The Table of the Lord: Were I in charge…

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.

One thought on “The Table of the Lord: Were I in charge…

  1. Will Wade

    Hello Tim
    I have been on this web site before and thought I should look again. I like and appreciate your work on this site. Some forty years ago I used to worship with some “Archer” brethren in Lomita or Torrance California.

    You know it is amazing your suggestions would almost describe our worship with a few exceptions.
    You wrote;
    “While I think it would ideally be taken while sitting around tables, I think it can still be done in an auditorium.” (Tables you used in the plural for “the Lord’s table.”) One sister suggested when in a large group sitting around different tables in a large building. I would agree with this statement but the informality of a large group in a large building only if the worship is in a home. The large building that is not a home, removes the only worship that is established for the home. Informal Home worship is God’s bulwarks against back sliding (Paul said sleeping) for both the Israelites and for Christian living.

    Before eating the bread just as Jesus did he gave thanks and as he commands to “Take this cup and divide it,” the act of showing that we all are sinners and that we all are the ones who have poured out his blood (Luke 22:14-17). This giving thanks and dividing the fruit of the vine was established Historical believed to have been in the first century see the “Doctrine.” The Didache (I do not remember the name of this translator)
    9:1 But as touching the Eucharistic [I see the Greek word eucharistian or written thanksgiving] give ye thanks thus.

    [In brackets is mine. I see the Greek word “Eucharist” here but it is very possible to be a later copy of the Greek text and could have been an addition to the original earlier text. However this record does parallel the commands of Jesus in Luke 22:14-17).]
    9:2 First, as regards the cup:
    9:3 We give Thee thanks, O our Father, for the holy vine of Thy son David, which Thou madest known unto us through Thy Son Jesus;
    9:4 Thine is the glory for ever and ever.
    9:5 Then as regards the broken bread:
    9:6 We give Thee thanks, O our Father, for the life and knowledge which Thou didst make known unto us through Thy Son Jesus;
    9:7 Thine is the glory for ever and ever.
    9:8 As this broken bread was scattered upon the mountains and being gathered together became one, so may Thy Church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into Thy kingdom;
    9:9 for Thine is the glory and the power through Jesus Christ for ever and ever.
    9:10 But let no one eat or drink of this eucharistic thanksgiving, but they that have been baptized into the name of the Lord;
    9:11 for concerning this also the Lord hath said:
    9:12 {Give not that which is holy to the dogs.}

    It is hard to use one container to reenact the death of Jesus by pouring out of one cup or dividing the blood to each communicant in a large crowd. The meaning of communion is to cut and to share. In the ancient past to share the most ancient catholic church used a barrel of wine with many spigots to divide the wine to their congregation for their Eucharist (I forget the etymology).

    One thing more I believe should be stressed is the act of proclamation or the act that “shows” or “the reenactment” of the death of Jesus in the worship. ‘For as often as you should eat this bread and should drink this cup, the death of the Lord you announce until of which ever time he should come” (1Cor.11: 26 see the word for word interlinear The Apostolic Bible).

    Because Jesus is -not dead so when we show his death we also must show he is -not dead but show he is alive because he has risen. When visitors (one neighbor lady was a practicing pagan Buddhist) seeing our worship and the reenactment of the death and resurrection of Jesus I have watched them weep and their tears flowing down the faces of sinners and at the same time a Joyful occasion of celebration for those who have had their sins removed. Many times I have seen this. When done correctly the Lord’s Supper is the best tool God has to evangelize the unbelieving world. When worship at “-the lord’s table” is observed as did the New Testament church it is little wonder the pristine New Testament church literally exploded into the first century.

    Please for a moment reason these fact. A mother is converted to Christ. The mother lives in a home with her husband and children. Her husband would never in his life time set foot in a church building let alone be taught about Jesus. The worship at –the Lord’s Table, is brought in this unbelievers home by his believing wife. The husband would rather his wife worship in the home than to go out with other people in the night so he allows worship to be brought into his home. Jesus has just gotten his foot into the door of the home of the unbeliever and all who live in that home. The sick, the disabled the providentially hindered are never denied the opportunity to in spirit eat first the body of the passover sacrifice victim whose blood is divided or poured out and then after eating the bread then in spirit drink and share the divided blood that gives eternal life.

    God bless you Tim, keep up the good work and God will surely bless you for it.

    Will Wade

Leave a Reply