I have recently decided to explore choir membership. So far it has been a very positive thing. It has reawakened the love for music in me.
Also it has given me a “view” of the church that is new—the view from the choir loft.
Recently, on communion Sunday, I came into worship service and I commented on how there was a lot of blue out in the congregation. That is code for “there are a lot of people not in church today” [our pews are covered with blue upholstery].
The man next to me said “It is communion; people tend to skip church on communion day.”
That seems amazing to me, that this special day people would skip church.
This begs the question, why?
I know a man who refuses to take communion because he feels he is a hopeless sinner. He assumes that the people who are taking communion are not sinners but of course that is incorrect. All of us are sinners whether we are at the alter rail or not.
Quoting from the “Service of Word and Table”:
“We confess that we have not loved you God with our whole heart. We have failed to be an obedient church. We have not done Your will. We have broken Your law….forgive us, we pray.”
We could go on but do these words sound like perfect people getting ready to take communion?
I don’t think so.
What is this man giving up? Dr. Willard says that “Communion with God provides the appropriate context for communications between us and him.”
Some people don’t take communion because they are not members of the church where communion is being served. In my church communion is an open table and we don’t exclude anyone.
From the Methodist Book of Worship:
“The table of Holy Communion is Christ’s table, not the table of The United Methodist Church or of the local congregation. The table is open to anyone who seeks to respond to Christ’s love and to lead a new life of peace and love, as the invitation to the table says. All who intend to lead a Christian life, together with their children, are invited to receive the bread and cup. We have no tradition of refusing any who present themselves desiring to receive.”
This statement means that in practice there are few, if any, circumstances in which a United Methodist pastor would refuse to serve the elements of Holy Communion to a person who comes forward to receive.
To me, communion is a time when denomination does not matter. I know there are differences in the way Christians worship and even in the way we believe. Scripture gets interpreted many different ways according to denominational theology. However, we are all of one body when we come to the communion table.
Keep in mind that if you let denomination get in the way of taking communion you are giving up the most appropriate communication context between yourself and your God.
I had a friend tell me that he did not take communion because he wanted to make a statement that he did not accept the host church’s theology. That may be a valid excuse of the three, but is the statement worth it?
Some would say it is. It is important to take a stand.
Again, is it more important to take a stand than pass up the time when you can have the best connection between you and God?
I titled this post “Perfect Communication” and I guess there is nothing in this world that is perfect, but participating in a sacrament that represents the body and the blood of Christ comes close. Early Christians were attacked because of communion; the idea being that they were advocating cannibalism. Of course the actual consuming of a body and blood of another does not occur but just the symbolism of this act is powerful.
I know a man at my church who seems to be so devout. I have had the honor of assisting him with communion. I am so much in awe of him when he partakes of the body and the blood because he acts like he is doing something special. He takes the bread slowly to his mouth and his reverence is obvious as he ingests it. He takes the cup with both hands and slowly puts it to his lips. He has a pained look on his face as he consumes the wine.
Every time I have seen him commune with His Lord, I have said to myself “He gets it!”
He knows he is having perfect communication with his Lord and Savior.