In Churches of Christ, we are more like a brotherhood than a franchise (to steal the image from my partner Steve Sandifer). This wasn't true 30+ years ago. If you were miles away on a vacation, but needed your 6:00pm-service-fix, you could step into a C of C and everything would look just like the home church--2 songs...prayer (which you could almost quote verbatum)...song...sermon...then, the Lord's Table was taken either one of two ways:
1) People were asked to raise their hand if they weren't there to participate at the am service. These were the hunters and "immature" Christians. How sad was the evening if you were the only one? A person would pray and bring the bread. Another would pray and bring the cup. Then, another prayer by the same person that prayed for the bread (because the rhythm of 1-2-1 is better than 1-2-2) who would bless the offering. You felt obligated to at least put in a dollar or two.
2) Or, those that weren't there in the morning were asked to exit the auditorium where they would be led to Room C. Again, the eyes would glaze over the not-so-serious-Christians.
In January, I plan to begin a sermon series on The Lord's Table. I have been heavily influenced by John Mark Hick's book Come to the Table.
It is common for bloggers to ask for feedback, but today I am passionately requesting your stories. Feel free to respond here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Here is what I want to know:
-What would be the ideal way to participate in the Lord's Table? Silence? Conversation? Home? Church? (There is no wrong answer. I am asking for your preference.)
-Is there an experience around the table that has greatly impacted you? Please share.
-If you have studied this formative topic--what books, articles, or sermons would you suggest?