Church: What if?

I don’t know if this will be a series or if it’s just that it’s 12:30am and I can’t sleep, because my son can’t sleep, so we came downstairs and I set him up a bed next to the couch…

But I’ve been pondering something over the past couple days and thought I’d run it by the readers. This weekend we celebrated communion at our church. Last minute I got handed introducing it, which is totally cool, I look forward to stuff like that, but as I was just reading through 1 Corinthians 11, I really started thinking this through.

From what I know, for the early Christians, church was something foreign, at least what we have today. For them, they would meet in the Jewish Temple courts and talk about whatever they would talk about. They would also get together once a week to share meals, sing songs, and encourage one another. They shared everything they had and gave sacrificially. You can read all about this in Acts.

So, what I started thinking about was, when did we decide that Communion – the remembrance of the last supper between Christ and his disciples – would be on the first Sunday of every month? And when did we decide that we’d take little plastic cups and fill them with grape juice, and cut up loaves of bread for people to take back to their seats (at least this is how we do it). This isn’t even to mention the weirdness that happens with other churches when they start talking about transubstantiation

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking the ‘sacrament’. I’m just asking some questions.

To me, it seems like communion has lost it’s meaning.

To me, it seems like we’ve just taken some tradition handed down and done it for traditions sake.

To me, there doesn’t seem to be a focus on relationship with the way we do communion. It seems to me it’s more focused on a ritual, a routine, a thing to check off on our list of things to check off.

What if…

What if communion was a celebration?

What if communion was a state of being and not an event?

What if communion was celebrated in the homes of those who know how to relate to one another, and not in an environment where (a) people are basically surprised, even though it happens every month, or (b) there are many who don’t know what this ‘communion’ is, and are sometimes even banned from ‘partaking’.

What if communion was a time where the church stopped all the programmed worship, teaching, ministry, launching, etc. and just enjoyed the company of others in the spirit of relationship, remembering that we enjoy relationship with God and others because of the price paid by Christ sacrificing his body and blood.

I think it’s because we’re afraid.

Afraid of something different.

Afraid of breaking tradition.

Afraid of being real & authentic.

Afraid of being in true communion/relationship with people. It’s so much easier to ‘check it off’ the list at a worship service, than sit through a true meal and open up and share with others, listen to people’s stories, talk about God’s love and forgiveness.

Read some quick info on Communion here.

3 thoughts on “Church: What if?

  1. Ben

    Awesome thoughts Alex. We actually changed up our communion process during the weekends. We were a crackers and juice church until we recently moved to giving people the opportunity to pray, get up on their own, go to a table and break the bread and dip in the “wine”. We are creatures of habit, and if we do something one way for so long, we tend to forget it’s meaning.

    I love how Paul tells us “do as often as ye ought”. We have the liberty to celebrate it as often as needed in our individual communities. Shaking it up a bit has helped us remember it’s reason for being.

    Great post!

  2. Jan Owen

    I too have gotten – well – bored with how we routinely do communion. When I led it last time I made every one turn around and look at who was around them. One time we put the chairs in the round so we could mimic a family meal more than sitting in rows. Still not like a family meal but better. I’ve thought of setting up round tables, etc. We’ve also moved and gone in groups, etc.

    One time on a retreat we dunked the bread in actual wine. As a good ole southern baptist I’ve never done that. I’d never actually tasted wine. To be honest it really enhanced the experience for me. (don’t laugh) I think the bitterness of the wine reminded me of the bitterness of the cross. It was a multi-sensory experience in a new way. Let’s face it, we don’t get much from a drop of juice and a very bad tasting “food like styrofoam” cracker. I’ve also thought of – but never done – having big glasses and lots of rolls and inviting people to really eat!

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