The role of Communion and the Lord’s Supper observance
Most pastors,preachers, clergy and laity alike would all agree that the observance of the ordinance of Communion otherwise known as the Lord’s Supper should be one of reverance, respect and honor. After all, it is a memorial service; remembering with honor and reverence the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The last supper of Jesus with his disciples prior to his death at Calvary is without question as to its purpose. Jesus knew he was about to die and he wanted his disciples and all who would follow to understand without question what He was doing.
Jesus was becoming the sacrificial lamb for mankind in payment for our sins. His flesh and blood would forever be symbolized by the partaking of what had been the traditional bread and wine used to celebrate the Passover event. Animal sacrifices would no longer be necessary. This is why Jesus said for us to “do in remembrance of me”.
Recently this writer was witness to one of the worst observances of the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper ever.
Unfortunately this was in a local Baptist church and this pastor/writer is a Baptist; a Southern Baptist of which this church was also.
This observance was just horrible. It was more of an afterthought with no real consideration or preparation apparent. A memorial event it was definitely not.
Most of the deacons who served the elements were dressed very sloppily showing very little respect, the pastor did very little to explain the reason for the observance and what he did say was more of a theological treatise which few probably understood and there was very little memorial or ceremonial aspect present.
As a Christian this writer was disappointed and as a pastor there was a feeling of insult and disgust.
There was no reverence, no respect and no honor.
Dr. Jess Moody, the former president of Palm Beach Atlantic College (this writer’s Alma mater), my homiletic professor and mentor used to say, “There is never a reason for a preacher to be unprepared”.
In essence, rather a message, a prayer or in this situation the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper, excellence should be seen, a sense of faith evident and the very presence of the pastor’s soul expressed with assurance and confidence. None of these qualities were present in this observance of the Lord’s Supper.
Jesus made it clear that this observance was the way to “remember” Him until he returns. As such, each and every memorial service to Him is important and a witness to both his sacrifice and His promise that He will return. This observance should invoke the desire of the participant to remember the passion of what Jesus did on the cross at Calvary and inspire his or her anticipation of Christ’s return. The observance this writer witnessed demonstrated neither and the pastor and deacons should be ashamed.
The apostle Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 11:26 that the observance of the Lord’s Supper is a proclamation by the believer; a witness to the world of our relationship with Christ and our undoubting belief that Jesus will return.
Paul also tells us that when we do something for the Lord it should be our very best. In Philippians 4:8, Paul says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things”.
In other words, whatever we do for the Lord should come from pure thought on Christ and not an afterthought.
May God lead us all to do our very best in everything we do for Him.