The Lord’s Supper has a deep and special meaning for Seventh-day Adventists. When in crisis or unusual circumstances, what do we do if we’re not able to gather in churches and participate in the Lord’s Supper? After all, it’s one of our fundamental beliefs. But neither the Bible nor the official statement mentions how frequently it should be celebrated.
Various options were considered by early Adventists. Some advocated having the Lord’s Supper only once a year, while others recommended doing it more frequently. Ellen White did not state how often the service should be held, though she wrote that it should “be observed . . . more frequently than the annual passover.”1 In time, it became a custom for groups of churches to get together four times a year, where one of the events was the Lord’s Supper.
Many years later, respected Seventh-day Adventist leader W. E. Read provided this helpful statement: “As far as we know, there is no counsel in the Spirit of Prophecy on this matter [frequency of Lord’s Supper]. As an organization, it seems that from the very beginning we have followed the plan of quarterly celebration of the ordinances, and this plan has persisted, in general at least, to the present time.”2
If because of unusual circumstances we’re not able to have the Lord’s Supper every
quarter, we’re not violating any biblical teaching or the Seventh-day Adventist understanding of this sacred service. Let’s remember that our salvation is a gift from Jesus Christ, and the Lord’s Supper reminds us of what He did for us while encouraging us to look forward to His return.
Jesus said: “I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom” (Matt. 26:29, NKJV).
We look forward to that day!
Nikolaus Satelmajer has served as a pastor, administrator, and communicator. He retired in 2010, but has continued to serve as an interim pastor for many Seventh-day Adventist church congregations.
1 Ellen G. White, Spiritual Gifts (Battle Creek, Mich.: Seventh-day Adventist Publishing Association, 1864), vol. 3, p. 228.