Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Lord's Table As A "Happy Meal"


D. H. Williams describes his visit to a megachurch at Christianity Today. The part that struck me was this:
Immediately after the singing, without any announcement, much less Paul's words of institution (1 Cor. 11:23-26), the elements of the Lord's Supper were hurriedly handed around. Again, I was amazed at the blandly efficient nature of this activity. We could have been passing pretzels and soda pop. No one offered any guidance whatsoever on the sharing of this critical ordinance or sacrament. It seemed a strictly vertical encounter between each individual and God.
Chaplain Mike at Internet Monk said about the above: "I call it The Christian Happy Meal, with all the solemnity of going through the drive-up window."

Not too long ago I attended a service at what would probably be called a megachurch, and as I entered the auditorium (aka the sanctuary, I guess), persons with baskets (like the cigarette girls with their trays) were handing out these pre-packaged communion kits, similar to the ones in the picture above, to people as they entered.

It was a definite “What The Faith?!?!” moment for me, as I thought of the contrast between this and our small weekly home meetings where after we’ve shared and prayed together and we sense it’s time to remember and celebrate being one body with Him and with each other,

When we bless the cup at the Lord’s Table, aren’t we sharing in the blood of Christ?
And when we break the bread, aren’t we sharing in the body of Christ?
And though we are many, we all eat from one loaf of bread,
showing that we are one body. (1 Corinthians 10:16-17 NLT)

we pray and bless and thank God, and then pass around a single small loaf or matzah or slice of bread from which we each break off a piece and eat, followed by a single cup of wine or grape juice from which we each take a drink.

While I agree that taking and celebrating the Lord's Table should be a happy (as in "joyous") meal (and I'm all in favor of celebrating it in a meal setting), when it is packaged and delivered and taken as a "Happy Meal" à la McDonalds, it has been changed into something so foreign to, and estranged from, its origins and meaning and purpose that it almost makes me cringe to participate in such a ceremony.

On a related note, my friend Scott Stocking has written an interesting essay for Greek and grammar geeks on his blog today on Acts 2:42 and the difference a comma can make: The Nature of "the Fellowship" (κοινωνια koinōnia) in Acts 2:42. Even if you're not one of the aforementioned kinds of geeks, please give it a read, as it's interesting and thought-provoking.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the link to my blog, Eric. I was surprised to find I had 32 hits in the first three hours of its posting.