Wednesday, October 25, 2006

willimon on the communal aspect of Sunday worship

On Sunday, those elements of worship, those rituals that help unite us, are to be emphasized. Those that fragment and isolate believers from one another are to be avoided. Individual glasses of wine at Communion, individual bits of bread, individual worshipers in silent meditation, solos rather than singing congregational hymns, are all questionable acts of communal worship in the light of this koinonia principle. Indeed, private meditation is best on other days, in other services of worship. Sunday is a day to get together, and the pastor, as the leader of worship, bears primary responsibility for gathering the church. (Pastor 81)

6 comments:

gavin richardson said...

ew, that's stirring the pot. i'm generally okay with one cup & bread as long as i can do intinction. still not used to the sipping, call it too many years of little crackers and shot glasses

Jason Woolever said...

yeah, he is pushing it a little bit. I hope he's referring to intinction. I can't a United Methodist bending any further than that. Our church folk get grossed out by intinction when the bread starts to fall off into the juice and it gets all gummy. I don't blame them. I'm serving it and sometimes I get a little nauseaus (sp?). A couple of weeks ago we were serving communion by intinction, but we were tearing off little pieces and giving it to people. And then I broke into a coughing fit and i couldn't stop. And people were about to gag as I served them communion. I decided that they could start tearing off their own pieces at that point. I felt bad for them that time.

Holy Pirate said...

I grew up drinking from a common cup and eating individual wafers. Now we usually have the common loaf and the individual cup, or intinction. But people tear off their own pieces of bread from the common loaf, which IMHO is not as sound theologically as the server tearing a bit from the common loaf and giving it to the communicant.

The part that bothers me more than the individual cup, though, is that we do it one by one in a long line of people rather than as a group. In the church of my youth, groups of 12 (or so) would kneel together to receive Communion together. I think that method does a much better job of communicating the concept of Communion as shared meal.

And while I give the denomination a hard time about some things, I find the "This Holy Mystery" statement to be pretty well done. http://www.gbod.org/worship/thisholymystery/default.html

Jason Woolever said...

i like the groups of 12 idea.

Mike the Metho said...

The best 'communion' memory I have is actually after church. Some of us were precluded from the meal because of various reasons, but afterwards, we (as kids) would be let loose on the communion bread and the little cups!!!

And we would eat and feast til there was nothing left - and it helped of course that the lady who baked the bread for communion baked a loaf big enough to feed Africa for a church of about 25.

Funnily enough - us kids bonded over our own version of the meal - where noone was excluded, and everyone was welcome to eat, drink and be happy.

Communion is so boring and serious in the Methodist church.

By the way Jason, can we do communion Wednesday night???

Jason Woolever said...

Of course we can! Also, FYI, there are no flags in our sanctuary. I checked last weekend.