We celebrate the Lord’s Supper every week, considering it the culmination of our service of covenant renewal. But to many of our fellow believers, this fact by itself smacks of ritualism or superstition. “Why do this so often? Do you keep forgetting?”
Well, on one level, yes, we keep forgetting. We believe that we are prone to sin and must constantly be called back to Christ, to be reminded of Christ, to partake of Christ—and not by mere dint of repetition, but rather by faith. This is why this word of scriptural exhortation must always accompany our observance of the sacrament.
But there is something else to realize. Repetition is inescapable, and many who object to weekly commemoration of the Lord’s sacrifice for us have no problem whatever with comparable repetitions in other settings.
Christians who would object (loudly) to our recitation of the Apostles’ Creed weekly—because it makes the words “meaningless”—have no problem founding Christian schools where the students recite the Pledge of Allegiance daily. Is that meaningless too?
When you ask a co-worker if he would like to go out for lunch together, do you expect to hear that he doesn’t like to eat really, because he doesn’t want it ever to become “routine.” Asked how often he eats, he says that he likes to take a meal once a quarter, so that it will remain “special.”
In the grip of such thinking, the absence of the Lord’s Supper is repeated also. Week after week, the Table is consistently not there. Does that become part of the routine?
The answer to faithless routine is not to abandon the routine, but rather to embrace faith. To abandon routine is simply to establish another routine, and if faith has not been exercised, it too becomes an idol. We are Christians; this is the Table of the Lord. We are to put away our idols.