1 Corinthians 11:23-26 teaches Christians to remember Jesus' body and blood by breaking the bread and drinking the fruit of the vine in the Lord's Supper. Most denominations practice this communion in some form. But when and how often should we partake?
The context of 1 Corinthians 11 shows that the Lord's Supper was taken when the church assembled, though no frequency is mentioned. Local churches assembled at different times for different purposes, but when did they assemble for the Lord's Supper? Some groups today do this annually, quarterly, or on special holy days. Still others do it daily. What does the Bible say?
Acts 20:7 says that the disciples came together to break bread "on the first day of the week." Here a specific day is mentioned. Our calendar calls this day "Sunday."
So, how often should we partake? Well, how often does "the first day of the week" occur? If you were hired for a job and the boss said, "You will be paid on the first day of the week," how often would you expect to be paid? If a sign in a store window says, "This store is closed on Sunday," how many Sundays would you expect it to be closed? Just as often as Sunday comes, right? The Old Testament required Israel to "Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy," and the Sabbath was the seventh day of the week. So how often were they to observe the Sabbath? Just as often as the seventh day of week occurred!
Again, 1 Corinthians 16:1,2 says the church also took up the collection "on the first day of the week" - the same day on which they had the Lord's Supper. Many modern denominations have communion just a few times each year. Do they also take up a collection only a few times a year? Could it be that modern denominations have too much concern for getting money and too little concern for remembering the spiritual significance of Jesus' death? Could it be that they are following human ideas instead of God's inspired word (Matthew 15:1-9)?
(c) Copyright David E. Pratte, 6/27/2005
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