Thursday, January 13, 2011

House Church - The Lord's Supper Feast

I love celebrating the Lord's Supper.

We partake of this ordinance as a key aspect of our weekly meetings. As we conclude our time of sitting together and singing, praying, teaching, exhorting, etc., we all move to the kitchen and celebrate the supper together. We eat of the loaf and drink of the cup as part of our lunch.

The theology behind the Lord's Supper as practiced in the house church is very similar to that in most orthodox churches. We thankfully remember what Christ has done for us on the cross. Some may think of Christ as being more spiritually present at the meal than at other times, but we really don't get into much of that. The theology is best described by Paul in I Corinthians 11.

What makes the house church celebration of the Lord's Supper unique (as compared to most churches in this country) is that it is a full meal. This Sunday the theme will be Italian. We'll probably begin the meal by tearing pieces from the one loaf and drinking from cups filled from one pitcher. We may eventually move to actually drinking from one cup, but we haven't gotten past the whole germ thing yet. Wine, by the way, acts as a natural disinfectant, so if we go to one cup we'll need to switch from the grape juice to wine.

There are a few things that I like a great deal about partaking of the meal in this way:

1. It follows the biblical model.

2. It's a full meal. Meals not only taste good, but they also allow for much wonderful conversation.

3. The full meal keeps the continuity with the Passover meal (looking backward) and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (looking forward).

4. The full meal is a real celebration instead of a solemn ceremony.

5. The one loaf and one cup (pitcher for now) help us remember that we are united in Christ. This spurs and encourages the unity of the body.

6. Since the meal takes place right in the same spot as the rest of the gathering, there is no artificial dividing line between the Lord's Supper and the remainder of the fellowship.

7. The church in Troas gathered together for the purpose of breaking bread. We do the same.


I can hardly overstate the joy that I have experienced in this type of celebration. Regardless of what church family you are a part of, I highly encourage you to partake of the Lord's Supper as a full meal. It connects us back to the Passover, forward to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, and presently to each other. Above all else, we remember and exult in what Jesus has accomplished for us at Calvary.

9 comments:

micah7 said...

Eric,

Ever since we had the passover seder I have felt like that is the way it ought to be. I hate to admit that every time since then, when we get to the little cup and the little wafer I sigh internally; not that I think it takes away from the centrality of Christ, but because I feel like the unity and community that we have with one another in Christ is missing.

Eric said...

Micah,

I too enjoyed the Passover seder a great deal. It was special. I'm sure glad we were able to do that.

I've thought about how to encourage folks who are part of more traditional churches. Do you think your pastor(s) would be open to the idea of sometime celebrating the Lord's Supper as a full meal? A smaller church like yours seems ideal for it. After doing it that way once, they may decide that they would like to continue with that practice at least some of the time.

micah7 said...

Eric,

Perhaps they would be open to it. We don't always do everything the same way. The order of worship, for example, can be quite different Sunday to Sunday. I have just recently been asked to be the hospitality person for the church which involves coordinating the 5th Sunday fellowship meals. We typically observe the Lord's supper on 5th Sundays too. I could certainly ask if we could make the Lord's Supper a part of the meal.

Jeffrey said...

Eric,

I took a few moments last week to just lean back against the sink and listen to everyone talking, laughing, joking, etc. I noticed many voices were quite loud and it reminded me of large family get-togethers when I was a kid. Aunts, uncles, in-laws, out-laws; everyone having a great time. I wouldn't trade our fellowship for any that I've experienced in the past. The Kingdom is going to be awesome.

Jeff

Eric said...

Micah,

My suggestion is that you go ahead and ask about it. My guess is that they would be open to the idea. It might just be something they haven't really given much thought to. Let me know what happens.

Eric said...

Jeff,

It really was a sweet time. I'm already looking forward to this Sunday. The family of God together is a beautiful thing.

Steve Scott said...

Anybody know of a church in the San Francisco area that does the supper this way?

Eric said...

Steve,

I wish I could help you with this, but I have absolutely no idea.

I'm guessing that Nancy Pelosi wouldn't be much assistance.

reopmo said...

Heads up to anyone looking in middle Tennessee!
http://www.lambblood.com/main.html