Presbyterians don’t do solo communion. This may seem strange if you think of communion as a purely private and personal act, but that’s not all that is going on. As Chad Van Dixhoorn writes, commenting on Westminster Confession of Faith 29:3-4, “this meal is intended to celebrate communion with Christ, but also with fellow Christians.”

A second related reason why the Westminster assembly disapproved of private communion is found in the Bible itself: not only did the individualistic approach of the Corinthians earn an apostolic rebuke (1 Cor. 11:20; c.f., 17-22), it seems to have been the settled pattern of the first Christians to ‘gather together to break bread’ rather than to eat in isolation (e.g., Acts 20:7).

(There’s also a third reason.)

Because communion calls for community, these truths lead us away from the communion alone option and toward a more helpful practice. For those who are homebound, either sick or taking care of the sick, the church can help by planning small, in-home worship services. For members at Covenant, we aim for every quarter. If someone can’t come to church, bring the church to them.

Yes, it requires some organizing, so currently, an elder and I team up. The elder schedules with other members to join us, and prepares the bread and wine; I prepare and then lead the service. Another idea: A small groupβ€”like a Bible study or home fellowship or even a service teamβ€”could skip its usual routine and worship with the homebound members instead. Get someone to prepare the communion elements, invite the minister, and worship together.

The worship is simple, intimate, and reverent. Often we sit around a kitchen table or a hospital bed, sometimes we stand. I keep things brief for the sake of the sick but speak to the heart and pray that the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. He always does.