An Unexpected Visitor Arrived During Yesterday’s Lord Supper


Something strange happened yesterday during my church’s celebration of the Lord’s Supper.

English: Baptist communion elements

English: Baptist communion elements (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My church is a standard medium sized evangelical church in a “red” state. Silence isn’t usually a part of our worship much less our celebration of Communion. Our church, as do most Baptist churches that I have been a part of, use the time when the bread and juice are passed out for a beautiful instrumental piece or even a reverent solo. Yesterday, there was no music during the delivery of the elements to the congregation.

At first, I didn’t catch this but I did have a sense of something being different. Then, by the time our deacons were receiving their portion, it dawned on me that there was no music. No wonder I seemed to be taking this exercise more seriously. No wonder it seemed that the church as a whole was rapt with attention.

Silence in my church usually comes with nervous clearing of throats and awkward motions in order to break the uncomfortableness of the moment and make it go by faster. I didn’t notice any of this yesterday, maybe I was too focused at the practice at hand. Normally, I would be lost somewhere between my need to concentrate on the sacrifice of Jesus and the distraction of the musical “performance” in front of me. Instead, I was moved to contemplation and reverence and my mind was able to focus on the impact and power of Jesus and his work on the cross on my behalf. It was a refreshing time of worship and participation.

I don’t know if our pastor intended for this to happen (we are in between worship pastors)  but the next time we have the Lord’s Supper and there is music being played in the middle of it, I think I will be wishing for a little more silence.



Apprenticeship With Jesus: Day 15

For Lent, I am walking us through a book called Apprenticeship WithJesus.You can follow along by reading my highlights and reflections. Extensive previews of the book, including excerpts, can be found through Google Books and Amazon, as well as eBook purchasing options.

Day 15: Communion Ain’t Supposed To Be Convenient: Being “with Jesus” in the Eucharist

– “All Christian power springs from communion with God and from the indwelling of divine grace – James H. Aughey

–  Eucharist – means thanksgiving

–  Last Supper – 25% of John is found in the upper room during the Last Supper

– Within 18 hours of breaking bread with his disciples, Jesus was crucified

–  The great sacrament is fully revealed not through the intake of bread and wine but through the outflow of the risen Christ living his life through his apprentices

Lord’s Supper, Communion, and Eucharist all are names for the practice of the sacrament of taking the bread and the cup in remembrance of Jesus’ blood and body sacrificed on the cross. But each one of those terms seem to have different meanings. Communion obviously is a connection to something, Eucharist is a thanksgiving, and the term Lord’s Supper just seems to reference the objective fact that the last drink and food that Jesus consumed was the bread and wine. Someone smarter than me needs to develop a thinking that melds all of these three terms into something that better captures the mystery of the practice.

Apprentice Activity: Let’s Make Communion Inconvenient

–  Find an Anglican, Episcopal, or Lutheran Church that practices open communion  and be a participant in the next 24 hours

–   Pray that God will be a real and living presence in every atom of your body

– Before making a decision take 15 seconds for a slow, deep breath and say, ” In this situation, live your life through me.”

Here is how I worked through this activity. I combined three exercises that I had committed to into one one hour session. It was fantastic. First, I committed to fast on Wednesday for lunch and supper. Second, I took the previous Apprentice Activity of reading John 14-17. Third, I decided to participate in the Lord’s Supper during my lunch on Wednesday. (I did find an Anglican church in my area that has an 11 a.m. Wednesday Communion service but I was afraid that I wouldn’t get back to work in time so I bought some grape juice and some crackers and went for it)

  1. I took my hour lunch break and began reading John 14-17 in one sitting
  2. I listened to some quiet worship music and then read the Matthew account of the Lord’s Supper
  3. I took the cracker and then the drink and sat in silence for a while. I sought connection with God and help for the rest of the day ahead.

What is Jesus teaching me? Just to constantly seek him. I am finding moments when I just long for his presence and I have no problem cutting off distractions to be with him.

Are you connected with Jesus? Do you seek him out? Do you want him to find you?