Summary: proper order of Holy Communion
1st Corinthians 11:17-34
ILL Notebook: Communion (The Church of the Holy Radiator)
There was a small-town Episcopal church in upstate New York that had rector for over thirty-five years. He was loved by the church and the community, but the time came for him to retire.
This was the first church for his young replacement, and the new rector had a great desire to do well.
He had been at the church several weeks when he began to perceive that the people were upset with him. He was troubled with this. Eventually, he called one of the lay leaders of the church and said, “I don’t know what’s wrong, but I have a feeling that there is something wrong.”
The man said, “Well, Father, that’s true. I hate to say it, but it’s the way you do the Communion service.”
“The way I do the Communion service? What do you mean?”
“Well, it’s not so much what you do as what you leave out.”
“I don’t think I leave out anything from the Communion service.”
“Oh yes, you do. Just before our previous rector administered the chalice and wine to the people, he’d always go over and touch the radiator. And then, he would serve the people.”
The young rector closed up the conversation and quickly called his predecessor. He said to him, “I haven’t been here a month, and I’m in trouble.”
“In trouble? Why?”
“Well, it’s something to do with touching the radiator. Could that be possible? Did you do that?”
“Oh yes, I did. Always before I administered the chalice to the people, I touched the radiator to discharge the static electricity so I wouldn’t shock them.”
For over thirty-five years, the untutored people of his congregation thought that the touching of the radiator was part of the holy tradition. The church has since been renamed, “The Church of the Holy Radiator.”
We must constantly be evaluating how, when, and why we do what we do for the Lord. Paul has shared with us that even though we have freedom; our freedom doesn’t come without order… Godly order! Now I don’t believe that we can govern morality, but this shouldn’t hinder us from standing up for what we know are Godly values. This is what Paul is doing. The Corinthian’s have become disorderly, through pagan tradition, which was manifested by selfishness and disrespect.
To understand order, one must have an understanding of respect, reverence and appropriateness. I commented that there are those who would use these scriptures for oppression of women in worship as well as at home. I don’t believe that this is the intent or the context of these scriptures, but I do believe submission is something ordained by God. Submission is mutual commission and cooperation. We see this with Jesus and His willingness to carry out God’s plan of salvation.
This brings us to our subject today… the Lord’s Table. Now there are 2 reasons we do this in worship service:
1) Because Jesus told us to
2) It is to remind us of the one whom we are to be about.
Now the Corinthian’s have illustrated for us the improper way to observe the Lord’s Supper…HOLY COMMUNION
Paul tells us that when we are not in the spirit and attitude of worship; there are serve consequences for these actions. Friends this is true not only when being ministered the elements of the sacrament of Holy Communion, but even in regular services that do not consist of Holy Communion. You see when our attitude of worship is joined with a spirit of charity and cooperation we receive the full complement of God’s blessings for us at that moment and for future endeavors that God places in our path. But when we come and don’t have that communion and we are here with murmuring, smart-alecky remarks, disrespect for one another with judgmental attitudes, there is serve consequences for this as well. Whether we realize it or not, the devil will use these times to rob us of our joy in Christ.