Communion Seasons

“The children of Israel…  kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with great gladness…  and the whole assembly took counsel to keep other seven days: and they kept other seven days with gladness…  So there was great joy in Jerusalem: for since the time of Solomon the son of David king of Israel there was not the like in Jerusalem…  and their voice was heard, and their prayer came up to his holy dwelling place, even unto heaven.”

2 Chron. 30:21-27

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Subsections

Frequency of the Lord’s Supper
The Administration of the Lord’s Supper

Bible Verses on Preparation for Communion with God
Preparing for the Lord’s Supper
Communion Sermons and Table Addresses
The Common Cup
Sitting at the Table
Common Bread
Wine
Communion Tokens

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Order of Contents

Start Here
Articles
Books
Historical
Quotes

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Start Here

Isbell, Sherman – The Administration of the Lord’s Supper  2006  20 pp.

This historical essay describes the Biblically principled practice of the reformation Scottish Church’s administration of the Lord’s Supper.  Special attention is given to their communion seasons which were often held outdoors in fields, ministering to thousands, and included preparatory preaching, sitting at tables, and using common cups.

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Articles

1800’s

Anderson, John – ‘Of Humiliation Days Before and Thanksgiving Days After the Administration of the Lord’s Supper’  Download  1800  30 pp in Vindiciae Cantus Dominici   This article can be read for free and downloaded in a contemporary format (retitled: ‘Communion Seasons Defended’) by signing up for a free Lulu account.

Anderson was a minister in the Associate Presbytery in Pennsylvania, who came from the Anti-Burgher Secession Church in Scotland.

This, and the works by Thomson and Duncan below were responses to John Mitchell Mason (1770-1829), a minister of the Associate Reformed Church (in America) who had just written Letters on Frequent Communion, anonymously, in defense of observing the Lord’s Supper whenever the church meets together

Thomson, John – Letters Addressed to the Rev. John Mason of New York, in an Answer to his Letters on Frequent Communion  1801  47 pp Glasgow

Thomas was of the Scottish Seceders.

Houston, Thomas – ‘Season of Humiliation and Fasting’  1878  3 pp.  in The Lord’s Supper: its Nature, Ends and Obligation, pp. 173-175

Houston was a late-1800’s Irish Reformed Presbyterian.

Kennedy, John – A Ross-shire Communion Season & A Communion Season, in The Days of the Fathers in Ross-shire, ch. 4, pp. 109-111 & 224-230

Kennedy was a Free Church of Scotland minister in the Highlands of Scotland.

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Contemporary

Murray, David – The Scottish Communion Season  n.d.  25 paragraphs

Murray, a Scot and a professor at PRTS, gives an introduction and overview of the Scottish communion season.

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Books

1800’s

Duncan, Alexander – A Disquisition on the Observance of the Lord’s Supper, with a View to the Defence of the Presbyterian Plan of Administering that Ordinance, with an Appendix, a Short Review of Mr. Mason’s Letters on Communion, pts. 123  1807  223 pp Edinburgh

Carstairs, A.G. – The Scottish Communion Service with the Public Services for the Fast Day, Saturday and Monday Before and After Communion  1829  310 pp.  

Milroy, William – A Scottish Communion  1882  240 pp.

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Historical

Articles

1800’s

Ross, William – Ch. 6, ‘The Minister’s Labors in Connection with Communion Seasons’  in Glimpses of Pastoral Work in the Covenanting Times, a Record of the Labors of Andrew Donaldson, 1644-1662  1877  Ross was in the Free Church of Scotland.

Sprott, George W. – pp. 140-1  in The Worship and Offices of the Church of Scotland: Or the Celebration of Public Worship, the Administration of the Sacraments, and Other Divine Offices, According to the Order of the Church of Scotland; Being Lectures…  1882

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1900’s

Ramsey, David A. & Koedel, R. Craig – ‘The Communion Season—An 18th Century Model’  1976  Journal of Presbyterian History (1962-1985), vol. 54, No. 2 (Summer, 1976), pp. 203-216

Cheape, Hugh – ‘The Communion Season’  1997  12 pp.  in Scottish Church History Society

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Book

MacLennan, George – The Story of the Old Time Communion Service and Worship, also the Metallic Communion Token of the Presbyterian Church in Canada, 1772  1924  75 pp.

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Quotes

Quotes on a Preparatory Worship Service Before the Lord’s Supper

Love, John – Sermons Preached by the late Rev. John Love (Glasgow: 1853), pp. 212–213

Sherman Isbell: ‘A Thursday Fast Day sermon by John Love at Greenock in 1785 contains an apology for observing times of self-abasement prior to the communion. His text is Gen. 18:27: “And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, who am but dust and ashes.” Love remarked that,

“Times of peculiar nearness to God, will be times of special abasement and humiliation of soul before him.  Abraham was at this time admitted into great nearness to God, and we see the effect which it had upon him.  He has not much to say.  God’s people at these times have such views of their own vileness, as it is beyond the power of language to describe; it is not a time to pay compliments to God, in neatness or fluency of speech…  This observation will vindicate the propriety of appointing a day of fasting and humiliation, preparatory to the dispensation of the Lord’s Supper.

It may be asked, What is the reason for such appointments?  Is it not a feast of gladness and of triumph?  It is true it is so, but who are they that are to be the partakers at this feast?  Are they not sinners, who have many things about them to humble them?  And it is most fit, that their humility and lowliness of spirit should bear some proportion to the dignity and glory of this ordinance, and to their nearness of access to God in it.”‘

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Related Pages

The Sacraments

The Lord’s Supper

Sitting at the Table

Intinction

All the Works of the Westminster Divines on the Lord’s Supper

Paedocommunion

The Mass – Transubstantiation