The beginnings of communion

Mark was moving expeditiously, gracefully down the aisle, doing that tray-passing thing many church “servers” (men only, of course — see the end of this post on that point) do.  During communion, you know, it’s supposed to be efficient and “decently and in order” and quiet.

As Mark neared our row to hand us the tray of “bread,” my 3-year-old son — very quietly, because he is a good boy — waved at Mark.

And Mark waved back.  (And I was so glad he did, rather than fearing any propriety police who might be glancing his way, presuming he should be more staid and “proper.”)

Communion is, after all, multi-directional.  Communing with one another is included as we commune with Deity.  As our son comes to understand this special thing we do in Christian gatherings, it seems to me that a relational, smiling reach from person to person is appropriate and even exemplary.

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4 thoughts on “The beginnings of communion

  1. Lynn Rhodes 10/12/2012 / 10:08 am

    Jesus instituted and the early disciples practiced the observation of the “supper” in the midst of a meal. It was a time of shared fellowship and remembrance. In the Acts, Luke seems to use the same terminology for eating together and sharing the communion – “broke bread.” We have degenerated the time into a ritual and duty with certain unwritten rules about the “partaking.”
    It is interesting that we allow women to pass the trays while seated in the pews,or even to walk the tray down the pew to the next person, but they can’t be in the aisle while they pass the tray.

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    • Brian Casey 10/12/2012 / 10:32 pm

      Exactly. I’d actually said the same thing about the women’s passing trays thingin this post a few days ago, toward the end (section 3).

      I like how you phrased our trend with the Lord’s Supper — degeneration. Sad when it becomes “ritual and duty.” I’ve had a love-hate relationship with it most of my adult life — hating the fact that I rarely “get anything out of it” and hating the ritualization … and simultaneously loving it enough to keep questioning and innovating.

      These days, most of our communion times are around our dining room table with a half-dozen student friends. Not always completely fulfilling and focused, but I think we’re a a little closer to the original intent.

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  2. ozziepete 10/15/2012 / 11:06 am

    Bryan, if you haven’t already read “Come to the Table” by John Mark Hicks, I think you’d really enjoy it. He advocates making the Lord’s Supper part of an actual meal as the Biblical intention. I think you’d find it fulfilling particularly in your home meetings. Here’s a description of one of his LS/meal experiences. http://tinyurl.com/8hz8qzm

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    • Brian Casey 10/15/2012 / 9:46 pm

      Thanks, Peter. i read something of Hicks’s about 10-15 years ago and was turned off, but I have no idea at this point what that was. I have the vague sense that it was along the lines of the “whole life as worship” concept. Anyway, enough people have mentioned *Come to the Table to me *over the years that I really should get that. A few sentences read at the link you provide here tells me I would gain from it. Currently, our communion times are almost always around the table, but I can’t say that I think we’ve been all that effective with it. I will surely gain from Hicks on this.

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