Archives For Communion

Author: Bill McChesney Author URL: https://www.flickr.com/people/bsabarnowl/ Title: 24230 Communion and Extended Communion First Presbyterian Church Charlottesville April 3, 2011 Year: 2011 Source: Flickr Source URL: https://www.flickr.com License: Creative Commons Attribution License License Url: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ License Shorthand: CC-BY Download Image

 
Church culture fascinates me. For instance, who decided that in the order of service communion should follow the greeting? You know what I’m talking about. There’s that time, every Sunday, when pastor announces that we should “extend the right hand of fellowship” to those around us? He means shake hands and say “Hi” to make folks feel welcome.

Well and good. People should feel welcome in our churches. I don’t have an issue with greeting folks (except that I mostly want to sit down and keep to myself). My problem is that when Communion Sunday rolls around it always comes after the greeting and not before.

My problem is that I don’t know where all those hands have been, you know? Who’s been scratching their head, nose, etc.? Who’s gone to the restroom (and not washed)? Who’s been changing diapers? Who’s (maybe) picked their nose, sneezed, coughed, whatever? (I’m sure you’ve seen that one guy who, when he thought no one was looking, scratched his posterior).

The answers are:

Don’t know

Don’t know

Don’t know

Don’t wanna know

Don’t know

And Ew!

And yet it never fails that I’m supposed to take communion, by placing that flavorless wafer in my mouth using the very hand I’ve just used to greet my brothers and sisters. They should have hand sanitizer dispensers as on the backs of pews so we can all freshen our hands before partaking of the Lord’s Supper.

It’s just a thought. 

I mean the juice comes in a little cup, right? Why not put that little, flavorless, moisture-sucking pellet in a cup, too–instead of in a receptacle where we all have to fish it out by hand? That’s just a thought, too, you know.

Then again, what if, say, the church implements a two-cup system (two cups, one… never mind), with the wafer in the bottom, and the wine substitute in the upper cup. What happens, say, if that juice sloshes around, or if the volunteers were a little too enthusiastic jamming those communion cups together? I’d say that the situation is ripe for that one perfect storm you never want to have happen when partaking of the Lord’s Supper:

Spilling Jesus.

What is spilling Jesus? It’s when the little cups either get stuck in the tray, and you can’t get them out, or the cups themselves are wedged so tightly together, that you end up spilling the juice all over yourself, your wife, her new dress, and the pew.

Not that that’s ever happened to me, mind you. It’s just a good thing I’m not Catholic (speaking of, can you imagine taking communion from the same cup? Many people, one cup? Yuck!).

I’m not sure what (if any) the lesson in all this is. Maybe we just need to be careful about how and where we spill Jesus?

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I go to a great church. It’s all about connecting people with God through Jesus. It’s awesome. Our mission statement is “Win. Train. Send.”

Win believers to Jesus Christ.
Train believers to become to disciples.
Send disciples out into the highways and byways.

Like I said, it’s great.
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>Communion 01 St John's Lutheran Asheboro, NCphoto © 2010 Blanche Knake | more info (via: Wylio)

Today, Jon Acuff posted a piece on showing “grace on a plane.” In it, he described various opportunities he’d had to do just that.

While an extremely cool idea, and the title itself not a half-bad play on “Snakes on a Plane,” it wasn’t the specific examples themselves that struck me, but the ending.

Jon describes how, a few weeks ago, a woman spilled wine on him. And how he laughed it off, helped her clean it up, and thereby showed her grace on a plane.

What I thought as I read the end of the post was that he must’ve disembarked smelling like communion. Now I realize that wouldn’t necessarily be the first thought of those he might’ve encountered that day, but hear me out:

In showing the woman grace, he’d (figuratively) left a sweet-smelling savor in her nostrils that day. The savor of kindness, and not of rancor. In his act of kindness, he was Jesus to her that day.

Shouldn’t we be about the same business? Wouldn’t it be awesome if we left the smell of our communion with the Lord in the lives others where, and when, we intersect with them?

I think so.

So let’s go, church! Let’s go forth and “smell” of communion today–and everyday!

What do you think? What savor do you leave in the lives of others?