For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. – 1 Corinthians 11:26 (NRSV)
Some congregations serve Communion once a month. Others do it quarterly. And some weekly, which is what I advocate whenever I’m debating the subject of Communion frequency. I could give you a hundred reasons why I’m right. But I won’t. Because the truth is that there are really good arguments for other intervals, too.
For Paul and the Corinthians, weekly was probably the norm. But it wasn’t the point. Paul’s more interested in meaning than intervals. He tells the church that by eating and drinking, they’re keeping the dangerous memory of Jesus’s unjust death alive in the world as they await his return. For Paul, the answer to “How often?” wasn’t weekly or monthly. It was until.
How often should we serve Communion?
Until all the unjust deaths we so casually ignore are remembered, and every victim resurrected. Until there are no more unjust deaths.
Until the poor we now exclude from life’s feast have pride of place at the banquet. Until no one is poor.
Until the food we bless and share among ourselves is food blessed and shared with all the hungry. Until no one is hungry.
Until the kindom we now work against every time we deny mercy to the sinner, liberation to the oppressed, love to the despised, and joy to the sorrowful fully occupies our hearts. Until that kindom appears.
How often should we celebrate Communion?
As often as it takes.
Until Christ comes.
Make us dogged in remembering you in bread and cup, Christ Jesus, until your mercy remakes our weary world.