06 March, 2006

Sharing - not partaking in - the Lord's Supper

The pastor at the church I attend made an interesting statement yesterday, as he devoted a sermon to explaining the Lord's Supper and Baptism. (Christian and Missionary Alliance).

(Loosely quoted. Ummm. No, brutally paraphrased, but I was running the projector - I could not transcribe!)
The Lord's Supper used to be centered around a meal, but the early Christians messed that up, so now we do it with wafers and little cups.

I don't know how many people agree with that history lesson, but I agree completely. I've just never heard anybody put it so succinctly, or honestly.

Does nobody else regret the loss of sharing the Lord's Supper?

Jude 1:12 TNIV
These people are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead.

2 Peter 2:13 TNIV
They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you. [Some manuscripts in their love feasts]

1 Corinthians 11:17-22 TNIV
17 In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. 18 In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. 19 No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God's approval. 20 So then, when you come together, it is not the Lord's Supper you eat, 21 for when you are eating, some of you go ahead with your own private suppers. As a result, one person remains hungry and another gets drunk. 22 Don't you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God by humiliating those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? Certainly not in this matter!

1 Corinthians 11:33-34 TNIV
33 So then, my brothers and sisters, when you gather to eat, you should all eat together. 34 Those who are hungry should eat something at home, so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment.

What does verse 33 mean, if it does not mean that we should gather together to eat the Lord's Supper as a love feast? Paul rebukes Corinth for their selfishness and greed. OK, let's not be selfish and greedy! But why stop sharing this meal of love?

If Peter and Jude both reference love feasts, and Paul here counsels that we should eat together, why can't we have feasts together to remember the Lord? The Lord Himself did not pass out wafers. The Passover was not celebrated with wafers. Wafers don't make us examine ourselves better, and the examining is not the heart of the issue. It is a preparation for eating and drinking.

1 Corinthians 11:25-26 TNIV
25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me." 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

"Do this in remembrance of Me," and "proclaim the Lord's death until He comes." Neither of these things requires a somber demeanor. Examine and move on.

Jesus said He would not taste again of the fruit of the vine until He enters His kingdom. Well, He has entered His kingdom! We have entered His kingdom! When I remember the Lord, should I not remember Him as He IS, as much as I remember Him as He was? His death is glorious. His resurrection is more so!

Wine symbolizes joy (among other things), and there is cause for great joy here.

The picture of the loaf also includes the fact that we are one body. His death opened a Way for us to God, and it also opened a Way for us to each other. We are able to be one body only because of His work which we celebrate in this Supper. Hence, it is a feast of love toward the Lord, and a feast of love toward each other.

Love can embrace times of solemnity, but it has reason and just cause for great joy as well. Let us celebrate the Lord's Supper with great solemnity on occasions (like during Lent, about which I knew nothing until my blogging experience started. Here and Here.), but let it also be celebrated with joy.

Either way, let us celebrate it together, instead of facing the back of each other's heads in silence. Let the people of God proclaim the Lord's death out loud. Let us mourn together, and celebrate together. Let us share.

11 comments:

Milly said...

It's always good to be reminded of what it's about. I have to admit that the job I have in the church some times takes away from what the cup and the bread are about. (the bread is a very tiny piece of cracker, not that I believe it matters) It is what is in our hearts. I do regret the loss of sharing the Lord's supper. When we gather togeather as fellow brothers and sisters in Christ we take more time at the table to praise the fact that Jesus died for us. Do I believe that folks can feel that with a waffer and a tiny cup on Sundy mornings? Yes. Do I each and every time? To be honest No. I have buttons to push knobs to turn and I have to focus on the people about to sing or preach. I try to back myself up when I can and praise Him after. If we sat at a table and took the time to really give God what is due. WOW!!!

Danny Kaye said...

I could not agree more with this post, Codepoke. It was a coupla years ago that I came to understand a few things about the Lord's Supper.

It is most definately meant to be shared as a much larger meal with a bunch of Jesus lovers at someone's house (or at a park, or a hotel, or anywhere)!

I also came to the conclusion that it is the most important aspect of our Christianity. No, not just our Sundays. But our entire Christian lives.
Here's a heavy revvy for ya':
In the OT there were many things that the Lord expected folks to do in order to keep their focus and memories on Him. (I believe you could count at least a dozen and then some.)
But in the NT, the only thing He wants us to do is to take time to remember Jesus and the cross; and that should be enough. If it is not, then we are doing something wrong.

I will back that last statement up with the passage that triggered my whole thinking about the Lord's Supper:
1 Cor. 11:28-30
A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. [29] For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. [30] That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.

My conviction is that it is our focus on the Lord's Supper that keeps us faithful, excited, healthy, and alive (whether or not there is bread and wine in front of us).

Anytime you come on up the NH, Codepoke, feel free to look me up and I'll make sure we share in the Lord's Supper. (Do you like Chicken Cordon Bleu?) ;-)

codepoke said...

Brother, after the last 2 years, I like almost anything I didn't have to cook myself! Chicken Cordon Bleu sounds like heaven.

My conviction is that it is our focus on the Lord's Supper that keeps us faithful, excited, healthy, and alive (whether or not there is bread and wine in front of us).

I never heard it put this way before. Absolutely beautiful. May the Lord grant your prayer!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Milly said...

IS anonymous a telablogger? Is this a new way to make people crazy? Is there a no telablogger list?

codepoke said...

Anonymous was a "spambot", or some name like that. Bored programmers decide to make money off clicks from blogs, and they write robots to find blogs that allow anonymous posts. I wondered how long it would take the spambots to find my little piece of the blogosphere. Looks like 3 months might be the answer.

I will leave my poor little blog exposed until I get a second or third spam, then I will turn the secret word thing back on.

MIlly said...

Does a bird drop down with the word. (wishing I had a cigar to put on here to finish the joke.)

;-}

Patchouli said...

BEAUTIFUL. I could never understand the absolute silence and, well, depression that seemed to hang over the congregation during the Lord's Supper. Even a good ol' country boy preacher would turn into a "propa English schola" when he announced that "we will be partaking of (dramatic pause) The Lord's Supper." All the adults got that holy look going, while all the kids wondered why grown-ups got all weird over snack time.
Sometimes we can get so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good.

A few of my friends are coming over to sing, and we'll be having Communion in Spirit-- and with cinnamon toast.

codepoke said...

A few of my friends are coming over to sing, and we'll be having Communion in Spirit-- and with cinnamon toast.

Yep, I'm jealous! May the Lord bless your time together.

Danny Kaye said...

"All the adults got that holy look going, while all the kids wondered why grown-ups got all weird over snack time."

laughing too hard to comment on that...just gotta find a way to use it in a lesson or conversation...please excuse me...

[*wipes tears from eyes with sleeve*] [*sniff*]

Thanks Patchouli. I needed that.

Andreia said...

Patchouli-

You go girl! This description is so funny!

Enjoy the fellowship of cinnamon toast with your friends!