There are a variety of acceptable approaches to serving food. Think of the different host homes for Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, and think of not just the many seating arrangements, but the alternatives to passing out the vittles. It could be grab-what-you-want style, at least if the group and table is small enough, or the pass-it-around-item-by-item, or maybe buffet style where you take your plate up to the common holding area. Of course, those who aren’t signed up for GWCTD will make their own supper and eat it however they want, maybe right out of the pan; save yourself from washing an extra dish.
As a church we share the communion meal every Lord’s Day. Many things are being learned here, and only some of the lessons come in the words. We do it weekly, we do it gladly, we do it at a common table. We also don’t have men pass trays row by row, but rather invite everyone to come up to the table.
Until this past May, you walked up and got your own bread and wine. The morning minster served the musicians leading us in song, but otherwise you served yourself. Having been warned about a supposedly severely contagious virus, we took special precautions and individually packaged the elements so as to share the supper without sharing germs. Since we returned inside for worship, we’ve had men pass out the elements so as to put only a couple hands near the supplies; it wasn’t surgery-room-sterile, but it was something.
Though I wasn’t able to come, I asked the elders about the donuts table last Sunday, and it gave us a reason to make a new decision. Many of you happily used your hands to get your own donuts, and good job not passing around your infectious diseases.
So we are no longer going to have men pass out the elements for sake of an ostensibly higher level of cleanliness. But we are going to have men pass out elements for sake of serving the flock. We like the liturgical statement. We like the little extra interaction. We like singing another song. It is not the only way to serve the Supper, and it doesn’t save us time, but it’s a good exchange, reminding us of the Chief Shepherd who came to serve and gave His life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28).