There are several reasons why the meal that was in Jesus’ presence which he constituted as the Lord’s Supper cannot be shared across the internet’s bandwidth. First, this Supper is a churchly meal. The Supper that we receive has to be “this meal” that has been blessed by the prayer of consecration and words of institution. Just as Jesus instituted it with formal words, the Lord’s Supper has to be consecrated with those words by an ordained minister. People may well eat bread and drink wine as they watch a video from their pastor, but that is not really the Lord’s Supper. Even homes where an ordained teaching elder is present lack a full contingent of elders to preside at the table, which is another requirement for the Lord’s Supper to be properly administered.
…[W]e should not try to normalize our present situation. The present pandemic is a really difficult time for churches. Certainly, we should be together under Word, sacrament, and prayer as the primary driver of our Christian life ordinarily. Those things are ordinary means of grace, but this is not an ordinary time. Yes, God will provide his people with necessary spiritual nourishment, but we should not try to force God’s ordinary means into God’s extraordinary providence. We need to endure through this time the best that we can in the ways that God will provide for us now. In one sense, Christians should feel as though they do not have everything that they want from church at the moment. Christians should feel a tension about this time when we cannot assemble because they should long to be together again in person to receive Word and sacrament. Rather, than feeling normal about our present circumstances by pretending that we can receive God’s ordinary means of grace over the internet, we should pray vigorously for God to end the present crisis.
Harrison Perkins, “Virtual Communion?” The Mod (June 3, 2020)
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