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This is the body…

September 16, 2007

bread-and-wine.jpg

I have “served” communion so many times that I really have no idea what the number would be. Most of those (not all) were in a very formal ritual of pomp and circumstance. We lined up and passed fancy plates, said prayers and then solemnly dispersed to silently pass the tray/plate/communion ware down the pews. They looked something like this

communionware.jpg

As a teenager, I mostly worried about not missing someone. When we lived in Jackson another guy and myself were saddled with trying get 8 guys every week to pass the communion (we called it serving). It was bad. Some people would flat out say no. Many would avoid me. Most tried not to make eye contact. So we ended up serving ourselves numerous weeks. Not that I minded at all but it is just part of the story.

A little over a year ago, I led a group in some thoughts about communion at summer camp. We made note of our need to find forgiveness in the past and our need for a future where things will be made right. Then we as families each took turns partaking of the elements.

Today we, (Kim and I) were asked to serve communion. Our communion time is a bit different that what I describe above we have a few stations set up with where as people are ready they can come and take the elements. As they and break the bread, they are told the ancient words, “The body of Christ broken for you”. And as they come to the cup, “This is the blood of Christ shed for you”.

I had the cup and tried to make eye contact with each person and tried to put emphasis on the word you. Seeing each person and thinking Jesus died for you. Many whose names I know, some I didn’t was very moving. It was truly an honor. Some people spoke back. Thank-you. Praise God. Amen. Others seemed almost shaken by the thought that this blood was shed for You.

Afterwards, Kim echoed similar thoughts. That it was very moving, that she too tried to make eye contact.

I was again reminded that in communion there is a lot more going on here than we usually remember.

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. September 16, 2007 4:31 pm

    I’ve been thinking a lot about the Communion “thoughts” lately. Everyone speaking (of late) seems to be preacher-wannabe types who try to give a mini-sermon about whatever. Our leadership is trying to bring back the focus on the death & ressurection of Jesus & the WHY we do what we do.

    Anyway…..this morning it struck me that we are really asked by Jesus to perform a eulogy of sorts. We are to remember Him & keep His memory alive as we “toast” Him. It’s a mixture of grief & happiness, but knowing Him is what connects us all & we are to remember that.

    I like making eye contact too.

  2. September 16, 2007 7:37 pm

    We do communion sometimes like that at Woodmont. I love it when you are around other you can share it with. A hug, eye contact, even the few words you speak to each one coming by make a huge difference.

    At Grace Chapel sometimes we all go to one table. You stand in line for a long time. I usually sit in the balcony so we go down the stairs and all the way in. I didn’t think I would like that because I don’t normally like waiting in lines but it is good to see people’s faces and especially when you see someone you know in the line.

    You are right. There is a whole lot more going on spiritually than just what we see. God is at working building community in our souls. There is a depth of contact there that goes beyond the physical.

    Thanks for sharing your experience!

  3. September 17, 2007 5:17 am

    i remember the first time that i got to participate in a communion service like you are talking about. i was at ‘stream in the desert’ in midland, tx, at golf course road church of Christ. i was there with a group from park row church of Christ, where dorothy and i attended. that way of serving was so personal. there were a lot of tears, and hugs.

    i have suggested this type of communion service before to our shepherds before, but have not gotten a confirmation, or denial. i think it would great for us here at port city to have a feeling of the “personalness” of what Jesus did for us.

  4. September 17, 2007 5:46 am

    I hate to rant here–but I think sitting on our bottoms, looking at the back of somone’s head–with the *men* passing communion borders on un-scriptural. I find much more meaning–and I believe it’s much more scriptural to have some horizontal and vertical communication going on–IMHO–the more you have of both, the more scriptural.

  5. September 17, 2007 3:29 pm

    Yes, thanks for sharing your experience, Tommy. You and Kim are to be commended for your thoughtfulness and caring.

    Wish we did something like that here. Wishing . . . but it will never happen.

    Actually, Tom and I together on our back porch is even better!

    Dee

  6. September 18, 2007 1:17 pm

    There is a lot more going on here than we can remember. I won’t launch into a sermon on communion, but I just don’t see us- no matter how we partake- doing it justice in our time-managed worship.

    Thanks for making us think about this today.

  7. July 24, 2008 5:03 pm

    Hi, just planning an international event through Facebook of a “rolling communion” – and I ‘borrowed” the image of bread wine form your site – I also read what you had to say – very good. If you’ve got facebook – take a look at this event – I think you’d be interested.

    John

  8. John permalink
    September 8, 2008 7:46 pm

    I am happy that so many are putting emphasis on the spiritual side of communion. Dedicated to ecumenical efforts as I am with other Christians, I find emphasis on this spiritual side of communion to be essential in dialog with the Anglicans, Catholics, and Orthodox. You may not agree with these religious traditions, but they have retained some elements that you guys are trying to implement into worship.

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