July 25, 2008
I would love to share communion at the end of a truly communal meal and I plan to do it soon hopefully.
My church takes a minimalist approach.We celebrate a closed communion for the immediate church membership only, with unleavened bread and 'fruit of the vine' (i.e., not wine).This is done once per quarter.One can defend the approach as very biblical, but some have a tendency to get into a mode of 'that is our exegesis, and all others are bogus by definition' to which I fall short of subscribing.One prays for the return of Christ to settle all of the thumb-wrestling. ;)
The the two American Baptist churches that I've been a part of, they would have a Maundy Thursday service, with a pot luck dinner, and the Lord's Supper following. It's always a good time, and much like the Last Supper you envision.
I really appreciate the way the seminary I attend conducts communion. We break off a piece/chunk of bread and dip in to a cup. I like this because we all share the same loaf and cup and the symbolism of tearing the bread and dipping it in to the cup is very rich for me.
My church (PCA) celebrates the Lord's Supper every Sunday. The entire church gathers in a circle along the walls of the church. After reciting the words of institution as well as a warning that only baptized, repentant believers ought to partake, the pastor breaks a single loaf of bread in half and passes it around the circle. Two chalices of grape juice are also passed, followed by trays of the thimble sized glasses of juice for those not comfortable with sharing the cup. This is followed by a prayer and a hymn, and then the final blessing from the pastor.I love the fact that we celebrate weekly, and I love the format because it feels more like a communal meal than other formats I have experienced. I sometimes wish we used actual wine, and I also think that the use of individual tiny cups takes away from the symbolic value of the single cup - but I have to watch that I don't allow myself to get into too much of a critical spirit.I do know of another PCA church in the area that celebrates the Lord's Supper as a meal, as you described in your blog post, though I have never attended.
We do Communion once a quarter.One of those services (usually the first weekend of the new year) is different than the other three. That's an AGAPE feast. We do it outside of the regular worship time, usually Friday night. We have nicely decorated tables set up in the fellowship hall and there's as much bread and grape juice as you want. We sit around and tell God Stories (what God is doing in our lives right now). We also have a time to do actual footwashing. It's a great service.The other three are a bit more traditional. During the worship time with small bits of bread and thimble of juice. We still take time to wash one another's feet (although no one is forced to do that). While the bread and juice are being distributed we have a roving wireless mic so people in the congregation can share a short God story.That's how we do it.
I personally think that in today's church climate, where we have motorcycles being driven into the congregation and sex talks from the pulpit, the last thing we want is to open Communion up to innovation. Communion is a sacrament, another means by which we receive the grace of God, and in my experience "works" best when done in quiet reflection. In my church communion services are fairly plain and pretty much like what you describe, but I always feel God's presence in a special way during them and would really resent it if someone tried to make them more festive. I have been to worship services with trained choruses and comedy routines given during the sermon, but one of the turning points in my spiritual life came when I walked into an old-fashioned traditional service right before Easter when Communion was being served--outwardly nothing special, but I was shaken to the core by it. Call me a dinosaur if you will, but I say we need more of that, not less.
Some of the most special times of my life have been communion in small groups where we served one another. That is, I think, what Jesus intended.In services, our church does it by intinction. We usually have four couples up front serving and we all line up sort of like cattle and file through, pulling off a piece of bread and dipping it in the cup. It really isn't too bad as a recipient but I recently was one of the servers for the first time and I hated it. I felt like I was on an assembly line.Except for one thing ... the first person in line at my "station", rather than dipping her bread, took the cup from my hands and drank deeply from it. My first reaction was to wrestle her to the floor for the cup, all the while screaming, "Look lady, that's not how we do it here!" But then, as I relinquished the cup, it was a beautiful scene to watch her drinking in His fullness and power and blood.Not sure what the others behind her in line thought about it though ...
In my church (Poland) we drink wine. As all churches all arround the world (personally I have senn it in Scotland, Wales, Ukraine), except in USA and those places where American Missionsaries introduced this your strange cultural unbiblical habit. I have no idea how you can celebrate with grape juice. It takes much imagination. And, as far as I understand the whole idea of the sacrament, this is a means to help our imagination by pictureing things unseen, not a means to stretch it even more. We here also use one cup for all congregation, which pictureise quite strongly that we all are members of one blood shared for us. Again, using those silly small plastic cups points nowhere. Certainly not to oneness, but to individualness. Each of you with his own Christ and his own share in grace. Intention of the Lord was contrary - one cup for all! (1Cor 11:23-26). We also, like some of you, have a loaf of bread which we breake, which picturises the sacrifice of life. There was a leaf, there is broken one. I am really happy for all those churches, who do it this way, becouse this is what was intended (1Cor 10:16-17). Using those small pre-prepared bits again, shows, each one has got it's own small loaf of bread and no participation in one great loaf, thata was broken for us. Basically, I think many problems of US church would be fixed if only you would back to biblical way of celebrating this ordinance. It would teach you - simply as it was intended to do it - through it's celebration the nature of grace. ALL Scriture should be followed - especially Christ's ordinances!!!
I've tried to do the "communal meal + communion" thing in the small group we're hosting at my house. (It's also a nice thing to do when living in a commuter city and trying to hold small group at 6 PM!) I've never remembered to be intentional about the communion part, so it ends up being a meal during the study.Our church celebrates communion every week and in differing ways. Most of the time, people get out of their seats and go to where the little cracker bits and plastic cups are in trays. Still, it's different from passing down the aisle; our way tends to encourage more interaction. It's still pretty quiet/reflective, though; I tend to like that, but I also tend to want something different from time to time. We also pass the tray about once a quarter, or have individuals serve the sacraments to each other while saying a short blessing ("The body of Christ, broken for you; His blood, shed for you").I like all of them for different reasons. The only thing I don't like in other churches I've attended is not celebrating communion weekly. But that's a whole 'nother can of worms!
I attend a house church, and when we have communion, it is almost always as part of a full meal. Some times we pass the cup and loaf before the meal, sometimes after, some times people take it when the take their food. I don't think I only speak for myself when I say that we find it both enjoyable and meaningful, a celebration of what Jesus did for us and that we will eat this with Him in the future. But, whether or not we enjoy it is irrelevant. What does scripture say? (And for his focus, I enjoyed Mateusz's post. I think he's right about the one loaf thing per 1 Cor 10:17) Jude 12 refers to the Christian gatherings as "Love Feasts," as does early church history. 1 Cor 11:17-34 clearly describes that the cup and loaf are to be taken as part of a full meal. This is how, when the full meal is done without waiting for everyone (v 33), some people were getting drunk and other's were going home hungry. Hence, communal communion is not an seeker sensitive innovation, but implicit in Paul's commands. Also implicit in the text is that the Lord's supper was part of every church gathering. (As of now, my church does not do this every time, but I like to comment on that when I am with them, as a loving nudge.) With all that said, even if I do think it is a biblical command to eat the Lord's supper as a full meal, I do not mean to be divisive. Christ is our bond and boast and our sanctification, not how we do any church practice. For those interested in a detailed article on the topic, you can go tohttp://www.ntrf.org/articles/a...Although I might not be 100% on board with everything the author says, the Lord gave me a beautiful picture of the Lord's supper when I first read it.
Pray, stay connected with God, read the bible as a letter from Him to you to keep His command. Communion is to remenbrane of HIM, not party celebration.I am amazed about God love. I am a sinner saved by His grace, there are many time I have doubt in why God love me. Thank Jesus for His love that show on calvary cross.I prayed to God to stay connected & with the help Holy spirit, things that I have doubt will make me bow my knee when He answer my prayer. If anyone feel that is He not there for you. You can pray to God, ask Him yourself. He who believe in Jesus call upon His name. God already written His promise in John 1:12 . He is our Father in heaven to whom that believe. I give thank to God for the Holy spirit that wake me up for prayer in the morning at 4am, when storm of my life in near. I will pray & pray, He will restore me (Psalm 23).read the Lord's prayer. (Thy will be done). Peace be with you. In Jesus name I pray, Amen
Here at St. Anthony's Catholic Church in Hot Springs,SD, we partake in what is universally known as the Sunday Eucharistic Celebration of Holy Mass. The essence of Holy Mass is the re-presentation of our Lord's passion, death, and resurrection to our Heavenly Father. Within this re-presentation of Christ Holy Sacrifice, the Holy Spirit, thru the great miracle of "Transbubstantion" changes the bread and wine into the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ. This great Eucharistic Mystery has been taking place since the great ourpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost 2008 years ago. The Eucharistic Celebration, whereby Catholics gather each day as our Lord commanded, partake in His Holy Communion with us,which is the fulfilment of His promise to "be with us always until the end of the age." It is not symbolism, it is not wishful and fanciful thinking. Also, what was prefigured in the episode of the miracle of the loaves of bread is what our Lord intended in the Catholic Holy Mass. As a 52 year old life long Catholic, I could not participate in any other form of worship and praise. I invite all of you to explore the faith that our Lord Jesus gave to us. You will be fulfilled!
I am a 64 year old Nigerian man brought up in the Anglican tradition. I am old fashioned and also a stickler for strict almost literal interpretation of the Bible.My preference for Holy Communion is the one found in Scriptures. In my church, we come in small group in reverence and kneel in front of the Altar after the Liturgy must have been followed throughout the Communion Service. The priest gives each communicant unleavened bread - circular wafer and we all take a sip from the same cup of Communion wine, with a repeated statement- Body of Christ (for the bread) and Blood of Christ(for the wine).This ceremony must be familiar to "old style" Anglicans. I always feel that I am taking the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ which was shed for me on Calvary, and that I am following His injunction to "DO THIS IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME". Any modern interpretation of this will not do for me. Holy Communion is available daily in my church. It is done with such solemnity similar to what must have taken place on the night that this great feast was inaugurated by Jesus Christ Himself.
AMEN AMEN AMEN! We don't do commune like that, but I think that's how they did it in Acts and stuff.I think the anemic way in which we celebrate communion is indicative of the anemic way we do church: passive, unfeeling, anonymous, spectatorish
Hello from the U.S., Mateusz. Our church passes the plate with pieces of bread & the individual cups for communion; I like this communion much better because those who aren't yet believers will not be isolated from the worship; also, those who have examined their hearts and realize they shouldn't be partaking of the cup & bread at that time will be able to pass it on without being singled out. It's a very gracious way to partake of communion.As one in whose life alcohol has played a devastating role, I am also grateful for the grape juice. I would not be able to drink wine if it were offered (the smell of alcohol makes me sick to my stomach).
Well, that's interesting. I don't think God intended communion to be done this way - don't think it's what the bible describes or God's heart at all, but if it works, go with it.I disagree that opening something to innovation is bad. I think tradition lends itself to a hardness of heart and forgetting the meaning behind the tradition. Jesus roundly criticized the Pharisees for their traditions - please be careful, brother.
I am really with Mateusz on this one. There is a reason why Jesus passed ONE loaf around. There is a reason Jesus passed a cup of wine around and not water or Welches grape juice. The fact that some people abuse wine is not new to our generation...it's as old as Noah and there certainly were wine abusers in Jesus day. Just as there are people that are addicted to overeating and simply wont stop. I grew up with the little individual mini crackers and thimble full of grape juice. Jesus could have passed out 12 little mini crackers and 12 thimbles full of grape juice but He didn't. Why would that be? American fundamentalist Christians are so neurotic about wine. That kind of demonizing of wine actually helps create abusers. The Jews viewed wine as food, a gift from God. They knew that wine in moderation made you feel good. King David says:You cause grass to grow for the livestock and plants for people to use.You allow them to produce food from the earthâ€”wine to make them glad,olive oil to soothe their skin, and bread to give them strength.Notice what it says about bread and wine. Jesus was mistakenly called a lushThe Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, 'Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and "sinners." My Baptist friends are going to have a problem in the new world. When the wine is poured they're going to be saying, "no thanks, I'm a Christian" Isaiah 25: On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wineâ€” the best of meats and the finest of winesThe problem is sin and weakness, not wine. All the warnings in the Bible are about drinking and eating too much. And isn't it interesting about all the health benefits and disease prevention being discovered about olive oil, whole grain bread and wine.Here's what Paul tells the Baptist Timothy in 1 Timothy 5:23Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.
Since the only example of communion is in acts 20:7, we do what they did. On the first day of the week we have communion. Since every week has a first day we take the communion every week. This makes it a part of our worship just as often as we pass the collection plate. Both are part of worship and both have equal importance. As long as the elements are the same as what Christ gave, ie unleavened bread and fruit of the vine, then the only thing left is to determine when to participate.
That's "Transubstantiation." Sorry about that, folks.
Honestly when you asked how do I celebrate the LORD`s Supper;I though of the Passover Seder Supper Jesus/Yeshua had with his 12 disciples in the upper room. As a Messianic gentile I and my family celebrate the Jewish feastivals and the Christian holidays. I have been in many different kinds of christian churches that celebrate the LORD`s Supper with reverance and humilty. We are one body, but many members.
Cherian ChekotuGreetings from Church of God in Oman. Dear Brthren, Surely I am so fortunate to browse through your article and thank you for the opprtunity to comment.Since the bread and the drink at the Lord's table are symbolizing the Lord's broken body and shed blood, one should reverently use a substance of same characteristic qualities. The bread should be prepared bearing in mind the broken body of our Lord and not to use the one from the Bakery which is stacked for the purpose of sale tor the public. His deciples prepared for the Passover.Our Lord was with out any sin/ blemish. The very unleavened bread symbolizes that fact.At the last supper he got up from the supper and took an unleavened Bread (which symbolizes the Messiah/ the living bread which came from heaven) and broke it with thanksgiving saying this is my body take and eat in rememberance of me. The same way he also took the cup and blessed it and gave to his disciple to share it. Today many of the modern church believes that if one sips from the same cup he may get sick rather than healing. Thereby they sow the seed of unbelief at the very communion time which was meant for healing and restoration as we participate.As mentioned in the article while participating one should really meditate upon the suffering of our Lord and discern the Lord's body which was broken for us. It's appropriate to read and meditate the relavant scripture portions rather than doing it in a hurry just for the sake of doing. For it is the most important time of the worship. may God open the eyes of our understanding inorder to remember the Lord's suffering and death for us according to the scriptures.Examine the scripture (Is 34:16 , 2 Tim 3:16 ) we will find the right manner of doing the Lord's table. for the scripture is our blue print for the guidance in all areas of a believer's life while on this earth.
You honestly don't know Baptists who drink beer, wine, wine coolers, etc.? I sure do! I even know some who are struggling mightily with alcoholism. Must admit I don't know of anyone who drinks it for medicinal purposes anymore (unless they are self-medicating themselves (or having a toddy/shot of Nyquil). I agree with you that the problem may be sin and weakness. And I do believe Paul had something to say about what he would do if his actions would cause a brother or sister to stumble.Communion does not have to be actual wine & one loaf of bread to be meaningful & glorify the Lord. And I am so glad!
As a missionary that visits a number of churches over the course of each year, I always find it interesting how different churches "[remember] the Lord's death until he comes."I would say that there have been a TOTAL of 4 times that it has really been meaningful to me any more than just a ritual. One was the first time my parents let me take it after I was saved and the others were ones where someone, after a big group meal, took a loaf of bread and some wine (or grape juice) and drew our attention to Christ's death and passed around the loaf and poured us all a FULL glass to eat and drink together. They were the best desserts I've ever had.
Jayson, are the churches you visit in one country, or have they been in various parts of the world?
I've been in a lot of conversations lately about how we celebrate this important part of our corporate faith. In my church heritage, baptized believers participate in communion weekly - on Sunday. This has been seen as so important that some would come only to this part of the service and sneak out the back if they had other places to be. In my particular church family we have stirred the pot in our tradition by allowing all - children, adults, baptized or not - to take the cracker & juice. I am totally with you about the celebration and meal factor. I've thought it ironic that after communion our church will often have a meal together. That seems to be the place that would make most sense to stop and remember Christ together as he asked. I've also wondered why we only leave it to Sunday morning - what about all of the other times we are together for Bible studies or baby showers or teen devotionals? It is special, not doubt about it, but as we have kept it set apart, it has become sterile in many ways.
My most meaningful communion celebrations have been in a Spirit Filled Catholic Church and the other was a Christian version of the Passover Supper. Seems the messianic (saved) Jews and the Catholics have the most profound and deep meaningful communions of any churches that I have ever attended. I am not Catholic or Jewish, but I love the way they reverence the Cup and the Bread. They have a view of these items becoming the real body and blood of Christ Jesus as the priest prays. The saved Jews know how Jesus Himself celebrated the first communion during Passover. Absolutely life changing! I highly recommend it, at least once a year at Easter.
Yes, although I am not Catholic, they have taught me much about this wonderful worship of Jesus with His Body and Blood. All other denominations could learn much from the Catholics. The whole body of Christ (the Church at large) need to learn from one another. Catholics also have taught me how to visualize Christ on the Cross which I believe is missing in too many churches. I love the visual of the Cup being filled from Christ's pierced side where the Blood and Water flowed out. He changes it into Wine for us to drink as we come into unity with Him. I believe that when Jesus washed the disciples feet, He was prophetically acting out His grafting them into Him as the Vine. I believe He placed their feet right there on His Body where the hole would be later. He told them they would understand later. Then He took them through the Vineyard. Without this revelation, I believe we are a dead church.
I was referring to our supporting churches here in the US.
Hello Christiane Li,you see, your arguments are pragamatical and esthetical. The problem I see with it is that both pragmaticism and esthetic should be subdued to the greter cause of picturing grace during Lords Supper. Also, I see nothing wrong in isolating unbelivers - this is the way they learn the basic distinction that exists and once will be seen in the sharpest possible way - faithfull to the Lord and those, who are not. I see no profit in being gracious to those, who should be exhorted. As to your stomach, certianly the Lord will teach you how to drink wine with gratefulness , since it's His ordination. Maybe it is also a question of quality of wine. If it is very dry, it could couse some problems. But there is no necessity of using dry wine. In our church we use a delicate semi-dry or semi-sweet. Noone had anytime any problems
Mateusz, the Lord has already taught me to drink the juice with much, much gratefulness, gladness, and joy. Seeing as how it pleases and honors Him to have me remember His great sacrifice on Calvary with juice, I need go no further. I think we are coming at communion from differing vantage points - you see communion as God's grace bestowed, I see communion as a time of remembering what Christ did for me when He gave His life for me on the cross; grace I have each day from Him whether I partake of communion or not.Thank you again for your response. It is exciting to me to be able to speak with you although you are so far away. I wonder what city in Poland you are from?
Mr. Rau, our small congregation eats a meal together once a month and we begin the meal with thanks to the Father for the Son and the sacrifice Jesus made of Himself for us (broken body and spilled blood). We understand the command of Jesus from scripture is to remember His sacrifice each time we gather for a meal and crackers and grape juice in a dime-sized, plastic cup are not a meal. The emphasis, I think, Mr. Rau, should be on the fellowship afforded us by the sacrifice of Jesus, not on a contrived ceremony convenient to the clergy. The broken body of Christ affords us salvation while the broken bread and drink afford us temporal life--BOTH THE GIFT OF GOD.
Be a blessing to God
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