Matt's blog

The story of me, an American in Edinburgh, Scotland finding my place as a musician, a husband, a father and a Christian.

Communion Thoughts

This post started as a reply to a comment Ryan made about this post (I'd love if you commented on it, too, especially re: our church situation) which I think deserves its own post.

Here's Ryan's comment:
I agree with you on the table practices. I am bothered by the representational perspective. Is it not a celebration of what Christ has done and is doing? That is my understanding of the reformed faith. I am also bothered by folks that "take" from the table and do not "receive" from the table. What about you, Matt?

Here's me:
I guess it depends whether you are referring to individual attitudes or the invitation given from the table when you say 'take' and 'receive.' I'll deal with individuals first. I can't judge attitudes in others. If I am bothered by folks for what I perceive to be their attitude than I am guilty of judgment and misinformed judgment on top of that. Now to the wording of the invitation. I would be perturbed if the officiant invited me to come and 'take' from the table without putting the action in context. I don't think I would be bothered so long as the officiant also made it clear that we are coming to take what has been offered by Christ.

Let me put my thought another way: Christ gives, we receive vs. Christ gives, we take. 'To receive' to my ear implies a more passive act. Christ is doing the bulk of the work, we simply open ourselves. 'To take' implies more action on our part which I think sounds self-centered at first. However, it doesn't sound so odd to say "Christ offers bread which we take and eat" or "Christ offers us a seat at the table which we take to join in the fellowship of believers."

There're my first thoughts, any others?

2 Responses to “Communion Thoughts”

  1. # Blogger Miranda

    Christ said, 'take, eat' so in that sense 'take' has to in the communion service because those are part of the words of institution.
    Now this may be the Methodist (Arminian) in me, but I thinking the attitude of taking is valid (so long as it's separated from a greedy taking without expectation of giving back). We chose to participate in the eucharist, and we should approach the table with bold confidence that Christ is present and at work through the sacrament. The passivity of reception could imply only a vague hope that maybe this act means something. Taking says something more along the lines of, yes Christ is here now give me those means of communing with him. I think it's a good thing to be so desirous of communing with Christ that we eagerly take what he's offered.
    (but I haven't given this particular question much thought, so I could change my mind right after I submit this  

  2. # Blogger Pappy McVulgar

    I am thinking about this...I am bouncing some ideas around and hope to engage you in a couple of days. Thank you for entertaining this question.  

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