Communion: More of a Meal or a Ceremony?
First let me admit, I’m fairly ignorant regarding the Lord’s Supper (a.k.a., communion, a.k.a., the eucharist). I grew up Baptist; what can I say? In any event, I’ve ‘celebrated’ communion with Baptists, Lutherans, Episcopalians, Charismatics, non-denomers, third-wavers, home groups, and even Catholics. I’ve even led communion a few times. I get it more than I used to, but to quote U2, I still haven’t found what I’m looking for. But I think this post from Scot, and the book he’s reviewing, is on to something. What do you think?
Here’s my comment on Scot’s post with a question I honestly think about from time to time, and wonder if what I’m looking for isn’t somewhere close by:
We’re considering starting an Alpha course at my church, and as we’ve been going down this road, I can’t help but think that no small part of the success of the Alpha course is the theological and redemptive power of the shared meal in Jesus’ name (often underestimated in Western evangelicalism). I honestly wonder which is more “Eucharistic”–the shrunken and ritualized wafer and juice of church ceremony, or the full meal of pasta prepared by the saints for sake of outsiders and newcomers to the faith, which we all eat together as we talk about Jesus.
. . . I’m honestly really wondering about the spirit and intent of communion, the size of the meal vs. the specifics of what’s served, the presence or absense of conversation with others, and even the tone and setting. With all of the editorial differences b/n the last supper and current practice, I wonder if Alpha has hit something, or several somethings, significant that the Church has edited out of its modern translation of the practice.