The Other Gutter
While I wouldn’t say that the Bible requires us to celebrate the Lord’s table every week, it does seem that the early church observed it often. As an act of corporate worship, it unites the congregation together in Christ (cf 1 Corinthians 10:16-17) so regular observance befits the symbol.
There is also a certain tone or perspective that befits communion. While we dare not cherish our sin while commemorating Christ’s death for our sin, the remembrance of His sacrifice is not primarily about making ourselves feel miserable. We remember the cross and the empty tomb with growing gladness because He took our misery on Himself. This glad approach may seem refreshing, but is it okay?
We’ve recently been making bread for our weekly communion rather than using the typical pre-packaged cracker fragments. Many seem to think it’s tasty. They like it. They want the recipe. And, more than that, they discreetly wonder if it’s really okay to like the communion bread.
Questions about the tone of communion observance and the taste of the bread are not totally unrelated. Now, the goal with this bread wasn’t to make people focus on the bread. But is it an indication that something is wrong when we’re afraid to like it?
At the last supper, what kind of bread did Jesus break and share with His disciples? It was normal (to them) bread, normal for eating and for fellowshipping and for enjoying together. When Paul wrote the Corinthians to correct their communion behavior, he basically said, “Me thinks ye feasteth too much.” But while he told them to make sure they were taking sin seriously, he didn’t tell them to make everything tasteless.
We have been warned that people should not come to Christ in order to be made happy. We have been warned about man-centeredness and easy believism. But it is easier to act miserable than to be really glad that Christ is a great Savior. That is man-centered in its own way. It’s much more simple to be unhappy than to be truly happy in Christ.
Is our theological bowling ball just in the other gutter when we’re reluctant to embrace something because it is tasty? I also wonder, does our “sorrow makes it more spiritual” approach mean that we’re missing our opportunity to proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes in a way that people would actually want it? It’s almost as if we believe that the Holy Spirit would never let us have sweet bread.
Christ broke bread with and for His disciples to share. Christ died and rose again for all His disciples to share life. We don’t need to be afraid that we like it or want more.