Sunday morning I was privileged to lead communion thoughts at the Lord’s table. I was asked to read I John 3:16-20:
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.
Then I retold a brief story:
Years ago, I heard missionary Juan Monroy tell of working in a South American country where a very rigid caste system was in place; where a new young convert, who was a laborer, did not feel it permissible to look directly into the face of someone of a higher caste, such as a preacher – or to call him by his first name; only as “Senor” or “Mr.”. After Juan preached what must have been a powerful sermon on how Jesus’ sacrifice makes us all equal – just fellow-sinners saved by His grace – he positioned himself next to this new convert. It was the custom in this church, you see, for one person to pass the emblems of the Lord’s Supper to the next person by addressing them by their first name and saying something to the effect of “This is the body of Christ, which was broken for you” or “This is Jesus’ blood, which was shed for you.” When the plate came to him, the young man looked right into Juan’s eyes, a great smile across his face, and said, “Juan, this is Jesus’ body. He did this for you.”
Then I hedged. I said,
That’s not our custom in this church, and some of us would doubtless be uncomfortable saying such a thing to another. But I wonder if, as we pass these emblems to each other this morning, we could do so looking right into each others’ eyes with a look of love, a look that says “This is His body. This is His blood. He did this for us.”
And I led the blessings for the bread and the cup.
I would have liked to have asked, just for one Sunday, to adopt this custom which speaks so richly to the vertical AND horizontal relationship we have as God’s children and Christ’s siblings at the Table. I think to do so might have been more distracting than fruitful. I felt like I at least introduced the possibility of more interaction during our time at the Table together.
What do you think?
Did I sell out?