With the plethora of denominations in the world, I suspected that it was only a matter of time before the "CHURCH OF THE COMMUNION" would be created. As its name suggests, this church focuses exclusively on the Lord's Supper. In fact, that is the ONLY act of worship practiced in the "CHURCH OF THE COMMUNION". (Services typically last 20 minutes or less.) Attendees show up on time (after all, if you miss communion, you miss it all) and leave promptly. To my knowledge, there are no songs, sermons, prayers (other than those offered during communion), and occasionally no contribution.
Active members of the "CHURCH OF THE COMMUNION" site several reasons for attending. First and foremost, services are CONVENIENT. While attending services at some churches might tie up the better part of a morning, attending the "CHURCH OF THE COMMUNION” is no different than taking a coffee break. Secondly, attendees insist that the Lord's Supper is the only critical act of worship. They believe that other acts of worship, such as singing, giving, praying and hearing the gospel are elective. In other words - why waste time with the "preliminaries" when the "CHURCH OF THE COMMUNION" allows its members observe the "main event" and leave.
Before going on, I confess that the "CHURCH OF THE COMMUNION" does not actually exist, at least to my knowledge (although a careful search may reveal denominations utilizing that name). The reason I referred to such a church is that millions of so-called christians would likely flock to it. Tragically, this might include a substantial number in the Lord's church.
I say this because some make it a habit of arriving at service around the time communion begins, then make a hasty exit. (I do not refer to those who are forced to leave because of work schedules, illness or emergencies.)
Just as with the hypothetical members of the "CHURCH OF THE COMMUNION", these individuals also believe that the Lord's Supper is the “main event” of worship, and that the other worship acts are optional. This is a tragic attitude, and I believe it is unscriptural, not to mention being distracting and displaying impertinence towards God and His word.
This flawed idea likely arose back in the pioneer days. At that time, few preachers were available, so saints did the best they could when they assembled to worship God. They often met outdoors, sang songs, offered prayers, partook of the Lord's supper, and went home. If a preacher was available, he would deliver a sermon. However, the one constant was the Lord's supper. From this, the belief emerged that it was the most important part of worship.
When increasing numbers of Americans began taking vacations, some Christians would stop at a church long enough to observe the Lord's Supper. To encourage this flawed practice, some resort area congregators went so far as to prominently list the times of their communion services. Unfortunately, this led some Christians to believe that, as long as they partake of the Lord's Supper, their worship obligation is complete.
While the communion service is important, nothing in Scripture indicates that singing, praying, giving and listening to God's word are optional. Worship is not a matter of doing the least possible for God; it is giving God our very best!
“Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.” (Acts 20:7)
Jesus, Always Jesus!