By Jim Tune
Claudia and I enjoy our annual trek to Cape Breton Island for summer vacation. Our cabin is at least six hours away from the nearest independent Christian church. There are very few churches in this remote part of Nova Scotia, and the few that can be found are all part of mainline denominations. At best these churches offer Communion quarterly, making it very easy to miss Communion entirely if the date for it doesn’t fall during our stay. I find myself keenly aware of its absence during our visits to the local Anglican church.
I’m grateful to be part of a heritage that practices weekly Communion. Weekly observance of the Lord’s Supper never gets old to me. Those who observe it less frequently have suggested we risk making the Supper routine or mundane by observing it so often. It’s interesting to hear from people who have come to our church from other traditions testify that their appreciation of Communion has only increased after participating in it weekly. We would never argue that we should pray less frequently, lest our prayers become meaningless, or that weekly preaching numbs us to any benefit. Most churches don’t think twice about taking up an offering every Sunday of the year.
I will always be an avid proponent of weekly Communion for our churches. I’m not suggesting other churches are sinning if they observe it less frequently than we do. There is no explicit command in Scripture regarding the frequency of it. But we do have the example of the early church to guide us. In the New Testament, it is evident that first-century believers met weekly to celebrate the Lord’s Supper, so why not follow that same practice today?
Communion offers a regular opportunity for overly busy people like me to do a heart check. I need to recalibrate my heart to heavenly coordinates. It is a time of sober remembrance—what we are eating was death to Jesus but is life to us.
As we participate in the Lord’s Supper we are making a statement of unity. Communion is the great leveler. We are together at the foot of the cross, all needing grace, all drinking deeply of the love of God, all equally flawed but gladly resting in his warm embrace. Ours is a unity movement called to bring reconciliation and healing to a divided world; Communion provides a powerful witness of our oneness.
Communion is not peripheral. It is the central practice of Christian fellowship and worship. At the center of Christian praxis we find a table—and a weekly invitation to commune.