As pastors and churches scramble to adapt to life in the time of coronavirus, we’re all trying to think biblically about which elements of church life can go online and which shouldn’t.
One area we’ve thought carefully about at PCF is whether to share the Lord’s Supper during our on-line services. There are some who would argue that the Lord’s Supper requires the physical gathering of God’s people in one place, as well as common elements (bread and cup).
As Elders, we agree that gathering together and sharing common elements is the best way to share Communion, and we’ll do it that way as soon as we possibly can. But we’ve decided to observe the Lord’s Supper now, during our online services. In fact, during this extraordinary season we’re observing it weekly (rather than monthly, as we normally do) because of the sweetness of remembering the gospel together and affirming our unity in Christ.
Numbers 9.1-14 is helpful here. It shows that, with respect to the observance of the Passover, God recognizes that there will sometimes be extraordinary, extenuating circumstances. In this passage, he shows himself willing to be flexible and to accommodate those circumstances. We think our present situation is analogous.
If it feels weird to receive the bread and cup at your home, that’s because it really is unusual and not ideal — just as it’s unusual and not ideal to have our worship services online. Our dissatisfaction with gathering virtually and receiving Communion while scattered should fuel a desire to come back together again in the flesh as soon as possible, even as we’re thankful to be able to share it in a less-than-ideal form for now.
Here are some helpful thoughts from The Gospel Coalition website on why it’s a good thing to share the Lord’s Supper while we’re scattered during this time.