I mentioned on Sunday that I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about the Lord’s Supper and our observance of it.
My first concern is how we PRACTICE the Lord’s Supper. Basically, we insert it into our service – somewhat awkwardly, in my opinion. By “awkward,” I mean that it is typically unrelated to the rest of the service. It’s just stuck in there because it’s the first Sunday of the month and this is what we do on the first Sunday of the month.
My second concern has to do with our UNDERSTANDING of the Lord’s Supper.
The Baptist view (owed to a 16th century theologian named Zwingli) is that the Lord’s Supper is simply a commemoration – or ceremony for the purpose of remembering (not forgetting) Jesus’ sacrifice. It follows then that the bread & juice are mere aids or devices for helping us remember.
This is a minority view within the global, historic Church. Instead, the vast majority of Christians (both now & historically) believe that Jesus’ presence with His people is dynamically (albeit mysteriously) heightened or enhanced during the ceremony, with the effect being that His faithful followers are brought into closer connection with Him.
My question on Sunday was: If this is true, shouldn’t we linger a bit in His presence . . . and not be so quick to go home or move on to some other activity?
The idea that keeps popping into my mind is that, on the first Sunday of each month, we have an all-church potluck meal (or “love feast,” the early Christians would call it) after the 2nd service.
This meal would then be followed by several testimonies – i.e., opportunities for several in the congregation to give glory to God for what He’s been doing in our lives. We would then wrap up our time together with observance of the Lord’s Supper. Ideally, we’d ask one of the ladies in the church to bake the communion bread for that day.
According to scholars, this was the pattern of the early Church. It led to some problems (the poor were often excluded from the meal), but the solution was for the well-off to bring more food, not for the practice to end.
Several obstacles immediately come to mind, such as:
· How many of the 1st service attendees would choose not to stay or come back?
· What if we don’t have enough food?
· Can we get the fellowship hall set up quickly enough?
· Will bringing food be a distraction?
· Will this create a lot of extra work for the social committee?
· Will this be too long of a morning for young children?
My inclination is to give it a try for several months, but this is something for the diaconate to chew on & make a decision about. Please pray for them as they do. Also, I’d like to hear what YOU think. Would this be good for our congregation? Maybe you have a better idea for making our observance of the Lord’s Supper more meaningful!