Dear Friends,

I grew up in a Baptist church. We had Holy Communion once a month. The Lord’s Supper was the last bit of the church service. I remember that at the end of the service there would be an announcement which both invited Christians to stay for communion and invited non-Christians to leave during the hymn. After the hymn, there would be a brief communion service.

Holy Communion is considered to be one of the two “rites” that Jesus commanded. The other one is baptism. It has always been understood by Christians that one should only be baptized once. (When some churches baptize an adult who was baptized as a child it is because they did not believe the infant baptism was a valid baptism). However, the Bible does not tell us how often we should receive communion (or “partake of the Lord’s Supper”). Some churches only offer communion services three or four times a year. At the other end of the spectrum are churches that offer communion weekly (or even daily!) Some large churches rarely offer communion during the main service. This means that, functionally, some people in these churches never receive communion.

As I shared a couple of weeks ago in my blog, Anglicans have a wide variety of practices when it comes to the frequency of communion services. Once-a-month communion was the norm in much of Canada up until the 1970’s and it is still the norm in a large part of the Anglican world.   Sometimes, one of the issues in Anglican conversations about the frequency of the Lord’s Supper is whether God’s word written is God’s main way to feed us, or whether the Bible is “weak” and we need the sacrament of Holy Communion to be truly strengthened spiritually.

When Jesus was tempted by the Devil in the wilderness, the Devil asked Jesus to perform the miracle of turning stones into bread. Jesus responded (as He did with all of the temptations) by quoting the Bible. In this case He quoted Deuteronomy 8:3, “… man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” It is beyond the scope of this brief blog to prove this point, but God feeds us by His word. The Bible is, in fact, God’s word written (from The 39 Articles of Religion). He speaks to us and calls us into a deeper relationship with Himself. His Word is powerful and true and we should seek to read it daily and feed on it when we gather in worship.

There are, of course, other reasons to think through how frequently we have The Lord’s Supper. Good reasons include considering: evangelistic and missiological needs and opportunities; the place of variety in public worship; practicalities connected to time and place; what furthers deep discipleship. We are moving to have communion less frequently. We will have Morning Prayer more often. Please pray that God will lead us and guide us as we think through these issues. Pray that God will build us into a prayerful, Bible teaching, evangelical church in the heart of the city with a heart for the city and the world.

George+