I hope I don’t seem to be dragging this out. It’s just that so many times we criticize yet offer no suggestions for improvement. So let me write one more post on this subject.
Were I in charge of the Lord’s Supper, it would admittedly take a good bit more time. While I think it would ideally be taken while sitting around tables, I think it can still be done in an auditorium.
The first thing I would want is a time for reconciliation. Have a time of prayer where people are urged to move around and pray with one another. One of the main purposes would be to offer a time for people to put the idea of Matthew 5:23-24 into practice. There should be no disputes between brothers that remain unresolved.
I would also encourage a full explanation of what is going to be done, maybe not every time, but frequently. We have visitors among us that don’t know what is expected of them, we have children that need to be learning, we have adults that need to be reminded.
I would have tables around the auditorium. The ideal would be to have one of the deacons at each table, accompanied by their families. Small groups would gather around the table, greet one another, pray together and share the bread and the wine. Families would be encouraged to stay together. Talk should be encouraged, speaking of the meaning of Christ’s sacrifice, the significance of the covenant and the reality of our unity. After a “reasonable” amount of time (this calls for sensitivity), a central song leader could begin a song, the groups would finish their time together, and the whole assembly would continue their time of encouragement and praise.
I would even be satisfied if this were only done once a month, with other ways of taking the supper being used the other weeks. My high school choir director used to say, “A rut is just a grave with both ends knocked out.” I know that C.S. Lewis argued otherwise, but I think that variety is good in our worship. We too easily turn routine into tradition and tradition into law.
Those are my views. I would love to hear the ideas of others.