The Lord’s Supper, or the Eucharist, is a regular part of Christian worship. As a reminder of my goal in this leadership series, I am not considering all of the theological implications of the practice. Concerning the Lord’s Supper, I am making these presuppositions:
- The proper view of the Lord’s Supper is at least memorial (done in memory of Christ’s sacrifice) if not consubstantial (Christ is specially and spiritually present at the table), but not transubstantial (the elements become the literal body and blood of Christ).
- The Lord’s Supper is specifically for those who have experienced God’s mercy and grace unto salvation.
Since it is important that everything about our liturgy serve the glory of God, the good of God’s people, and declares the Gospel, I want to ask what place the Lord’s Supper has in the gathering of believers? How often should it be practiced? Under what setting should it be practiced? Should we use unleavened bread or wafers? Should we use wine or Welches?
Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple complex, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with a joyful and humble attitude, praising God and having favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to them those who were being saved.
When believers came together in response to Christ saving work, they would break bread. This means that they would eat together. Every meeting would include a meal. Amen! We get to model this today! The breaking of bread meant more than merely having a meal. It was followed by the partaking of the Lord’s Supper. 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 says this:
“The cup of blessing that we give thanks for, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for all of us share that one bread.”
The Lord’s supper is an ordinance. In partaking of the Lord’s supper every time they met together, they shared in the blood and the body of Christ. This became a regular part of their worship expression because they wanted not to simply share with other people, they wanted to share in Christ as one body. So, the physical meal was an expression of community and fellowship among the body. It was followed by the Lord’s Supper, an expression of community and fellowship of the body with Jesus Christ, who shed His blood and broke His body to deliver His people from their sin and clothe them in His righteousness alone. With every meeting, the Gospel was proclaimed through this expression.
This text is descriptive, but I believe it reveals something very important about the intention of the Lord’s Supper. This is the only explicit description we receive of the method. It seems as though every time believers gathered together, they ate with one another and then had communion with God in the practice of the Lord’s Supper. In this, they not only had community with one another but also broke bread with Christ.
As we come together, our desire is to have community with one another. It is also to have community with Christ. We would not desire that Christ be absent from any meeting. Though it is not prescribed, the best way to communicate our community with Christ in the practice of the Lord’s Supper is to observe it each time we come together under every setting in which we come together as believers in Christ.
In 1 Corinthians 11:23-34, we read that observing this ordinance should not be an excuse to get drunk or be gluttons. We also learn that as often as we observe the Lord’s Supper we proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. There is no other explicit methodological instruction and no explicit instruction on the specific type of bread of fruit of the vine and no explicit instruction concerning the frequency of our observance, so we ask ourselves these questions regarding our methodology:
- Does our method serve the glory of God or the glory of people?
- In our practice of The Lord’s Supper, are we declaring the Gospel and exalting Christ alone?
- Are we abusing The Lord’s Supper, or have we minimized regular communion with our Lord?