The aspect of weekly communion that has been the most significant for me is the constant reminder that inclusion in the community of Jesus comes with the reception of forgiveness. The community of Jesus is not formed by miracles or testimonies, but by Christ’s forgiveness of sinners. Rather than focusing on “walking the aisle,” weekly communion focuses on constant forgiveness from Christ himself. In communion, Christ is active, faith is receptive and I am passive.
In my Baptist upbringing, we were frequently told that weekly communion turned the supper into a meaningless, rote ritual. Roman Catholics and those in the “Disciples of Christ” churches were examples. Of course, this same standard didn’t seem to apply to preaching, the offering, choir specials, hymns and, of course, the offering. It is was always obvious to me that the kinds of demeaning language used in describing frequent communion was not rooted in the Bible, but is simple prejudice: we don’t want to be like the Catholics.
The difference has become clear. When communion is properly elevated in worship, the meaning of communion is elevated. I am not particularly fond of the idea of dividing the service into “two” liturgies. I prefer to keep communion in the area where Baptists typically think about the invitation, but instead of walking the aisle, we are offered Christ in the Lord’s Supper.
This is interesting. I would like to invite regular reader and Anabaptist Dan Trabue to share his thoughts on the Eucharist in the comments, if he would be so kind.