Question: The Lord’s Supper How should it be done? By each person breaking a small piece from a cracker or bread or what (?); by each person using a small individual glass for the fruit of the vine? Can the method as Christ did it in the Bible be changed even though the meaning is the same? Some people dip bread in a glass of juice. Is this all right? How often should the Lord’s Supper be taken?
Answer: First, let me say that we could not change the method as Christ delivered it to us in the Bible and the meaning still be the same. It is the most sacred and sublime of all the ordinances and should not be tampered with or changed in any manner. Every part of this ordinance signifies some particular part in redemption and we lose that signification and reality if we change any part of it in any way.
In I Corinthians 10:16-17 we read, “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.” It appears evident to me that the real communion of the body and blood of the Lord among believers could not be signified in any other way than by all of them partaking of one loaf and one cup representing the body and blood of the Lord. Paul makes it clear in I Corinthians 10:17 quoted above that all believers, though they be many, are one bread and one body because they are all partakers of that one Bread. A number of small individual glasses and a number of small individual wafers or pieces of bread may be a proper signification of sectism and division, or maybe of individualism, but not of the unity and oneness of believers as they partake of that one bread and one body.
In I Corinthians 12:13 we read, “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body,…and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” Again this can only be properly signified by our drinking of the one cup containing the emblem of Christ’s blood.
In I Corinthians 11:23-24 we read, “….the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.” As Jesus held that bread in His hand and presented it to them, He announced that it was His body broken for them, which breaking took place only a few hours after that in His crucifixion on the cross. How could His body being broken be signified by a number of individual wafers or pieces of bread separated from the loaf by the minister and passed out to the communicants? It could not. When one bread (loaf) is passed and each communicant breaks off a bit he is reminded of the body which was broken for him. It is the same with the cup containing the emblem of the blood of Christ which was shed for the remission of sins; and we all drink of it together, and thus we have communion with one another in the Spirit as well as with Christ.
I know of no Scripture which tells how often we should observe the Lord’s Supper. In I Corinthians 11:26 it says, “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.” It does not say how often; it just says, “As often.” Acts 20:7 says, “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread,…” Some have supposed from this that the Lord’s Supper should be observed every Sunday when Christians come together to worship God. I do not see any particular point in this inasmuch as it is said in Acts 2:46 that they broke bread daily from house to house. Why then would we not conclude that it should be observed every day and from house to house because the early Jerusalem converts did that, as to say it should be done every Sunday because one Scripture says the disciples came together to break bread on the first day of the week? In John the 20th chapter we have two instances of the disciples meeting on the first day of the week (verses 19 and 26), but in neither of these instances does it mention breaking of bread. I agree that perhaps saints should observe this ordinance more often than we do in order to keep the sacrifice of Jesus in our behalf more fresh in our minds, but I know of no scripture which tells how often to do it.
As saints observe this holy, sacred, sublime ordinance in the Spirit, they are drawn closer to Christ and His sufferings and sacrifice than perhaps at any other time or in any other thing they do; and it all becomes more real to them. As a verse in one of our songs says, “Borne away in mind and spirit to that solemn awful scene of Mount Calvary’s sacred summit where we see the crimson stream, flowing from the side of Jesus that has washed us snowy white; Here we seem in awe to compass round the reeking cross tonight.” Not only so, but we are drawn closer to each other also as we in the Spirit partake of that one bread (the body of the Lord which was broken for us) and drink of that one cup (the blood of Jesus which was shed for the remission of our sins). As we all together partake of the body and blood of the Lord (in symbol), His grace and love flows from heart to heart and we are knit together in love in heart. “Our souls in fellowship embrace, And live in sweet communion.” In this ordinance is represented to us one of the grandest themes of all Holy Writ unity of God’s people in the Spirit and the oneness it produces in them, and my exhortation to all saints is to observe it as often as they have opportunity and observe it in the spirit and just exactly like it has been given to us, for therein is the clearest representation.