Newsletter Article on Communion

My article from the most recent Parish Visitor:

As you may know, First United Methodist Church currently has a book study on the book Eight Life Enriching Practices of United Methodists by Dr. Henry H. Knight. Last Tuesday, we were discussing chapter five which is about worship. One of the areas where discussion became most animated was on the subject of Holy Communion, Dr. Knight says

If the word [scripture and the sermon] is the heart of worship, the table is its goal. Worship culminates in a profound thanksgiving for God’s victory over sin and death, gift of new life, and communion together with the risen Christ at his table. Because of this, John and Charles Wesley, like Martin Luther and John Calvin before them, would have us restore the New Testament church practice of celebrating the Lord’s Supper weekly. Many United Methodist churches today have at least moved toward Wesley’s ideal of “constant communion” by celebrating it monthly.

The desire of the early Methodists to receive the Lord’s Supper as often as possible is well known. The enormous crowds of communicants would sometimes take hours to serve. Why this hunger for the sacrament? They were convinced that, through the power of the Holy Spirit, the risen Jesus Christ was present in this meal, and by receiving his gifts of bread and wine, they would be given new life. They came with expectant faith, seeking to remember all that God has done and promised through Jesus Christ and open to receive all God has to give.

Dr. Knight makes a compelling argument, one with which I fully agree. Jesus’ words of institution, “Do this, as often as you drink it,” are also a powerful argument for more frequent communion. Jenny and I would like to celebrate communion weekly at the Sunday services, but we assumed there would be little support for this position and so contented ourselves with monthly communion on Sunday morning and almost weekly communion Wednesday evening. I was pleasantly surprised by the response of those participating in the book study, there was great support expressed for weekly communion at the Sunday morning services. I now want to throw open the question to the entire congregation. What say you?

Send an email to john@coffeyvillefirstumc.org and let me know what you think.