The Lord’s Supper: Open your eyes and look around!

© LWF/J. Latva-Hakuni , under the Creative Commons License.

I grew up in the Anglican tradition, and one thing I miss about it is the way in which my family’s church did the Lord’s Supper. We’d all get up the front, and stand in a semi-circle. The minister and some of the elders would walk around with the bread and the wine, and serve them to the individual members of the congregation. More often than not, you were standing next to your family, but then you were also standing next to the mid-30’s single guy, and on the other side, the 83 year old saint who could barely stand. Across the circle, you could look your brothers and sisters in the eye. It was  communion in more ways than one. It was not just communion with Christ, but it was a communion with the body.

A couple of bloggers have recently expressed sentiments regarding the Lord’s Supper which I think Hills could benefit from. Firstly, Douglas Wilson at Blog and Mablog:

We are to discern the Lord’s body in one another. When the Lord’s Supper is being served, we should sit up straight, and look around the congregation, eyes open, up and down our row. It is true that we are to examine ourselves, but we are to do so in relation to one another. We must not curl up in a little ball, close our eyes, and try to establish a private, spiritual moment with Jesus.

Then, Paul Levy at Reformation 21:

Why do people often go into the semi foetal position when holding the bread, scrunch up their eyes as if they are trying to imagine Jesus on the cross. It’s a Protestant ritual. Open your eyes and look around you! Recognise the body of Christ. Rejoice in forgiveness of sins, rejoice with your brothers and sisters, look and see, not hide and imagine

My wife and I were recently visiting her home church in Ballarat, and as we were taking the Supper I stuck my head up and looked around at my fellow believers, most of whom I have never met. It was encouraging to see that I was sharing in God’s grace with a body, instead of experiencing it as an individual.