At our April stated meeting, Harvest session voted to increase the number of times we celebrate the Lord’s Supper from once to twice per month. There is no chapter and verse in the Bible commanding how often we should celebrate this sacrament. There also isn’t a required frequency in our secondary standards (confessions, catechism or book of church order). Each local session is free to make this decision based on their conviction of what will best glorify God and edify his people.   

Here are some of our reasons for doubling the number of times we celebrate the Lord’s Supper:

First, Reformed theology summarizes the Bible’s covenantal teaching on the sacraments, that God is the primary agent. He takes the lead in making promises in the gospel, and sealing them in sacraments. We then respond in receiving his blessing, by being baptized and communing with him at His Supper. Notice the subject of the three actions in the Belgic Confession, Article 33: God ordained them, “...to seal his promises in us, to pledge his good will and grace toward us, and also to nourish and sustain our faith.” All three of these things are God’s actions. 1 Corinthians 11 does call professing Christians to examine ourselves as we come to the Lord’s Supper, but even in this, we are not the ones who make communion meaningful (by our preparation). God sets His table. God stoops down to remind us we are His. In grace He cares for, nourishes and calls us to rejoice in what he has done for us in Christ.

Second, this reminds us that communion is a celebration! We do proclaim Christ’s death every time we participate (1 Corinthians 11:26), but his death was a joyful, willing gift to his people (“This is my body given for you.” Luke 22:19). He isn’t dead any longer! We get to sit and eat with our resurrected, living Savior. If you imagine selecting a key to sing music for the Lord’s Supper, it would be a major key, not minor. The Lord’s Supper’s tone, therefore, shouldn’t resemble a funeral, but a feast of rejoicing. Jesus gave thanks both when he broke the bread (1 Corinthians 11:24), and when he took the cup (Matthew 26:26). When concluding the first ever communion service, Christ and the disciples sang a hymn of  celebration (Matthew 26:30). Some may fear an increase of the number of times we participate in the Lord’s Supper because their experience of the tone of communion was dark and somber. If this is the case, we should learn to approach the Lord’s Supper with anticipation and joy.

Third, communion is a real participation in Christ and his benefits. 1 Corinthians 11:16 says, “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?” By the Holy Spirit, the Father gives Christ to us such that when we eat the bread and drink the wine, by faith, we are truly being fed and nourished by our Savior. Unlike Roman Catholics, we do not believe that the bread and wine is transformed into Jesus’ physical body. Instead, by the Holy Spirit and faith, we are taken up into heaven (see Colossians 3:1-3). While still on earth, Jesus said in John 6:49-51, “Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” Since the Lord’s Supper is a real participation in Christ and nourishes our faith and union with Him, we desire to see God’s people blessed and nourished by this sacrament more frequently.

Fourth, our current practice of having Lord’s Supper once a month (and alternating AM & PM) means that those with legitimate reasons to regularly miss either AM or PM worship (illness, deeds of necessity, and mercy) will celebrate the Lord’s Supper only six times a year. Increasing the times we celebrate communion to twice a month, on the morning of the 2nd week and the evening of the 4th, makes it more likely that members will receives the Supper at least once a month.

Finally, there are many members at Harvest who would prefer weekly communion services for legitimate biblical and historical reasons. While we are not persuaded of the necessity of weekly communion, we do believe that increasing the frequency of the Lord’s Supper to twice a month is an easy way to show love for one another and would benefit the whole body. Communion itself is a sign of our mutual belonging to one another (1 Corinthians 10:17, Westminster Confession of Faith XXIX.1).

In a follow-up pastor's post, we plan to answer common questions like: “Won’t celebrating the Lord’s Supper twice a month make it less special?” Another question we’ve received is, “How will communion every other week impact the length of sermons?” If you have a question you would like answered, feel free to respond to this email or reach out to your shepherding elder. We plan to implement this change in July.

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