2002-02-25 - Hold the Cups
2 Corinthians 12:9 "And He has said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you for power is perfected in weakness.' Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me."
So we are passing out the wine for the Lord's Supper at church and as we walk back up the aisle to the pulpit we both realize that the bread is traditionally passed out first. As we go up the steps to the pulpit the Sr. Pastor turns to me with horror and says, "What are we going to do?" "They can hold the cups," I said, "we will pass out the bread and do them both right after each other." In the end it was no big deal, but rather kind of humorous.
My church celebrates the Lord's Supper once a month. That is fairly traditional. John Calvin, (And I know he is much maligned today, but he is, in my opinion, probably the greatest expositor of Scripture -- ever. I really think those who hate him have never read him.) wanted communion every week, as is traditional in many other churches.
Personally, I like what the Scottish Covenanters used to do. They only had communion once a year, or sometimes once ever other year. They held what was called, "Communion Seasons." They would meet for the entire week prior to the Sunday that the Lord's Supper would be administered and when they showed up for the meeting they would be given a token about the size of a nickel (It proved they had been in attendance). When they came the next day, they would turn their token in and be given a new one. This practice and the services went on all week as a serious heart preparation to receive the blessing of the Lord's Supper. When Sunday came and you went up to take the bread and the cup, you turned in the final token from Saturday. No Saturday token, no Lord's Supper for you. Sounds hard core, I know, but there is something special and precious about the Lord's Supper that calls us to take it seriously. I point you to John 6:26-58.
But I don't intend to talk about the Lord's Supper today. So why the history lesson? Simply because this and other issues are matters of the faith that should never divide believers in Christ. The Bible is clear about many things, but on other things there is freedom of interpretation and personal preference. Good people have disagreed on this issue and on many others, but what we learn as followers of Christ is graciousness to others. I don't think any of the ways of administering the Lord's Supper mentioned above are wrong Biblically. I may have a preference, but that is all it is, simple preference, and what I like is no better or worse than the other two mentioned.
We need to be mindful of how gracious Christ has been to us. How can we not extend that grace to others? We must seek to love as we have been loved. "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends" John 15:13.We will never be perfect at this, but we must seek it. The Lord's Supper is simply an example of this.
Graciousness is a funny thing. We want purity in faith, practice and doctrine, but we need to seek it lovingly. I would be the first to say that we could all have total peace in this world if everyone would simply agree with me on everything. I am beginning to figure out that this may never happen, so I guess I need to learn to be gracious to others. After all, Christians are those I plan to spend eternity with. "And God is able to make all grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed" 2 Corinthians 9:8.
Soli Deo Gloria,