My Two Cents
September 15, 2019, 12:00 AM

Did you know that Thursday was the 231st birthday of Alexander Campbell? No? Well, now you do!

 

Two hundred and thirty one years ago Alexander Campbell was born. And just a few short years later, along with his dad, Thomas, he went on to found what would become the denomination we call the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Pretty cool stuff.

 

Essentially, our denomination began over a disagreement about communion. The church the Campbells grew up in felt that only a select few should

receive it. The Campbell’s begged to differ saying everyone is welcome to the table. The church of the day only served communion when the ordained clergy happened to be in town to preside at the table. The Campbells, hearkening back to the first century church, felt that our “meal” should happen every time we worship, whether or not the ordained were around to serve it.

 

Now, here we are two hundred and some years later still sharing communion with everyone who comes to worship, and still serving it every time we gather. But, what’s this Christian Temple business of offering communion in two different ways? Sometimes we come forward to receive the meal. Other times the elements are brought to us. Why is that?

 

Theologically speaking, we’ve always liked people serving one another in the pews since this practice emphasized our core value of the priesthood of all believers. But this practice was a little easier to manage back in the days when our sanctuary was symmetrical and our pews were a lot shorter! Now, it can be confusing for our members- and especially our newcomers- to know what do during communion, making the experience a little more stressful than it might otherwise be.

 

So, a few years ago we decided to gradually introduce the idea of coming forward for communion on the first Sundays of the month, and during the summer when our crowds are typically a little smaller. Each year we’ve grown more and more comfortable with this way of doing things.  And, while it is lovely to be served communion in our pew, many of us also find it touching to receive the elements at the table from an elder, along with the soft spoken blessing,“This is the body of Christ, this is the cup of salvation”.

 

So where does all of this leave us? Maybe you could help us answer that question. As we go back to serving communion to people in the pews during the fall, please let us know what you think? Which do you prefer? Our sense is that we are naturally gravitating toward the common practice of coming forward to the altar for our special meal. But we would love to hear from you.

 

And we do all of this in the spirit of old Alexander Campbell. Whose

priority was that our holy communion remain the central experience of our worship service- no matter how it is served.

 

Welcome to worship!