Routine

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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 a 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 will become an idol. We are Christians; this is the Table of the Lord. We are to put away our idols.

So come, and welcome, to Jesus Christ.

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Justin Parris
Justin Parris
4 years ago

Having been the type of Christian who would normally object to repetition, but who now goes to a church who does things the same way yours does (because it shares ancestry), I can understand the objection. Protestantism, in many ways, has sought to eliminate traits of the church which aren’t specifically Godly, but people tend to mistake for being Godly. Christianity all too often leads to churchianity, where we displace loyalty to God in favor of idolatry of earthly church traditions. That said, I think more often than not this is treating the symptom rather than the disease. There’s nothing… Read more »

Kevin Brendler
Kevin Brendler
4 years ago

“This is why this word of scriptural exhortation must always accompany our observance of the sacrament.” True. Foundational. Vital. Essential. If we gather to hear the Word of the Lord, week by week, how much more eagerly shall we gather, week by week, to receive the Lord Himself in holy Communion. The separation of the Lord Himself from His Word is difficult to comprehend. I want to hear the precious Word of God preached, but I want still more to receive the blessed Christ of my redemption, to eat His body and drink His blood again, and so have confirmed… Read more »