…in our man-centered age where so many services are shamefully devoid of any meaningful reference to the cross, could we not benefit from a move to a regular use of the Christ-ordained means for reminding us of the cross? If we want to be gospel-centered why not make the Christ-ordained portrayal of the gospel a centerpiece in our weekly worship? In an increasingly “visual” age might we not benefit from regular use of the visible, tangible portrayal given to us by Christ? In a day seemingly interested merely in Our Best Life Now, do we not regularly need the Christ-ordained means of reminding us of the Lord’s return and the wedding feast of the Lamb? [...]
Last, communion at the close of each service has a way of tying the service to the gospel. Too easily a well-intended sermon can end up preaching only the commands of Scripture, failing to undergird the people with the hope of gospel provision and power. The Table anchoring the conclusion of the service has a way of shaping all that comes before it, focusing on the cross of Christ and his return as our hope and joy.
As a Catholic whose faith sees the transubstantiated Eucharist (not merely “communion”) as the source and summit of liturgy (and whose priests offer communion every day) I confess that I find this argument faintly puzzling, though reading the arguments and following the logic of these authors did help me understand (a bit) why they take the positions they do. Where I found myself nodding in agreement, as with the quote above, it was because a fair number of the arguments could function equally well as a defense of the Catholic position. And as one writer observes, this is indeed becoming a “trend” in certain Protestant quarters. So it is encouraging to see an emerging awareness of the importance of this Biblically-based, physical, communal ritual, even if it’s not a capital-s Sacrament.
And as a postscript: Those interested in learning more about the Catholic Church’s own varied practice on the subject might benefit from reading this.