Maybe it was just me . . .
. . . but I grew up thinking 1) the Lord’s Supper was a requirement, and 2) its essence was pretty much summed up in its being a requirement. (2), at least, was a misconception.
Christians and only Christians (according to “our” definition) were to partake of the Lord’s Supper precisely once (no more, no less) per Sunday, or else. What coursed through our minds as we sat on the pews during communion?
I shudder to think whether there were those who spent their communion time spying. Were they more concerned with people who didn’t partake but “should have,” or with people who were partaking but “shouldn’t have”? I suppose most thought that partaking when you were not “authorized” was also sinful.
I shudder to think that a lot of us spent more time making sure the requirement was satisfied “decently and in order” than that communion was experienced communally (!) as a dynamically meaningful, adoring, and faith-filled commemoration.
I also shudder to think back on a few I noticed exiting the “auditorium” immediately after communion. Were they ex- or closet-Catholics who believed they got grace by biting crackers and sipping juice? Were they simply shallow “converts” who had been sadly acclimated to think that once they were dipped, they were supposed to partake, and that was about the sum of Christianity? Of course we never saw this sub-group of folks on Sunday nights¹ or Wednesday nights. . . .
Recently, I heard, “Every time you miss the Lord’s Supper, you rebel against the Lord’s will.”
I wished there were a deeper concept of what the Lord’s Supper is about. Somehow, I think the Lord meant for it to be more than a requirement that may be submitted to, or rebelled against. Why do so many otherwise thoughtful souls seem to suggest that this is all there is to it?
I grew up thinking the Lord’s Supper was a requirement. I don’t think it was just me.
¹ Diabolically, I once plotted to force the Sunday-morning-only adherents in my congregation into a crisis of conscience by observing the Lord’s Supper at church on Sunday nights only. This never would have worked: the structure doesn’t allow for intentionally forcing scores into not having the opportunity to partake. That would have been tantamount to partial spiritual genocide and institutional suicide.