Human nature is funny. Sometimes the more frequently we do something, the less “special” it feels. We can enjoy “one-offs” much more than weekly routines. For example, if we celebrated birthdays every week, we probably wouldn’t enjoy them as much as we do when they come round once a year!
That fact can make us think the same with some of God’s ordinances. Maybe if we did them less often, they’d become more special. The Lord’s Supper is a good example. Some churches celebrate the Lord’s Supper every week, some every month, but some just once a year, when they make much more of it. Maybe in your own experience, you’ve found that the more frequently you take the Lord’s Supper the “less” it means to you, so you sometimes switch off from it. But it would be funny if we took the same attitude to preaching, wouldn’t it? It’s probably true that if I preached just once a month or once a year, you’d listen better, but we can probably all tell that that’s not a good idea! That’s because the point of God’s ordinances isn’t only that they feel special; they’re doing other things to us that we can’t always quantify; just like ordinary week-night meals won’t always taste special, but they still feed me. It’s the same with the Lord’s Supper. Our experiences at the Lord’s Table will vary; sometimes there will be wonderful moments of communion with Jesus, at other times they will be more ordinary. The value of the Lord’s Supper is in giving you spiritual nutrition, not just spiritual excitement.
If you find yourself switching off at the Lord’s Table, let me encourage you to deliberately switch back on. And let me encourage you to eat and drink Christ! It’s possible to eat and drink the bread and wine with your mouth, while not eating or drinking Jesus by faith. Without chewing and digesting its contents by faith, the Lord’s Table will do us no good.
Here are 5 groups of people who’ll particularly benefit from frequent communion (stolen from this book by J. W. Alexander!):
- Doubting Disciples, who can’t have the certainty of God’s grace held out to them too often.
- Persons of Legal Views, who are prone to think they’ve earned God’s love. This mistake is best corrected by going frequently to Calvary.
- Backsliders, who are awakened by the call to self-examination, and melted when Jesus turns and looks on them, as he did to Peter (Luke 22:61)
- Lonely Ones, who need the cheering sense of fellowship, produced by this feast of brotherhood.
- Those in Trouble, who ten thousand times have forgotten their earthly sorrows in the joys of Christ’s presence.
At various points this year, I expect we’ll fit in to all of those categories. Praise Jesus who doesn’t let his body go hungry (Eph 5:29)!