Speaking the Truth in Love

Has Our Memorial Lost Its Meaning?

A gentleman once told me that he had left the Christian Church to join his wife’s denomination. “I miss partaking of the Lord’s Supper every week,” he said. “But you know how it is. If you do something regularly, it loses its meaning.”

Oh? Then why do you miss it? Isn’t it true that even annual events can easily lose their meaning? What does a Christmas tree have to do with the birth of Jesus? What do chocolate Easter bunnies have to do with the resurrection of Christ? What do camping trips and grilled hamburgers have to do with the dead American soldiers honored on Memorial Day?

In fact, it’s easy to think of meaningful things that we do very regularly – eating meals, drinking coffee, exercising, hugging our families and friends, watching ball games, reading and sending social media messages. The Lord’s Supper has whatever meaning we attach to it.

Even more importantly, this sacred meal has whatever meaning God gives it. The Lord’s Supper is a memorial. Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me” (1 Cor. 11:24). A church detached from the cross isn’t really a church. It’s just a religious society. The weekly observance modeled by the New Testament church (Acts 20:7) keeps our eyes focused on the sacrificial death of Christ.

The Lord’s Supper is also a communion, a time of close fellowship with God and with one another. The Bible says: “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?” (1 Cor. 10:16). It’s definitely wrong to partake of communion once a quarter or once a year. There’s no biblical authority for that. But there’s also no biblical authority for eating the bread and drinking the cup in a thoughtless manner.

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