Why do you have Communion every week, and why does the service rarely change?
If you worship at Saint Barnabas regularly, you will notice that not much changes week after week. The structure of the service, called the liturgy (meaning the work of the people), is quite routine. There is an intentionality to it, which serves to form and transform us. In fact, what we do within worship serves as a template for our own private worship.
Sunday morning worship is broken into two main parts, Word and Sacrament. The first part of the service focuses upon reading and responding to God’s Word. We begin our week in worship; lifting up our voices in praise to God. And we work our way through the entirety of the Bible in a three year cycle, reading from the Old Testament, New Testament, and Gospels each Sunday. Additionally, we affirm our faith in the Nicene Creed, confess our wrongdoings before God, and pray for ourselves and others. This structure serves as a model for our daily worship too. It may look a bit different in our homes or offices, but the framework is there to help us in our own growth and discipleship.
We transition at the offertory, offering our hearts and lives before the Lord, before moving into Communion. We celebrate Communion weekly to help us recall what Jesus did for us on the cross. In the Eucharistic Prayer, the long prayer that the priest prays, we recall salvation history. We enter into the moment with Jesus and most importantly we do what He commanded. Quite simply put, we do Communion weekly, because Jesus said to do it whenever we gather. (1 Cor. 11:26; Acts 20:7)
We also want to receive from the Lord the grace given through Communion. We receive this grace through partaking of Christ’s Body and Blood which nourishes and strengthens us to go out and do all that Jesus commanded. After all, that is how service ends each week. After thanking God for His goodness towards us, we are sent out. To go into the world to reach the lost, hurting, and disconnected from God and His Church. We go out in mission, and not on our own or in our own strength, but in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Amidst all that transpires in our lives, let alone in the course of a week, we need to remember who we are as Christians. We need to recall Whose we are, why we are here, and where we are headed. And to receive the peace that passes understanding as we enter into God’s presence in worship of Him each and every week.