A Weekly Refrain

Doing almost anything on a regular basis, especially religious anythings, can make it mechanical, stale, and/or hollow. There is no shortage of externally busy, highly liturgical, religious churches that dutifully go through many motions but do not do them the right way, with the right heart. A weekly observance of the Lord’s table is certainly not beyond this danger.

As the Israelites remembered God’s salvation repeatedly at their Passover feast1, Christians remember the cross at communion. How did they, how do we, guard against a frequent act of worship becoming the futile kind of familiar? There is infused into this ordinance, by Jesus Himself, a life-giving element. In remembering His death and resurrection the proper way, we will be protected from the dangers of religiosity to the degree that we celebrate with thankfulness!

Thankfulness is a powerful force. It crowds up our hearts with the right kind of affections, keeping our hearts from empty, hollow remembrance. It’s hard to find a truly thankful hypocrite. Thankfulness also crowds out all sorts of self sins such as self-sufficiency and self-righteousness. Conviction of sin rings the doorbell to humility’s house, but thankfulness comes into the living room. Or, conviction cleans the gun but puts no bullet in the chamber.

Herein is another danger of leaving communion at the confession level: it leaves us weaponless. Confession is important, but not potent. Thankfulness, on the other hand, fights for us and honors Christ. This table says something, and we say something by how we come to it. If we come with thankfulness, we cannot come too often. We will find our hearts made strong in the steadfast love of the Lord, acknowledged and celebrated as a weekly refrain.


  1. Think perhaps of the repetitive, responsive reading in Psalm 136.