Monday, February 04, 2008


I've been pondering an idea for the past few days. I didn't learn it from flesh and blood. It just sorta popped into my thinking system....and it doesn't seem to leave me. While I open myself to possible criticism, I risk such if it might awaken us to something of kingdom value.

Our heritage comes down pretty hard on brands of faiths which have bypassed what we believe to be essential regarding the essence of baptism; i.e. that it is biblically accurate only by immersion. Other practices find our clear opposition. We've taken our stance and we have refused to surrender. After all, the scriptures and original language seem to be in sync that baptism is a burial.

Regarding the Lord's Supper, though, we have not such a stance. While it seems clear such an event is always involving a meal, our tradition has felt it permissible to reduce it to emblematic pinching of a cracker and sipping of a thimble full of juice. Such a practice is never promoted in scripture by command, example, or necessary inference.

Have we accepted a principle to the Lord's Supper which we condemn in denominational baptism: reduction and sybollism for convenience sake? Are we guilty of practicing a form among ourselves which we have notoriously judged as forbidden in others? I think we have. I think we, as Romans 5:1-2 points out, are found guilty of the same thing we criticize in others.

If this is true, what does it mean? One thing is clear. We again find reason to be accepting and tolerant of others while we do our own laundry. It's not that we don't do anything right. We do. It's that all the others don't do everything wrong and sometimes they may get their direction from the same place we get ours: traditions passed down from generation to generation while we call it "of God".


Kevin Skidmore said...

You've inspired me again. Thanks. I love it when I'm stretched to consider things in a fresh way.

You have inspired me to enter the blogosphere. David told me I need to write everyday - I told him that I find this hard - to which he responded - "Well, Terry does it everday!"

Shane Coffman said...

Eye-opening parallel.

Stoogelover said...

Right on! I've thought for years we've completely missed the beauty and fellowship of communion. But then, if we really practiced communion as we find it in Scripture, then we have to allow the women to ......

Fred Peatross said...

Dang, is the sermon already over!

FPeatross @ Abductive Columns

Anonymous said...

WOW! That is a great parallel. I went through all of my childhood and into my adult life not truly understand communion. After I spent time studying it for myself I came to a very different realization than what my church was practicing. I sometimes doubt my findings because nothing seems different "at church" but then I find a group or community that talks about communion in a way to make me think I did read it right.

I love taking communion in ways, times, and places other than during the appointed time on Sunday morning. I am not saying that the time on Sunday is less significant or unimportant now. I actually think it is more so because of the understanding of communion in other times and places.

Anonymous said...

30 years in the church, and I have NEVER...EVER heard THAT one before. Ever.

You are: dead on. DEAD on.

Amen, and amen...and AMEN AGAIN!! I am convicted and pierced through!

Well, don't stop now, Killer. What you see there in the water is called "chum." Get after it!


craig said...

One small assembly here in Austin, TX does exactly this...and they might consider the c of c their background for the most part.

I've always wanted to take the biggest piece and fullest cup I could, and say to the guy/gal beside me, "cheers" and "amen". I once compared it to Peter's response to Jesus feet washing with a plead for a bath! "Give me a big piece of bread!" Of course, Jesus responded with the "no Pete" response of which I was reminded. But I still like Simon's exuberance. It's so passionate and zealous, so raw, so willing to jump in with both feet. Perhaps, Phil. 3:10-11 is better: knowing Christ by way of suffering & death! Eating his body and drinking his blood! Awesome.

Brenda said...

The Lord's Supper is something I really take very seriously. Doesn't matter to me if a tray is passed by a man or woman, if it is passed or I walk up to get it, if it is juice or wine, if it is leven or unleven bread, if we stand, or sit, or sing, or have silence. The fact is that you are doing something in rememberance of Him that is so precious but often taken forgranted.

For a year and a half I did not have the opportunity to come together with my brothers and sisters and share in the Lord with them with this tradition we uphold. I could do this at anytime, any day, in anyway, but my heart was torn that I could not celebrate in coming to the table with my church family.
I got creative in the ways that I took communion by myself each week. It became my special time between me and God.
There's something so special about spending those moments with those around you that you love and watching them grow in Christ with you, take the meal with you, and love the Lord along with you.
Are we guilty? Yes...we are.
I believe it's all "Of God" when your heart and mind are on total focus of Him.

Unknown said...

Thanks Terry,
I'm going to try a new style of communion in my life. At every meal I share with brothers or sisters. It will be a spiritual experiment and I will let you know how it turns out. BTW, I have never commented on your blog but I find it to be top drawer on the entire net.
Jon Pease
PS Thanks for raising such a good man in Dustin.

Robert said...

The Garnett Church had started putting "Community" back into communion before our departure last year, and I miss that so much; getting up, talking to your wife and kids and friends about why we share this meal, speaking about our Brother hwo gave his life for this moment, taking turns offering very personal prays while we remembered that sacrifice.

Youth groups know best the POWER in personalizing communion - they do it all the time on "retreats;" and those times in small groups, with dixie cups full of grape juice (or koolaide) and a large churck of bread are so authentic and so filled with Spirit.

After expericing such Sprit filled communions its hard to for me to pass around a "chiclet" and a "thimble" and feel a true connection with the Father.

Anonymous said...

I have said from the pulpit many times (and yes to the frustration of a few) that "what others may be doing wrong is no more wrong than what we are not doing right." One preacher from Memphis describes what some do on Sunday morning as "taking a nip, a sip, and leaving a $2 tip." It is amazing how we compartmentalize what we do in the name of "decent order" and then wonder why we are not living in the Spirit. One of my greatest questions is why only on Sunday AM.......... if I read the text it says "when you gather together". I have tried to get answers from folks everywhere I have been but still not a one from scripture. Tradition does carry us thru many things but at what cost. Doesn't it at times quench the spirit. Great post Brother. Thanks for helping us grow as we look honestly at what God wants, expects, desires and gives. Remember.......YOU ARE LOVED!


thegaryfamily said...

Great thought Terry. We have had flour tortillas before when someone forgot to make the bread ;)

Anonymous said...


Interesting "food for thought"!

I look forward to meeting you when you come to beautiful Amicalola Falls on Feb. 22-23rd. I live just below the falls and you are in for a treat. The falls are the highest east of the Rockies! 729'high You will meet a lot of fine new friends from North Hotlanta church of Christ!

As the ancient writers would say: -

sus philos en christianos kai doulos tou christou! Big Guy!!

Dale Cummings