Friday, February 19, 2010

Apostle Marlon Hester asks a Question I want to Answer

A few days ago Apostle Hester posted an important question. When and how should communion be ministered. This is an important topic and one that needs to be reviewed by the Church of Jesus, particularly those filled with the Holy Ghost. We have lost touch with our ancient roots by this move of God in the Spirit. It must be restored to the original intentions. Here's what Apostle wrote:

Practical Procedures in Ministering Communion:

1. The Place: The original Passover took place in the house of the Israelites. The Lords Supper originated in a private house. The believers broke bread from House to house (Acts 2:46). Paul broke break in an upper room (Acts 20:8) where they no doubt had a love feast also. Early believers had to break bread wherever they could as the Romans forbade Christians to own property in time of persecution. The place is "where two or three gather in My Name" (Matthew 18:15 - 20)

I will leave the other 3 for others the share about:

2. THE TIME: Paul the Apostle informs us of the time. It should be a meal taken seriously. Not a "Snack". It should have consequence. It must be at a time when people have come together in fellowship. Or even a few. It is a time when examination of one's self and even one's relationship to others must be spiritually checked. This time must be solemn in that it is a time of Unity. We all drink and eat of the Body and Blood and we become the Body and Blood as it were in unity. The eating and drinking of the Communion feast must be done at a time when reflection and repentance has taken place. Time is not a clock... Time is not a Chronos. Time is a Kairos. An Appointed time.

There have been times when it was Spontaneous to take communion together in a small group. As a family. When someone needs a touch from God beyond the presence of other believers. It is a supernatural connection that happens which must not be taken lightly or flippantly. Paul warns of taking it unworthily. I have seen it become so routine in some places, so lightly esteemed that I have feared for those taking it without discerning the Body and Blood of Jesus present in the manifestation before them.

This is not a Catholic thing. This is a test of supernaturally discerning. I came to this understanding long ago with a now Passed Assembly of God Pastor who rejected the simple Symbolism and Representation remembrance theology of the elements for something more. Many now see that is so. It's a wave moving thru Pentecostals and needs to be embraced. There is a supernatural element of connection within the Communion service. If we perceive it we can be healed, receive revelation and restore unity.

3. THE DAY: What DAY should communion be ministered. There are two parts of this. First is it should be ministered when people come together. Some have used the communion table as a pathway to healing and restoration by communing alone every day. The Meal that Heals. There is something to that. I have. All alone. On a daily basis for a while. But only for a season. It is a coming together, Assembly experience.

There is not a DAY of the week that it SHOULD be done. Just as there is not a DAY of the WEEK when we SHOULD assemble ourselves together. We come together when it is declared that we will. And many times that MAY include communion. The idea that is can only be ONE day is a misnomer. It can be any day, but there should be some days that it is more appropriate to administer the sacrament. Days recognized by the Church as traditional days of communing. Ash Wednesday. Maundy Thursday. Thanksgiving should certainly be a day of Communion. And others perhaps. For certain Sunday Service when All the Body you are attached to has come together in unity, it is appropriate that from time to time communion be ministered.

4. HOW OFTEN? Paul says "as Often". There is a danger in this. When it becomes routine, when it become mundane, when it reaches the point of being ordinary it's too often. The balance is that all the cautions of 1 Corinthians 11:27-32 need to be considered. That consideration must be made carefully and with intention. Otherwise it could be treated like small change, as it were trampling the body and blood of Jesus underfoot by tradition and routine.

I worry that much of the very traditional church in the world does just that. Treat communion as routine, without reverence or understanding of the power inherent in the taking of the Body and Blood of Jesus as Paul describes. I also worry about the Evangelical mainline and some pentecostal churches who in an effort to distance themselves from the supernatural nature of the communion ministry have made it a remembrance without any power. A Form of Godliness.

I do NOT understand all the mystery within this. I have worked hard to grasp what I see in scripture and tie it to what I know happens. Healing, restoration, strength, life, sin remission and many other things seem to happen when communion is properly administered.

There is so much here, it is a changing paradigm. The danger is to make the Communion Ministry a replacement for intimacy with Christ. BUT, there can be no true intimacy without the communion table. It's not either or. Many traditional faiths wrap all their intimacy around the Eucharist. Many Pentecostals wrap their intimacy around worship and prayer. Then one side eschewing the other.

It is not either or, it is both and. We must recapture the awe of the supernatural power that is in the act of communion and use that to make Jesus more real in our lives. Not worshiping elements, worship music, good preaching or 24-7 prayer. It must be the full spectrum.

I don't believe Paul would have spent time on this issue if it wasn't important. Nor would would I.

1 comment:

Margaret said...

I belong to a mainline traditional church. I LOVE taking communion - the love for it has grown in me as I matured as a Christian. I love the peace and forgiveness of sins it brings, even though the ritual around it can seem mundane at times. I was attending a modern, evangelical church for a while. In the many times I attended, they never had communion and I missed that so much. I loved the evangelical worship but I was drawn back to my old traditional church by their weekly communion service.

One thing that concerned me in my church is when the young priest would invite all people up for communion, saying Jesus invites all (not just those 'confirmed') to His table. That's very true but something left out beforehand is the Bible says communion taken too lightly and with a heart of sin can cause sickness and death. That's why the pre-communion prayers of repentance must be done out of true sincerity and repentance. Ignoring the spiritual and physical power of the communion bread and wine is not wise!