Seated Among Family

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Sometimes people tend to think that the Lord’s Supper consists simply of the bread and the wine, and then the eating and drinking. But more elements are involved than just that. There is the prayer of consecration, there is the word that sets these elements apart to a holy use, then the breaking of the bread, and the distribution of the elements. Today I want to focus on this last thing, the distribution.

You notice that a minister is presiding over the meal, and this is because the elders of the church hold the keys. When the bread and wine are consecrated, the men then distribute the elements to you in the congregation. They do this with you seated, and you pass the elements up and down the rows, family style.

You are seated because this is a feast. The early Israelites were told to eat the Passover meal standing, to symbolize their pilgrimage out Egypt. They were to eat while ready to go. Years later, after they had entered the land of Canaan, the Israelites began to eat it sitting down, to symbolize that they had come into their inheritance. And so it is that we find Jesus and the disciples eating the meal in the common posture of the household meal. We are seated here the same way we would be seated if we came to a great banquet, for that is what this is.

And you pass the elements to one another. We do that on purpose as well. We are the household of faith (Gal. 6:10). We are all brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus (1 Pet. 3:8). We are to serve one another in love. The consideration you show in handing the tray to the one next to you is as much part of the meal as the bread and the wine are.

We are seated together in the great household of faith, accepted as sons and daughters of God, brothers and sisters to one another. Accept the seat that is offered to you. Serve one another in love.

So come, and welcome, to Jesus Christ.

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john k
john k
6 years ago

If anyone can pass the elements to each other down the pew, is there a good reason why only church officers may pass the elements from the officiant to all the pews?

It could also be meaningful to name what we give (“the body of Christ,” “the blood of Christ”) as we serve one another. That doesn’t have to intrude on the office of officiating minister.

Mike Bull
6 years ago

Good point about standing (priesthood) and sitting (kingdom) regarding inheritance. But Passover renewed the promises concerning the womb and the Land – an Abrahamic inheritance. These came to pass. Although we still have land and wombs, the earthly real estate is done with, and so is the womb. Jesus moved the goal posts to a heavenly country and the second birth, so the Abrahamic game of indoor soccer is over. The Levites had no earthly inheritance, and their ministry was fulfilled in the baptism of the believer – a lay ordination. The elements are not for our families, as Passover… Read more »

PerfectHold
PerfectHold
6 years ago
Reply to  Mike Bull

You may remember that we are all children at the table — or even dogs under the table. None of us are vested with authority, only responsibility.

Mike Bull
6 years ago
Reply to  PerfectHold

True, but sacramentalism ignores the fact that the Holy Place had more than just a table in it. All the world is now under obligation (Acts 17:30), to repent and believe. Those who hear (altar) and believe (table – Priesthood – standing) receive the Spirit (lampstand – Kingdom – sitting) and become elder-witnesses (incense – Prophecy – walking). So we are obliged to come (Hear O Israel) then authorized to go (Go and tell). Turning the table into Passover is pre-Pentecostal. Christ was offered (altar), ascended (table), sent the Spirit (lampstand) and the apostolic witness followed (incense). Then those who… Read more »

PerfectHold
PerfectHold
6 years ago
Reply to  Mike Bull

We sacramentalistas aren’t going back to passover but rather seeing how passover and our celebration both go forward to a table grown out of the tree of life.

Mike Bull
6 years ago
Reply to  PerfectHold

That sounds great, but biblical architecture is a very specific process. Like Lego, I think you need to look again at the picture on the box, especially Exodus 24, the pattern of which was condensed into the Tabernacle. : ) You are right about the Table though, it was *only* the Tree of Life. The Lampstand was the second tree – kingdom. But we are now on the third tree which combines them both: a new Adam as a Tree of Righteousness, walking from the Garden as God’s legal representative on earth, a prophetic pillar of fire. We eat the… Read more »

Leslie
Leslie
6 years ago

It doesn’t seem to me that Jesus presided over The Last Supper as an officiant, but as one of the group. My husband is an ordained elder and certainky dies not believe he holds the keys. That belong to Jesus alone. My husbabt believes the job us to be servant/elder.

PerfectHold
PerfectHold
6 years ago
Reply to  Leslie

And what denomination flavor is his, Leslie?

Leslie
Leslie
6 years ago
Reply to  PerfectHold

We have been in many churches. Presbyterian, evangelical non denominational, and the worst iFB. The best was the Evangelical non denominational with the servant/leader attitude. Many great things happened until someone wanted power. Over time that destroyed the church.

Nonna
Nonna
6 years ago
Reply to  Leslie

Leslie, it seems someone is always looking to assert power.

Kelly M. Haggar
Kelly M. Haggar
6 years ago

Strictly just an FYI, and many of y’all may know this already, but just in case it’s not generally known here . . . Methodists have an “open” table; any Christian may come. (In fact, if an atheist wished to come, that’s OK, too. Wink, wink – – that means YOU, too, K2!) We have both men and women standing at several places at the rail. By rows, front to back, the congregation rises, goes up the center aisle, takes the elements at one of the stations, then circles back to the seats. “Intinction” is about half the churches I’ve… Read more »

PerfectHold
PerfectHold
6 years ago

What’s the thinking on having atheists join in all the fun?

Kelly M. Haggar
Kelly M. Haggar
6 years ago
Reply to  PerfectHold

Welcoming them. We say, “Church is a place where one beggar tells another beggar where the bread is.”

eli
eli
6 years ago

Welcoming people is great. Inviting them to take communion is not. “But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly.” 1 Cor 11:28-9. Historically, churches welcomed non-Christians to the service but asked them to leave before communion out of concern and compassion for the unbeliever.

Kelly M. Haggar
Kelly M. Haggar
6 years ago
Reply to  eli

DESCRIBING only here, not judging!

Does your denomination preach sermons to the effect that if you wait until you are good enough to take communion (a) you will never be worthy of it (b) you don’t understand why we perform the ceremony.

I’ve heard such a message several times over the years in different Methodist churches. My current pastor will be at tomorrow’s UMM breakfast and I’ll ask him about that verse. Will circle back with his answer.

Kelly M. Haggar
Kelly M. Haggar
6 years ago

I asked him about other possibilities so he’s researching a bit more. Will reply once he does.