Christians know all about Communion. Seriously, we’ve got it covered. Call it the Lord’s Supper, Eucharist, whatever you like, we know our stuff. We partake of little crackers and juice from plastic cups that look like shot glasses. The pastor reads a few verses we’ve all heard before. “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” It’s all pretty familiar, right?
Then the pastor says, “So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.”
“Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup,” continues the pastor. “For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves.”
Judgment? That sounds serious. I’d better see what the Bible says. That’s usually a good start.
Paul writes, “For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.”
Fallen asleep? That doesn’t sound so bad—unless by fallen asleep Paul means died. That does sound bad. Paul’s going all Mafia on us. “Dat’s why many o’ youse is weak an’ sick, see? Some o’ youse is fallen asleep, if youse catch my drift.”
So we, um, fall asleep if we eat and drink judgment on ourselves? And we eat and drink judgment on ourselves by failing to discern the symbolism of Christ’s death in the crackers and Communion cups?
Well, there’s no need to panic. I’ll just partake of Communion in a manner worthy of the Lord. That’s not so hard. Christians do it every Sunday.
Is anyone else stressing out in church today? I mean, everyone looks calm and earnest, like it’s no big deal. Except for that guy who has fallen asleep. Really fallen asleep, I mean, not…you know…fallen asleep.
It’s better not to think about that. Okay. Do this in remembrance of me. Manner worthy of the Lord. I can do this. Ah! The pastor is telling us to partake of the bread! Wait, please! I’m not ready! I’m too young to die!
All right, I’m exaggerating for dramatic effect. Slightly exaggerating. The Lord’s Supper is an amazing sacrament, a powerful reminder of God’s love in Jesus Christ. Communion isn’t really this nerve-wracking. Not quite.
What stresses you out in worship services? Let us know in the comments!
I had a seriously stressful encounter with communion once. I was taking a casual stroll down back slide lane. I knew it wasn’t ok with God, but I had decided it was ok with me. We were taking communion at the end of a year long Bible study and after the pastor blessed the elements she turned and served the person on her right, who in turn served the person on his right, and around the circle we went. When you are already hanging out in the far country of back slide lane you don’t think to much about words like unworthy manner. Unless of course the person sitting your left who is going to serve you the elements is your father, and the person sitting to your right, who you will serve, is your pastor of 10 years who has watched you grow up in the church. Suddenly eating and drinking judgement on yourself seems to condem those on either side of you by association.
I was totally trapped, cornered by righteousness and my only escape was through my own heart. Thank goodness God’s grace is instantaneous and all encompassing!
On a more selfish note, I’m relieved I’m not the only person who suffers from Communion Anxiety.