From My Perspective – August 5, 2018
It’s interesting that one of our most sacred moments in the life of the church is that time when we celebrate Holy Communion. Many of us have found special grace during those moments of Communion. Many times in my life, when I’ve needed an extra nudge from God, I have received it at the table. I know I’m not alone in this, because many folks tell me their stories of how God transformed them, or shook them up, while receiving Communion.
I’ve also found that Holy Communion is a time when we get really emotional if someone doesn’t do it “the right way.” I have fielded more than my share of complaints because I, or another minister on my staff, didn’t say the right words, didn’t use the right method of serving the sacrament, or “ruined the moment” by not controlling all the variables.
The common complaint I hear is that Methodists make it look like we’re “herding cattle” when it comes to Holy Communion. Some believe that lining up to receive the elements resembles herding cattle. Others believe that when ushers lead people to kneel at the chancel rail, we’re herding cattle. I’m reminded that anything can serve as a useful metaphor when the intention is to disparage the worship and rituals of others.
But it’s not just us. The church at Corinth messed up Holy Communion so badly that at times, it became a messy, drunken brawl. Instead of herding cattle, they had a cattle stampede! Paul’s letter reminded them that all that stuff was unnecessary.
He said that when we come to the table, we do three things: we remember, we participate, and we anticipate. That’s it. The method is not important. The meaning is.
I look forward to celebrating our first Holy Communion together today.
What we do here matters.