Posts are in reverse chronological order.
The Lord’s Supper
Yesterday we celebrated the Lord’s Supper. I need some advice and prayer on how to have the proper attitude. Actually I think I know my problem: I don’t start preparing the week before—I just sort of show up for Sunday School, notice that the elements are being set out, and say to myself: “Oh, right, first Sunday of the month, Lord’s Supper.”
I try to focus, during order-of-service prayer times, on the meaning of the Lord’s Supper and the unthinkable sacrifice that it represents. Often, however, I find myself worrying rather than worshiping. This is especially true now that my boys are participating. Are they really ready? Do they really understand the seriousness, and that they should pass if they are holding onto a sin? Will they spill their grape juice? Will one of us spill the entire tray of juice as we pass it along? This is not what I should be thinking about. (It could be worse I tell myself, if they do spill it-- it's no big deal. After all, it really is just grape juice.)
I know, intellectually, how important the Lord’s Supper is, but I struggle to get my emotions and thoughts to reflect the proper solemnity. We are told in the Bible to celebrate Christ’s death, but nowhere are we told to celebrate his birth. Yet I find it far easier to focus on Christmas than the Lord’s Supper. Yikes.
In our new church, as I suspect is almost the universal custom, the pastor requests that everyone hold the elements until everyone has been served. However, at a Presbyterian church we attended in Virginia, the pastor would sometimes ask us to wait, and sometimes ask us to partake as we received. Once I asked him what made him choose one way or another. He said that he just wanted to make a point that neither method was prescribed in the bible. He rightly pointed out that, as far as drinking the wine, the apostles drank as served—since they shared one cup that they passed around. So his practice, of using both methods, makes sense to me. I actually prefer to partake as served, and then concentrate on prayer without the distraction of holding the element.
The bible does not specify how often we should celebrate the Lord’s Supper. I find it interesting that some people think it is so important we should do it every week, and others think that it is so important we should do it infrequently, lest it become too routine-- different conclusions from the same premise.