holy remembrance of our Lord. The Lord’s Supper was given as a memorial ordinance to remind the church of Christ’s death. It is to be observed until He returns to receive the church to Himself. The Bible does not tell us how often we should observe the Supper, only that we should do it. The timing is left for individual churches to decide.
From my fifty-eight years of experience as a Christian, I have reached the conclusion the Supper should not be observed too often to the point it begins to lose its special sense of significance. Though we may claim it is always special, we note that members’ frequent absences to attend its observance obviates their claims. We must confess that reducing the frequency will do as the adage says, “absence makes the heart grow fonder.”
For years, our church celebrated the Supper at the begging of each month and was usually little more than an extra function tacked on at the end of the service. I believed we should change this and reduce the frequency to the beginning of each quarter. This enabled us to separate it from the other services and to concentrate on the Supper as our main theme. Does this mean there are no other times we speak of the Lord’s death? Certainly not, for every sermon in every service will find its way to the cross, and all preaching is tied to Christ’s sacrifice for our sins.
Some years ago, I had an encounter with a Christian couple who claimed their church was very disappointing in its celebration of this blessed memorial. Their complaint was that in their two-year membership in the church, the Supper had not been observed. The excuse according to the pastor was the church was not ready for it. He did not believe the church was spiritual enough to satisfy the Lord that they were worthy to take of His body and blood. This is very unfortunate for every child of God has been made worthy by the blood of the Lamb. Our sins are forgiven, and we stand in the righteousness of Christ, not in the merits of our supposed earned holiness. This is not to say there are no restrictions. We are clearly told not to tempt the Lord, and we should not come to His table with unconfessed sins.
Confession of sin does not require penance as taught by Catholicism. Therefore, there is no time lapse between repentance and forgiveness. As soon as we repent, we are ready for fellowship. This interdicts the pastor’s objection. It is removed with a singular encouragement—a plea for the people to repent. When this is done, the Supper may proceed. The faithful are blessed, and if some will not repent, they are judged by God and not by man.
After observing our night of the Supper, after the prayers and the singing of hymns; after the message preached from the word; after the visuals of breaking bread and pouring cups; after witnessing the members united and partaking of the elements, the visiting couple were saddened for the blessings they had missed.
I encourage all members of Berean to be here and not miss our few opportunities each year when we place our focus entirely on this ordinance. Our practice is not intended to be critical of churches and their frequency of observing the ordinance. We do what is best for this body to solidify the solemnity of the occasion.
Pastor V. Mark Smith