Sunday, September 4, 2016

Communion / Lord's Supper

In the Bible we are told to remember the Lord's death through the ordinance of Communion. The 'rules' are quite loose, and hence many churches do it different ways. Some observe it every quarter, others do it monthly, and some do it weekly. I've visited a few churches since we like to travel and have day jobs so weekends are when we're out and about, and I thought I'd share what I've seen.

At my current church, our Pastor reads the passage from 1 Corinthians 11 or one of the Gospels about the Last Supper, specifically the part about the bread. While the pianist quietly plays, the Elders then pass around the dishes with broken matzo, then we all take it together. Pastor then reads the next part, about the cup. The Elders pass around dishes with cups of grape juice, again while the pianist quietly plays, and we all take it together. 

The church I attended when I was younger did Communion the above way, with a little extra. While the Deacons were passing the dishes around, men would stand as they felt led and read a hymn or Bible passage that brought out an element of Communion to them. 

A few months ago we went and visited relatives and went to their church. It happened to be communion Sunday, so we got to experience a new method of communion that they called "Come Forward Communion." I liked the experience - I think changing up the communion service helps you think about the different parts and see things in a different light.
Basically the elders stood at the front of the auditorium and the congregation was dismissed by row. The congregation walked to the front, got the elements, and went back to their pews. You took the elements in your own time, whether right after you got them, on the way back to your seat, or after you sat down. When I received the bread from the elder, he said "His body was broken for you." I don't remember what the elder handing out the juice said because the first one's statement really stuck with me.
Individually receiving the elements really made the experience personal. We were taking communion together as a group, yet individually since we got the elements one at a time from the elders.
Overall I liked the experience. It's not something that needs to be done in every communion service, but I think it is nice to change things up so we see things in a new light.

Another church I visited passed around the dishes with the standard Communion cups in them, but they were stacked. The bottom cup contained the cracker while the top cup contained the juice. It was an efficient way to get both elements to everyone. We all took the elements in our own time as well, which contributed a personal touch even though we were all together. 

I think it is eye-opening how we as Christians can take the ordinance of Communion and express it in different ways that are all valid. Maybe this post will make you think of Communion in a new way? 

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