28 September, 2006

Prepare Ye Your Heart

The Reformed doctrine of Holy Communion is one of great comfort to the Christian. The Christian is called to enter into the heavens to sit with Christ and to commune with Him. O to be with him and to learn at his feet. May he teach us something of the greatness of his majesty, the fullness of His love, and the depths to which he went to satisfy the demands of the law to pay God's righteous penalty for us to have eternal life. Blessed be the Holy One of Israel.
"Your eyes are looking at bread and cup. This is the evidence before your physical sight. But your faith must be instructed concerning it - this bread being Christ 's Body and the cup containing His Blood. Though perhaps these words may be enough to initiate faith, faith must be further instructed in accordance with the Prophet's words:
'Believe that you may understand' ( Is 7:9).
-St. Augustine of Hippo

5 comments:

Rick B. said...

Amen.

Nathan, How often do you think we should celebrate the Lord's Supper? (If I may ask your opinion)

Jonathan Moorhead said...

It has also been the occassion for evangelical revival - James McGready in the 2nd Great Awakening, etc.

Nate said...

Oft :)

I see both benefits in quarterly as well as annually.

The Westminster Directory does not specify- so I think that it is up to the Church. We do not really have much biblical guidance on how often- The Passover was annual. Oft seems to imply more.

Rick B. said...

"The Reformed doctrine of Holy Communion is one of great comfort to the Christian. The Christian is called to enter into the heavens to sit with Christ and to commune with Him"

If it is truly a comfort (which it is) and if we truly enter the heavens to sit and commune with Him (which we do), then yes, often, very often is preferred is it not?

Julio said...

A beautiful post, Nate.

How anyone that believes this doctrine doesn't seek to commune
frequently is beyond me. But I think it is also beyond the Westminster divines, who opened the section on the Lord's Supper in the "Directory
for Public Worship" with the words,

"The communion, or supper of the
Lord, is frequently to be celebrated..."

As you note, they left the matter of the exact frequency to the mininster and session of each congregation, advising them to attend to the "comfort and edification of the people committed to their charge." But it is interesting that the conventions usually associated with the quarterly administration of communion (the public warning on the Sabbath before, the instruction on the meaning and use of the sacrament, etc.) are appointed "where this sacrament cannot with convenience be frequently administrated." The assumption seems to be that where the sacrament is frequently celebrated, eventually less labor needs to be applied in congregational preparation.

Article 63 of the Church Order of Dordt was more specific, and established that the Lord's Supper be celebrated every two months, as well as on Easter, Pentecost and Christmas (I know, I know! ;-). Surely, this is a minimum; how is it that many churches have gradually started to serve communion less than that, and not more?