Such a bounteous repast

John Calvin:

What we have so far said of the Sacrament abundantly shows that it was not ordained to be received only once a year—and that, too, perfunctorily, as now is the usual custom. Rather, it was ordained to be frequently used among all Christians in order that they might frequently return in memory to Christ's Passion, by such remembrance to sustain and strengthen their faith, and urge themselves to sing thanksgiving to God and to proclaim his goodness; finally, by it to nourish mutual love, and among themselves give witness to this love, and discern its bond in the unity of Christ's body. For as often as we partake of the symbol of the Lord's body, as a token given and received, we reciprocally bind ourselves to all the duties of love in order that none of us may permit anything that can harm our brother, or overlook anything that can help him, where necessity demands and ability suffices.
[Institutes of Christian Religion, IV, xvii, 44.]

He continues later:

Plainly this custom which enjoins us to take communion once a year is a veritable invention of the devil, whoever was instrumental in introducing it. […] it has come about that almost all, when they have taken communion once, as though they have beautifully done their duty for the rest of the year, go about unconcerned. It should have been done far differently: the Lord's Table should have been spread at least once a week for the assembly of Christians, and the promises declared in it should feed us spiritually […] All, like hungry men, should flock to such a bounteous repast. [sec. 46]

In Calvin’s mind, it was the infrequency of celebrating communion that made it possible for a “great pile of ceremonies” to be introduced to the ritual in the medieval Roman church. On the other hand, “the Supper could have been administered most becomingly if it were set before the church very often, and at least once a week” [sec. 43]. There is a practical limit to how complicated you can make a rite when it is practised so often.

Notice as well that infrequent celebration of the Supper means the infrequent nourishing and discerning of mutual love in the body of Christ. Communion, unsurprisingly, is a communal rite. If we each only needed to remind ourselves about Christ's passion, then perhaps we could each come up with our own private symbols to help us do that. But since we are one body, then it follows that we need a common sign to communicate that love. Can anyone suggest a better alternative than the sign that Christ specifically commanded us to use?

It is one of the great ironies of history that Reformed evangelicals have (to varying degrees) adopted something of the infrequency which Calvin criticised. In fact, we tend to take frequent communion to be a subtle sign of popishness.