Preparing For Worship: June 2

by | May 31, 2024 | Preparing For Worship

By Charlie Fuller

When I was growing up, we regularly celebrated what we called the “Lord’s Supper” every quarter. In one of the churches I served much later in life, we had the meal sometime around once a quarter, if the pastor remembered to schedule it. I’ve had the blessing and privilege of taking the meal in a multitude of forms in a multitude of states, countries and denominations. Blue collar churches. White collar churches. Country churches. Urban churches. Big steeple churches. Storefront churches. Intinction. Pass-the-plate. Served by a priest. Gluten-free and gluten-“full.”

During the Reformation, two of the most influential leaders were Martin Luther and Heinrich Zwingli. They led two seemingly parallel streams of Reformation thought, and both had large and influential followings. They decided to get together and compare notes. Maybe a merger would strengthen each of their movements.

They talked about theology and church. Who was God? How was the church to function? Baptism. Marriage. Community. Bible. They covered all the bases.

But there was only one thing about which they could not come to agreement. No matter how hard they tried. No matter how long they discussed. No matter how many different ways they tried to frame the issue.

They couldn’t agree about the meaning of Communion. Luther just couldn’t escape the idea that something happened in Communion that saves us. Zwingli said it was only a symbol. Just a symbol wasn’t enough for Luther.

We Baptists, of course, are the heirs of Zwingli (although there are other parts of Zwingli we rightfully avoid!). We say that Communion — or the Supper — is a physical symbol of something spiritual going on deep inside us.

What if they were in some inexpressible way both right? If so, then today let’s think and pray about both of those things. The meal is a symbol, and yet the meal in some way we can’t express brings salvation nearer to us. Maybe it’s the meal itself that expresses what we can’t in mere words. Thanks be to God!