1 Corinthians 11:23-32
Originally scheduled for June 26
It was a small church in Southern California. In a fit of
poor judgment on their part and mine, I was asked to serve as a
deacon. Being the junior man on the team, I was the one who was to
round up the customary eight men needed to serve communion — in
August. Custom decreed that all the men would wear ties — in August,
in Southern California. They wear sunglasses there for a reason,
folks. Try as I might I was unable to round up eight men willing to
wear a tie. Radical measures were called for. So I did this: with
the help of the youth minister, I recruited eight high school girls
to serve communion. They were instructed to wear white dresses of a
modest appearance and otherwise behave in accordance with the
importance of the occasion.
When the girls entered the church with the communion trays,
there was an audible gasp from the congregation. I am pleased to say
the girls carried out their task with complete decorum in a very
high-class manner. I knew, of course, that there would be an elders
meeting just after the service. I was prepared.
My defense was found in the classic passage concerning
communion, 1st Corinthians 11:23-32. If you will notice
that passage, you will see that St. Paul prescribes no specific
method to serve communion, nor any specific set of persons to serve
communion. However, it is clearly a solemn occasion. As the young
ladies had served appropriately, the elders found they could see no
reason to require ties. But communion is clearly of first
importance. One reason for this is that in communion you come in
contact with the body and blood of Jesus Christ, and this proclaims
to you and everyone else the core doctrines of the faith.
Another reason that this should be such a solemn occasion
is that it is designed to make you examine yourself. You are in
touch with Christ. By this symbolic act, you proclaim his death. In
proclaiming his death you proclaim his resurrection; in proclaiming
his resurrection you proclaim his ascension; in proclaiming his
ascension you proclaim his coming again. To do this in a frivolous
manner, or to do it by rote in an unthinking manner, is sin. It is
grievously offensive to the Christ who gave his life for you.
Therefore, do not be distracted by those who serve (or what
they are wearing), or those who make music during communion. Rather,
examine yourself with all seriousness, repenting of your sins. Then
partake of the body and blood of Jesus Christ.