One of the most disruptive things to me about COVID -19 has been the Lord ’s Supper. For more than forty years, I’ve had a structured meditation for the Lord ’s Supper. There are reflections while I’m eating the bread and another series of thoughts for the fruit of the vine.
During the year, we’ve visited other churches that use the individual packages with the bread and fruit of the vine. In many of those, the one presiding provided very little time for thinking: “Do this in remembrance of me” (1 Corinthians 11:24).
The most extreme case: a brother led the prayer for the bread. I ’d already pulled the seal for that. I started to pull the seal from the fruit of the vine. Before I ’d finished that brief task, he was praying before taking the fruit of the vine. Before I had swallowed the fruit of the vine, he was asking the Lord to bless us as we gave of what we ’d prospered.
I appreciate the brother ’s willingness to serve. Maybe this was the first time. Perhaps he was nervous and wanted to get through quickly. But I wouldn’t want that every Sunday.
Suggestions for presiding at the Lord ’s Supper during COVID
- Have appropriate thoughts to lead us into what we ’re doing.
- Lead prayer for eating the bread. Following Jesus’ example, try “giving thanks” for the bread and fruit of the vine. There are many things about the Lord for which we can be thankful: His body, His blood, His willingness to come to earth, His willingness to die, and His resurrection.
- Lead the congregation in remembering. That ’ll take more than two seconds. Consider being seated, thinking, and remembering.
- Lead the prayer for the fruit of the vine, giving thanks.
- Return to your seat and reflect on what you ’re doing for a reasonable time.
For some people, being quiet in public is more uncomfortable than speaking in public. But I don ’t know any other way to do what Jesus told us to do without taking time to think — to remember.
– Jerrie Barber