This Sunday at Grace we will share the Lord’s Supper, also known as Communion. This will be the first time since March that we have observed this ordinance of the church together. We look forward to resuming our regular practice of remembering and proclaiming the Lord’s death until he comes again.
Here at Grace Community Church, we believe the two ordinances of the church are baptism and the Lord’s Supper. We believe these ordinances are to be observed in the context of the congregational gathering because they were given to the church to oversee and administer. We do not believe that baptism and the Lord’s Supper are to be observed as acts of devotion outside of the gathered congregation for worship.
There are reasons for this position. First, the symbolism of the ordinances communicates our belonging to the body of Christ. We are baptized into the body of Christ, and as members of the body of Christ we share the unity made visible in the Lord’s Supper. Second, baptism and the Lord’s Supper are to be done in an orderly manner. In both ordinances, there is to be an acknowledged, public profession of faith before they are administered. The congregation is the witness to this profession, and therefore provides the proper oversight and ordering of the ordinances. For these reasons, it is our practice to observe baptism and the Lord’s Supper when we come together as a congregation. (See Acts 2:41, Acts 20:7, I Corinthians 11:17-34)
What does this mean for Grace during this COVID-19 season?
First, since we are now gathering in person, we will return to our regular (monthly) observance of the Lord’s Supper during our Sunday worship service. In the weeks to come we will hold a baptism for new believers.
Second, we are grateful that our members who are not able to attend worship services during this season are now able to hear the songs and sermon each week. The Lord’s Supper will be shown on the livestream video. However, for the reasons stated above, we do not encourage participation in the ordinances virtually or remotely.
Grace has made an exception to this practice for permanently homebound members. In these cases, we have taken the Lord’s Supper to their home on the Sunday we observe it. Due to health reasons, these members do not share the hope of returning to the worship gathering when the COVID-19 season is over.
The COVID-19 season is not a permanent season, but a temporary suspension of normal Christian worship attendance for some people. When this season passes, they will gladly join us for worship and share in the ordinances with us.
This is a strange and challenging season for all people, and for congregations. As Christians, we view this season as an instrument in the hands of our Sovereign God to purify and strengthen his church, to bring glory to his name, and to give a witness to his grace in the world. Let’s join together in prayer for these things.