Sunday Sermonizing: Communion With Jam and Cheese On The Bread
Several weeks ago I participated in a public communion service, as believers in Jesus do.
And it was good.
There were the typical reminders of the body and the blood of Christ. Forgiveness. Redemption. The Gospel story. It was a moment of quiet reflection. Introspection. Repentance.
And this was good. In fact, I'll even say this was necessary. But, I felt like something was lacking, like a beautiful painting that lacked the touch of detail necessary to bring it alive.
I was alone. Normally, Renee' would have been next to me, but she wasn't able to join me at this particular service. And even if she had been there, the arrangement and set up for most communion services in churches is that communion is a private time. Take the Lord's Supper in a state of reflection and repentance. Silence. It's good for the soul.
There is nothing at all wrong with alone. In fact, I love alone. I thrive on alone. Alone is my recharge, restore, and regenerate time. Extended people time makes me tired. I need alone time.
But I question the way we do communion in the modern Evangelical church. Should it be alone? Should it be as a part of the Sunday church/worship service at all?
Jesus set the precedent before a shared meal. Paul gave some expanded instruction to the Church in I Corinthians 11. But, it was also in the context of a shared meal, not a formal worship service.
Could it be that we're getting it wrong? Or could we be falling short of original intentions? Incomplete?
I don't know the answer to that question - and I'm not arrogant enough to believe a blog post will change a 2000-year tradition of the Church.
But consider this:
Our small group meets at our home. We have bread (with cheese and butter and jam and hummus, among other tasty treats) and juice (along with wine and coffee and bubbly water). We catch up. And have normal, everyday conversation with simple, common food and drink. At some point, the leader of the group speaks up and shares a reminder of Christ's sacrifice and how this is meaningful for her or him today. Another shares. And then another. And several more. We pray together and leave grateful for forgiveness and redemption and the majesty of the story we walk in. But it's majesty in the mundane.
Communion and community are very different words that belong together. A sense of personal repentance, along with a sense of togetherness. Christians can't neglect either one. I believe that's what the writer of Hebrews meant when he told us not to neglect this.
Is one form better than the other? I don't necessarily think so. But at this stage of my life, I surely do need both.