I am often amazed at just how little some Christians understand their own church and the theology that church affirms. This is particularly true with regard to the understanding many in the Reformed churches have of communion.
Very few Reformed Christians realize that John Calvin actually held this meal in very high regard. He believed it was more than a memorial of Christ. It was the “real presence” of Jesus with his church. He also hoped weekly communion would become the norm.
For some years I have longed to receive the Eucharist often. Minimally, I want to come to the Table once a week. Ideally, even more often.
I recently looked at the Liturgy of the Reformed Church in America regarding the communion service and found the following words:
Together we proclaim the mystery of the faith:
Christ has died!
Christ is risen!
Christ will come again!
This affirmation is followed by this prayer:
Send your Holy Spirit upon us, we pray, that the bread which we break and the cup which we bless may be to us the communion of the body and blood of Christ. Grant that, being joined together in him, we may attain to the unity of the faith and grow up in all things into Christ our Lord.
And as this grain has been gathered from many fields into one loaf, and these grapes from many hills into one cup, grant, O Lord, that your whole Church may soon be gathered from the ends of the earth into your kingdom. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
This is a magnificent expression of the church’s faith at the Table. It is a catholic expression too. One that seeks to proclaim the mystery of Christ’s presence at the table without engaging in speculation rooted in concepts of philosophy that are not biblical or helpful.