An Important Update to the Lord's Supper and Livestream Services
This first Sunday of the month, as is our practice, we will take the Lord’s Supper together as a church. However, as you are well aware, some will be prevented from gathering with us due to health risks associated with coronavirus. We are making room for those who cannot attend in-person to participate in the Lord’s Supper, under the direction of the elders, alongside those in the in-person gatherings. We also want to provide some guidelines for how to do this well and maintain our unity in this season.
Separation, Unity, and the Lord’s Supper
The Lord’s Supper means many things to us as Christians: we symbolize and remember the death of Christ (1 Cor 11:26), we receive spiritual nourishment (John 6:53-57), we take the opportunity to examine ourselves and cling to Christ in faith and repentance (1 Cor 11:27). But one of the most powerful aspects of the Lord’s Supper is that it symbolizes our unity in Christ together as a church family. We are reminded, “Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread” (1 Cor 10:17).
Communion says, “We are together in Christ” and it is a joy to see people from many age groups, ethnicities, backgrounds, and even beliefs on secondary matters united in taking communion together. But in this season we find some of our church family separated by medical concerns, unable to participate in that picture of unity. So what do we do?
After much study and prayer we believe as elders that Scripture doesn’t provide specific and clear guidelines for handling communion in this situation, instead we are left seeking to fulfill the Bible’s clear principles as faithfully as we can. While our normal and regular encouragement to believers is that communion should be practiced together, with the whole church body, we want to make room for those unable to attend in-person to participate as much as they are able. We may be separated as a church, but we are still the church, committed to one another around the gospel of Jesus.
We believe that in this season our communion must take on a new aspect: We must use the opportunity to remember those who are separated from the gathering for this season, declaring through communion we are one in Christ, and longing for the day we are all reunited across from one another.
Participating in the Lord’s Supper at Home
So how can those who find themselves confined to home best participate in the Lord’s Supper? We as elders want to provide a few Scriptural and practical guidelines:
- Set aside elements for the bread and the cup in advance, remembering that simplicity is often best so that the materials themselves do not become distracting from the substance of the moment
- Consider the participation of children or others in the household, remembering that communion is reserved for those who have made a profession of faith in Christ
- Participate in the livestream, so that as much as possible, those gathered at home are taking communion in the same moment those gathered at the church building, highlighting our unity
- Fully engage with the communion moment, setting aside distractions that may happen at home and fully entering into prayer and reflection as we take communion
- Pray for our unity and longing to gather again, asking God to preserve our church and unify us around the confession of the gospel
We pray that this is a short season in the life of our church, but we also recognize some unique ways this can actually strengthens our practice of the Lord’s Supper: it keeps it from becoming a mere ritual and causes us to engage with it afresh, it encourages us to be mindful of the whole church body, and it reminds us that one day all God’s people will be gathered to Him.
This Sunday, partially to facilitate our communion together we will be livestreaming services both at 9am and at 11am. Whether you are gathered in the living room or in the auditorium, we look forward to remembering Christ and what he’s done together.
United by Christ,
Ricky Alcantar, on behalf of the elders