Monday, September 3, 2012

A Catholic vibe

At the end of our Sunday worship service, our church offers communion and a few other things around the auditorium. There’s even a diagram, a sort of map that’s flashed onto the overhead screen that shows the different locations to go, so we don’t get lost on the way to the bread and grape juice. (I assume it’s grape juice.) We leave our padded blue seats and do these things during the singing of the final songs. Or, we don’t do these things and just remain at our seats. The choice is ours.

When we first started this routine at the end of service, I thought it all seemed a bit too Catholic. Standing in line for communion. Lighting candles. Cross statues. Who’s idea was this anyway?

But over time, I began to warm up to the idea.

These are rituals that help us focus on God. And while we do it, we are rubbing elbows with other believers, coming into contact with each other and with the Creator … all in 5 minutes on a Sunday morning.

And here are the ways we respond:

  • We take communion by dipping a bread wafer into a cup. (There’s even a gluten-free table.)
When we first started attending Fairfax Community Church, about 7 years ago, we took communion about once a month. Within the last year or two, we’ve gone to a weekly communion.

  • We can go to one of the crosses at the front of the auditorium and place a prayer request on it. We write the request on a sticky note.
Sometimes the notes fall, drifting like yellow leaves to the foot of the cross.

It’s okay. Someone gathers up these notes after the services, and later church members pray for every single request. (Our small group has done this prayer time on a couple of occasions. It’s quite moving.)

  • We can light a candle as a promise to pray for someone.
I’ll tell you, there’s something pretty emotional about doing this. I’m not sure why.

  • We can go to a prayer station and someone prays with us.
Every week, people are available right and then and there to pray for church members or visitors. These are corners of light.

  • We can place contributions into an offering box.
I didn’t get a picture of the offering box. Imagine a tall wooden box with a slit cut into the top … and a sign that says, “Place offerings here.”

I do consider it a “leap of faith” that our church leadership gave up “passing the baskets.” When the announcement was made about going in this direction, just trusting people to walk to the back and drop in contributions, I thought, “Hmm. That sounds a little crazy to me.”

But it seems to be working out just fine.

And one final note …

I saw a similar communion-dynamic while visiting a morning worship service at the Downtown Church of Christ in Searcy, Ark. They offered people a chance to come forward, partake of the Lord’s Supper, and exchange hugs and greetings. A wonderful time.

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