The Lord's Supper - A Joyful Occasion?
For the purposes of the post, I am going to refer to the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper as also meaning of Communioon, and Eucharist. I realize that congregations choose to call the sacrament one of these titles, or sometimes all three, depending on the congregation and their traditions.
Growing up, The Lord's Supper was celebrated 4 times a year. So when the "Silver" was on the table in the front of the sanctuary, I knew it was going to be two things: a special service, and a long service. I remember many things about the services, but I remember vividly the minister reading scripture during the distribution of the elements. I also remember not being able to touch the trays as they went by.
During college I was able to recognize the importance of the Lord's Supper. The connections it had with Scripture, and the meaning of the liturgy. That's when it became joyful to me, but it was also a solemn sacrament. Not until I became a staff person and worship director that I became more and more aware of the impact the Lord's Supper had in the service and in our faith journey. But how should it be celebrated? Joyfully? Solemnly? 4 times a year? more often? Different ways of distributing the elements? Different types of elements (wine vs. juice; different types of breads, etc.)? And how does that impact the service? Or do we celebrate the Lord's Supper in the same manner because "that's the way we always have done it."
I have also have witnessed the Lord's Supper done in a "cafeteria" style. This is when you are ready in the service to take the Lord's Supper elements you may walk up to one of the stations placed around the worship space, eat a piece of bread and drink a cup of wine. After the service, I asked the worship leader about the way the Lord's Supper was served. Astonishingly this person's response was, "I didn't want to take up extra time in worship for it."
So how do you celebrate the Lord's Supper? With silver and trays? A full liturgy? People coming forward? In what ways are the services joyful or solemn? I look forward to hearing your celebrations of this sacrament.