ABOUT THE LORD’s SUPPER AND SUNDAY WORSHIP



In many modern churches, the Sunday weekly celebration of the Holy Supper has been relegated to once per month or every two months; and that is without counting with the practice of some sects like the Watchtower Society, of celebrating the Holy Supper once a year during Easter, or the Salvation Army, that has discarded the celebration of sacraments all together.

The argument behind this distant celebration of the Sacrament, is usually attributed to the fact that Lord Jesus did not stipulate a specific frequency, and that “ordinances”, are only symbolic ceremonies that are not really necessary, except to remind us of certain truths of the Gospel. Under this logic, a monthly celebration of the Lord’s Supper should be enough as a memorial, according to these religious groups.

THE OBLIGATION

The celebration of the Holy Supper was instituted by Lord Jesus as memorial of his atoning sacrifice on the Cross (Matthew 26:27-28; 1Corinthians 11:26) to perpetuity (Luke 22:19; 1Corinthians 11:25-26). Regardless of how any Christian interprets the meaning of this celebration, one thing is certain, it needs to be celebrated, as it was commanded by Jesus. Deliberate refusal to celebrate the Holy Supper at all, it is an open act of rebellion to the will of God, a heresy, and therefore liable to eternal damnation.

WHAT THE HOLY SUPPER MEANS

The vicarious atonement of Lord Jesus is the basis and cornerstone of our religion. Everything else departs from this mystery. Salvific faith, efficacious repentance, sanctifying grace, the reason for the Scripture to exist, and  final glorification; everything is possible and takes sense in the atoning sacrifice, and without it, none of the above would be good for anything (2Corinthians 5:19).

Since through this atoning sacrifice, we are justified, forgiven, sanctified and redeemed by God; it is also through this atonement that our prayers, praises, supplications, and all our worship in general, is acceptable to God (1Peter 2:5). From all the teachings of Lord Jesus, the Ordinance of the Holy Supper is the most complete representation of this Sacrifice. Not even Baptism reflects our salvation better than the Lord’s Supper, because Baptism represents the New Birth in Christ, but this new birth would not be neither possible without that atonement that the Eucharist represents.

THE FREQUENCY

From the beginning, Christians followed the sacramental worship of God, the meditation on the Scripture, offering of prayers, praises and supplications, from the only culture and mode they knew, which was the weekly sabbatical worship of the Jews in the synagogue and the Temple worship. God had created the world in seven days, so the months, the years, and their whole lives were counted by weeks of seven days. Following the pattern of work in Genesis and the Jewish frequency of worship, 
Christians started to meet and worship God as a community on a weekly basis. Regardless of how many times they could have met to pray at any other moment, once a week they met together officially to pray, read the OT or an apostolic letter, listen to their preachers, collect donations, and to “break bread” (Acts 2:42; 20:7; 1Corinthians 16:2).

If the Sunday worship was the apex of the weekly cycle in the life of the Church, and the Holy Supper had to be celebrated sometime, it is only natural to think that the highest form of weekly worship should necessarily include the celebration of that atoning sacrifice that made everything else possible. Any other act of worship would be less complete that the one which contained the sacramental celebration of the Holy Supper.

The Holy Supper encompasses the whole gospel of Jesus Christ. All of our prayers, our singing, our supplications, and meditation on the Scriptures, find their material climax in the communal celebration of that redeeming Sacrifice of the Cross, from which all those others things take their value, and which without, none of that would make sense. Only the Holy Supper is the official memorial of that sacrifice.

CONCLUSION

If we relegate the celebration of the Holy Supper to once per month, we are offering God a full act of worship with all the elements that He demanded, only once per month, and all other times, an incomplete version of it.

Relegation of the Eucharist to once per month in modern churches, came as an aggressive act of rejection of the sacramental theology of other traditional churches; and this was done at the expense of a true evangelical act of worship as the NT describes, depriving the Christian community of the blessing and grace it conveys when celebrated.

Sunday celebration without the Holy Supper is a lesser version of worship that robes the Christian community of the Sanctifying Grace the celebration of the sacrament brings. And an offering to God of a form of worship that does not contain the centre of it all, the offering of the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world.  

Omar Flores.



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