Monday, March 27, 2006


Sometimes new understanding creeps up on you and one day you find yourself believing something a bit differently than you used to and you wonder when it happened. Other times it hits you in the face and you go "Duh!".

Yesterday, as I we were waiting for services to start I was looking through the bulletin and I just happened to re-read the note that is in there every week that explains our Lord's Supper, and the line hit me. It invited "believers" to participate in the Lord's Supper..not..."BAPTIZED believers".

In the Sunday morning bulletin that we passed out at the Church I used to go to I am quite sure we made that distinction (I should know, I worded it).

My instantaneous, instinctual reaction was that of disbelief. "Is that what it really says?" I read it again...nope, same mention of being baptized first. See, in my time as a Church of Christ "lifer" it was just something you understood from a small age. Once you were baptized, you could eat the bread and drink the cup, until then you kept your hands out of the plates and you passed them to the next person.

IN FACT, one way you could tell if a "newcomer" was a Christian (a baptized believer) was to watch when the Lord's Supper came to them. If they partook without hesitation and in reverence, then you where 98% sure they were baptized believers. If they passed it without hesitation, you were 98% they were not, and if they hesitated at either (as if they didn't know what to do) you were 100% sure that they were not baptized believers. In any case, it was the sign on their foreheads that marked them.

In my mind, coming from years of training and observing, partaking of the Lord's Supper was one of the outward "rewards" for being baptized.
When I say that out loud now it sounds...stupid. Duh!
Where on earth did I get that idea?! I started to think through the Bible and I looked...there is nothing in there that says that in order to partake of the Lord's Supper you must be baptized. Now, I believe that it implies that those that did participate in the Lord's Supper were baptized believers, but there is no commandment either way and any argument for or against would be fraught with conjecture.

True, I have never seen anyone stopped from taking the Lord's Supper because they were not baptized. But, I have also never known of anyone that has made a practice of it without being baptized.

The statement in our bulletin was (is) the first I had ever seen that encouraged anyone that wanted to participate in the Lord's Supper to do so...irregardless of their station in life and the current state of their journey to the Lord. It suggests that participating in the Lord's Supper could have meaning for someone that is not baptized. Part of me says that is putting the cart before the horse, but another part of me says...why not? Who am I to judge someone else's heart?

I do believe that participating in the Lord's Supper has deeper meaning to those of us that have been saved by God's mercy through the sacrifice of his son and our obedience to that love and sacrifice. However, now, because I am reading without the shaded glasses and listening withouth the ear filters things look and sound differently.


No comments:

"...Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." 2 Corinthians 3:7-18