Since I have become more Reformed in my doctrine, I have leaned away from calling the Lord’s Supper a mere memorial. I do view communion as a special means of grace given to the local church. I mean this in the Protestant sense, not with what I see as Roman Catholic baggage. I am aware that John’s Gospel does not have an institution of the Lord’s Supper as the Synoptics do. I do perceive that Jesus is saying something meaningful when he talks about eating his flesh and the like. However, I am still very wary of saying that John 6 is John’s “communion section” in the ecclesiastical and liturgical sense.
I think Jesus can be saying all kinds of intriguing and meaningful things about drinking his blood and such without literally advocating anything akin to a transubstantiation view. Rome’s view of what they call The Mass hurts a robust biblical soteriology, a balanced ecclesiology and a truly orthodox Christology. In some ways, I think the Lutheran view does as well.
However, I also think the casual attitude which many evangelicals have towards the Lord’s Table is a major problem. It seems as if they see it as merely ritualistic or a necessary inconvenience. This is not good. Communion helps us refocus on our sinfulness and God’s goodness. It should take us out of ourselves and point us toward the finished work or Jesus on the cross as well as his soon return!
I have been to almost half a dozen churches where they just lay the elements on a table on the side wall, make a mention they are available if you want, then without any explaining or meditating or what the old-timers called “fencing” (as in theologically guarding the table with what you say beforehand), the band starts rocking out to low–lights and whosoever wants to goes and does a little self-serve on the sideline. This is tragic.
Still, I do not claim to have it figured out – how is the Lord present? I don’t know? Should we even use that language? I don’t know? How does communion bless us? Not sure exactly of all the ways. Should we do it every week? Not sure. Etc, etc.
Regardless, I enjoy communion (sometimes) because I enjoy obeying the Lord (sometimes) and I know it does bless (should be all of the time?!).