|A Family Gathering|
|I heard it again recently. Then I read a comment in a letter a few days later that revealed the same perspective. Both were complaining about their “alone” time in communion being interrupted.
Individualism has been identified as a pervasive product of our American culture. We’ve idealized the “Lone Ranger” image of the solitary person making his way without any need for community. Nothing could be more foreign to the biblical world. Nothing can be more foreign to communion.
Please carefully consider the following words I sent to an individual who was being critical of singing during communion because it interfered with her time reflecting on the cross:
“Your comments reflect an individualistic rather than a community perspective. Church is not about God and me. God called us into a community. Many of our fellowship’s problems are rooted in our practices that prevent the development of real community. If you need quiet time reflecting on the cross, do that before you come to the gathering. God didn’t call us together to have us sit in isolated worlds. We are to commune with Him and all who gather in the name of His Son.”
Paul’s directives to the Corinthians don’t make sense when viewed in the context of typical practice. He told the Corinthians, “So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for each other. If anyone is hungry, he should eat at home, so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment” (1 Cor. 11:33-34).
Communion is about being with other believers. Consideration for others is so important that if you have individual needs, then you should attend to them earlier so you can do what is important for the group.
Get up fifteen minutes early on a Sunday and read and pray regarding Jesus’ love before you come. Then you can enjoy the sense of “us” together before the Lord. Don’t kill community for rank individualism. Church should be more like a family reunion than a meal in a restaurant where you might know a few of the names of other diners, but everyone stays in their own little booths!
John Kenneth King