sacrament

I Know Why She Swallowed That Fly

…but don’t tell her she swallowed it.

So, Communion! At my congregation, we celebrate it using both individual cups and a chalice, a large silver “communal” cup. The little individual cups are offered first, and if someone wants one, they take it. If someone prefers the common cup, I pass by second and give them a sip. I prefer the chalice myself, as it reminds me that we all drink from the same source (Christ) and also, because the pastor lifts it to my lips, I receive without even raising a hand to help myself.

Last summer, we had some issues with bugs. Gnats and fruitflies would be attracted to the sweet wine we’d use. The little individual cups have a cover; no bugs got in there. However, the larger chalice had no such cover… and we ended up with bugs in the wine. It wasn’t very appealing. Now, the alcohol content of the wine prevents any kind of germs, so no one was going to get sick, but it’s still… well, it’s at the least distracting, and can be taken to be very disrespectful of the sacrament.

We problem-solved; one of the ladies brought a nice doily that sufficiently covered the cup’s mouth. No more problems.

Until today. (more…)

Advertisements

Will you honor Jesus’ last will and testament?

Mark 14:22-26 22 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.”

23 Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it.

24 “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them. 25 “I tell you the truth, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God.”

26 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

 

Will you honor Jesus’ last will and testament?

  1. Do you honor it for what it is?
  2. Do you honor it in what you do?

(more…)

…Wait for it…

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is wait.

We recently began using both common and individual cups for Communion. That means that every week that we offer the Sacrament (usually twice a month), I pass by each communicant three times: once with the bread, once with individual cups, and once with the common cup. I’ve stressed the importance of having both “forms” of wine available: many are uncomfortable with the common cup, and there are a few members of the congregation with “shaky hands” that want nothing to do with holding a little cup and possibly spilling it. Before my arrival, I understand there were several members that refused to take the wine because only the individual cups were offered and they were afraid of spilling!

We’ve done this dual offering for a while… and frankly, it makes communion rather a long process. I’ve considered asking one of the councilmen to help me with distribution, but the men of the council much prefer taking a back seat. They’ll help in any number of ways, as long as it doesn’t put them in front of people. They are faithful servants, though their gifts tend to skew in one direction.

Until this past week.

One of the councilmen asked me, “Pastor, we had a lot of people at communion last week. It sure took a while, didn’t it?”

I agreed with a smile. I don’t mind taking time for communion so every member can partake of the feast!

“Pastor, would it help if I helped you with handing out the communion stuff?”

Well, this coming Sunday, I get to have an assistant at distribution! How awesome is that? A member of Christ’s body saw a need and wants to help fulfill that need. If I had pushed or mentioned it ahead of time, the need wouldn’t be seen. Some in the council would likely had thought that pastor was just seeing problems where there weren’t any. Because I waited, the need was seen.

…now I just need to work on timing and presenting problems so they already know the problems exist!

“Rather, I should be baptized by you…”

It’s a silly, stupid thing. The power is in Christ’s promise, and that should hold all my awe. We are all the same. We have all fallen short of the glory of God. We are all sinners, and we should all be amazed at what Christ offers in the Sacrament of the Altar — that is, Holy Communion.

Saturday night, four churches had a combined New Year’s Eve service. I got to be one of those pastors involved, bringing the total up to seven ministers involved in the service. I was given the privilege of being presiding minister, meaning I got to do everything except the sermon. That also means I presided over the Lord’s Supper portion of the service. That means… I was honored to deliver Christ’s body and blood to six other pastors. Men I respect. Men I have gone to for advice. Men who have served me and looked out for me.

To top that off, a former professor of mine was in attendance — a man I have known and respected far longer than my brothers in the ministry here. (After the service, he asked how long I’d been here… I found out later that members from the other churches had assumed I’d been in the ministry far longer than my six months. What a compliment!)

I have to admit, I felt a bit like John the Baptizer and Jesus. “No, you should be the one giving me communion, not the other way around.” And it’s silly. Those other pastors aren’t Jesus. They’re fallen men, just like me. They desperately need and desire what Jesus gives in the Sacrament, just like me. (more…)