“it won’t be special” and other arguments against the Lord’s Supper nobody else is buying

A few years ago, Pastor Ken Wieting wrote a delightful book called “The Blessings of Weekly Communion.” 

That is to say . . . every single Sunday. 

Whooo boy. 

The good news is that this started a great conversation in the church about the Lord’s Supper and all the gifts He gives in it. The bad news is that this started a pretty steady drumbeat of reasons NOT to have the Lord’s Supper every week.

{Word on the street is that the time the game starts or when brunch is done at the country club are not acceptable reasons.}

So if you are still unconvinced, if you’re just not sure this weekly Communion thing is really all it’s cracked up to be, here are a few things to stay away from when telling people like, you know, your elders why you’re skeptical. 

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  • “If we have the Lord’s Supper every Sunday, it won’t be special anymore.” To quote, like, nine pastor friends, “If your wife tells you she loves you every day, does hearing her profess her love for you become less special?” Of course not. We heard God’s Word every week. His forgiveness is pronounced to us every week. We confess the Creed every week. Is any of that not special? And if, by chance, your answer is, “You’re right! It’s lame and I’m totally over it!” then we should talk about whether or not the problem is with the church or if your temperature has just crept over 106 degrees.
  • “It’ll take too long.” It will take more time. You’re right. But when we are talking about matters of life and death, eternity and salvation, what’s 15 minutes? We spend that amount of time sitting in the Starbucks drive-thru; we can handle it in church. 
  • “The kids have a hard enough time sitting still.” Hey now! Don’t sell your kiddos short. Thousands of children behave themselves during the Divine Service in the LCMS every week so they’re completely capable of sitting calmly for 15 more minutes. Know how I know? Because you’re their parent, and they obey the Fourth Commandment, and if you tell them that’s how you roll, they’ll roll with you. (And if they can sit through 108 minutes of Frozen within melting down, an hour and fifteen minutes of church isn’t going to phase them one bit. Give them a little credit here!)
  • “But . . . but . . .” The Church actually has a history of having the Lord’s Supper every week, so if you’re grasping for a “But the church fathers didn’t . . . ” or “Luther never said we should . . . ” just hang it up right now and let’s go for ice cream. Blue Bunny, of course. I didn’t grow up a half hour away from the ice cream capital of the world for nothin’. 
  • “We don’t have enough ladies on the altar guild.” No, no. I mean, yes, yes! You do! And they’re right in your congregation. Are there some young women among you, even ones as young as confirmation age? They can help! This is a wonderful way to get young ladies involved in the life of the church early. Not only do they get to learn alongside Christian mentors in the older women, but they also see that they can contribute to congregational life even at age 8 or 10 or 14. 
  • “But it won’t be special.” See first bullet point. 

The Lord has gifts of life and salvation and forgiveness to give, and in His Supper, He gives them to you . . . even every Sunday!

Does it take time to get used to it?

Maybe.

 

Will you check your watch every Sunday for the first month?

Probably.

 

Will the young ladies in church be in awe of just how much labor and love go into an altar guild?

Undoubtedly.

And that’s ok. But I guarantee you that, before long, it won’t feel weird haven’t Communion every Sunday.

It will, gloriously, be weird not to. 

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11 thoughts on ““it won’t be special” and other arguments against the Lord’s Supper nobody else is buying

  1. After worshiping in churches for 7 years that practice weekly communion, becoming a member at a church that does communion every other week is a strange feeling. My husband was just called here, so he’s hoping to learn more about how the congregation feels about weekly communion and teach about the blessings a weekly divine service can give. One of his questions for the “Weekly communion won’t be special” argument is “What do you do differently to prepare for communion Sunday vs. other Sundays?” If the answer is nothing, then the argument is moot. 🙂

  2. When our Lord was ready to face the cross – he did not say, ‘ Wait i’m not ready yet.” .. according to Scripture. When my mother died on Saturday night, she had received communion the previous Sunday. It doesn’t guarantee anything more in her life’s journey, but it helps the survivors understand sin and forgiveness because once death consumes, Scriptures implies earthly matters will be of no matter …. anymore. Like faith, communion is a personal thing, very personal, yet kneeling at the rail, we are also communing with the saints departed… My 99 year-old mother-in-law died this week – yet we will see her again, even though her last years were not her best memory wise. But the last communion was as effective or meaningful as her first. …. How many of us have sat in the pews and thought ….. not this week Lord, i’m not ready yet?

  3. And so can older men. Our elders set up for Holy communion and clean the vessels, wash the chalice and glass cups and put everything away. The wives or altar committee will launder the cloths . Always have. Pretty cool.

  4. Frequent =/= unimportant or mundane. Consider how often we watch the same team play or eat in the same places. The routine of watching the same team or having a certain table at a restaurant fosters a desirable kind of familiarity both with the subject and those who share it with you. But saying “it’s not special” is the go-to coverup argument. The real problem is our struggle to believe what our eyes deny: that it’s not truly the Body and Blood of Christ for the forgiveness of our sins. If it were, and if we truly believed that, we would be not for every Sunday communion but for every day communion.

  5. One pastor suggested non-communion sundays out of respect for guests who are not admitted to the table. That way you could invite guests, theoretically, more easily on non-communion Sundays. Not sure how i feel about this personally but i would welcome your input. I am a worship director and we alternate sundays so i have the privilege of communing every week (although others could if they chose as well). thoughts?

    • I really understand wanting to make people “feel” more welcome to Divine Service. I used to fret about our visitors and their feelings as well during D.S and Communion. However, I now realise that our congregation is OUR home and as a family we gather there every week seeking the Lords gifts of Word and Sacrament. God places a pastor in a congregation and the pastor is obligated to preach, teach and administer the Sacraments to the people of the flock that the Lord has placed into his care. If the pastor forgoes communing his sheep in order to make his guests feel a little less foreign or singled out I think that is wrong. We do not adjust the Lords mandates to preach, teach and administer the sacraments because we worry whether or not our guests will ever return. We let the Word have its way with our guests. If that slow and patient teaching brings them back AND makes them yearn for the Sacraments well then you have just witnessed the effects of faithful preaching and teaching of the Gospel and you have not had to diminish the Supper by saying ” we can go without it once a month….no big deal.” That would be a terrible witness of the Lord’s Supper and its proper weekly place in D.S.
      Do you forgo saying prayer before meals in your own home when you have guests because it might be a little awkward for them? It is always good right and salutary…
      Anyway Ms. Billman, those are my thoughts.
      Love you blog Adrien. Thank you.

    • To add to Christine’s thoughts: Catholic churches have Mass (re: communion) every Sunday. Generally, visitors don’t wig out when visiting Catholic churches, because they know and accept that they can’t commune there. How and why have Lutherans cultivated an environment where, unlike Catholics, we feel embarrassed to have the Sacrament around visitors? How will visitors ever even know how important the Sacrament is to us (is it?) if we want to keep them from seeing our piety in this particular matter as much as possible?

      This is not done out of “respect” for visitors. Lots of Christians refuse to say creeds or even the Lord’s Prayer, but we don’t periodically omit them from the service out of “respect’ for visitors, do we? No, it’s done for the ease and convenience of the pastor and laypeople who don’t really want to take the trouble of explaining Lutheran distinctives to visitors, or who have family members they want to visit but not offend by reminding them that we’re not all in altar fellowship. I can’t see how respect for visitors comes into play at all. I think we respect them better by not being ashamed of who we are and what our practice is, which is for their benefit as much as ours.

      • thanks for your thoughts. I was posting to gain input, not necessarily to endorse. I don’t see a problem with weekly communion and i do believe it’s important to receive the Sacrament regularly. After all, we don’t ask God to limit our other blessings, do we? But I also agree that we have not properly “owned” our communion policy with regard to guests. Certainly that would help. Explain it clearly so that your guest, who wanders in with no understanding of what Christianity is, let alone the doctrine of the Altar, knows what to do at communion time.

  6. At my congregation, the Elder who is assisting at the service sets up communion for his particular service. The altar guild only comes in after the last service to clean and put away all the vessels.

  7. I enjoyed this article. One additional thought… “Young women” are not the only ones who would like to contribute. Young men can also assist. Altar guild became one of the ways the confirmands were given to serve in one of my congregations.

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