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Friday, November 20, 2020

An Odd Offense

By Adam Faughn

    A few years ago, I was listening to a lesson about the importance of the Lord's Supper. The person speaking had done some mission work elsewhere in the world and maintained contacts with people from the other side of the globe. Not all that long prior, one of their friends had been traveling in the United States and came to where this speaker was from. They had a discussion about various things, and the subject of worship came up.
    As members of the Lord's Church, of course, there was not much difference between the worship in which they engaged around the globe and what they saw when they came to America. They sang without instruments. They learned from God's Word. They gave. They spent time in pray-er. They participated in communion.
    Interestingly, though, one aspect of the worship was slightly offensive to the guests from the other side of the world. It was not that anything sinful was being done, but it was that there seemed to be a lack of emphasis on it, compared to what they were accustomed to. It was the Lord's Supper. These Christians simply could not understand why only a moment or two was spent saying a quick prayer, and then the emblems were passed as quickly as possible, almost at times as if it was being rushed through in order to get to more "pressing" matters.
    It must be said; the New Testament does not give us every specific detail about eating the Lord's Supper. The day on which it is to be eaten is specified (Acts 20:7); the emblems to be utilized are specified (Matthew 26:26-29); the purpose is specified (1 Corinthians 11:26); and the attitude each worshiper is to have is specified (1 Corinthians 11:27-29). However, specifics such as how long it is supposed to last each Sunday or the manner in which it is to be distributed is left up to the wisdom of each congregation.
    That said, can we not agree that those Christians from the other side of the world could have had a valid point? Can we not sometimes feel as if this portion of our worship is a bit "rushed" or that "efficiency" is the end-all-be-all of communion? While we dare not judge hearts or intentions, I believe we can all see how this is possible. (Personally, I know I have checked the time on several occasions when I should have been thinking about Jesus, and that is to my own shame and regret.)
    Add to that, over the last few months, we have had to be extra cautious in the manner in which we distribute the emblems, and understandably so. However, that has led to an even greater possibility of us hurrying or maybe not concentrating on the seriousness of the Lord's Supper as we should. Again, being human, we are going to struggle in this area at times, but we should do all we can to do our very best.
    To help in that, we have planned a very special worship assembly for October 18. Our entire morning worship service is going to center around the communion. Instead of par-taking of the emblems in the first few minutes of our service, all aspects of our worship are going to focus our minds on the cross of Jesus and on its connection to the bread and the fruit of the vine.
    To do this, we are simply changing the order of our service for this one week. Instead of partaking of the communion and then preaching about it, we will have a sermon that focuses on each emblem before we partake in it. To facilitate this, we will all have individual-serve cups for this week only. Each song will be one that focuses our minds on the cross and on what we are doing when we remember the sacrifice of our Lord.
    Our hope is that this service reminds us of this extremely important part of our worship service, which is the focal point of our entire week. You may not personally struggle with concentrating on the Lord's Supper, even in these different times. But, for those who have (or do), we pray that this one special service helps us remember afresh the importance of it, and helps us long for the day when we more regularly take greater time to focus our hearts and minds on communion.
- Adam Faughn preaches for the Central Church of Christ in Paducah KY. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.centralchurchofchrist.org Visit the Faughn Family blog, A Legacy of Faith.


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