I have been writing a series of blogs about Communion. I talked about WHAT IS COMMUNION and WHAT HAPPENS DURING COMMUNION. I also blogged about HOW IT IS SERVED. I did a blog about WHY I AM NOT DOING COMMUNION BY INTINCTION ANYMORE. In my last blog I gave SEVEN GREAT IMAGES FOR COMMUNION. In my next blog I will give seven specific ways I have tried to enliven communion. Here I just want to list some general tips for making communion more meaningful.
Use different names- If you call it communion, then explain the other terms and use them. Serve Eucharist or the Lord’s Supper next time. This will help take people off of automatic pilot and get them thinking.
Use different images- Communion is not just one image or metaphor. It is loaded with different aspects, images, and thoughts. Don’t get in the habit of saying the same think every time you do it.
Decorate the table- The table itself provides lots of opportunities for imagery and creativity. The experience automatically changes if the table is covered in flowers. One time I preached about Daniel in the lion’s den. When people came forward, the table was covered in plastic lions. I read about a sermon that talked about Christ being our safety and security. The image they used was of a kid’s blanket. The table was decorated in children’s blankets. I even think the table can change. What happens if the table is actually a door set up like a table?
Flow from the sermon right into communion- In most of our services the sermon is set up to be the highlight and communion is a response. But what if we reorient the service so that the sacrament is the highlight and the sermon is part of the sacrament. I have even preached from the communion table.
Build an action into coming to the table- Have people pick something up or lay something down on the way to communion. Have them write sins on rice paper and dissolve the paper in water on the way to the table.
World Communion Sunday– This is becoming one of my favorite Sundays of the year. I have ANOTHER BLOG with ideas on making this day special. We normally serve lots of different colors, textures, and shapes of breads to represent world Christianity.
Do bread together and juice separately- I really like this imagery. I ask people to hold the bread so that we take it together as one body and remember that God saves us corporately. I then ask people to take the juice individually when they get it. Here they are asked to reflect on Christ’s saving work for them personally.
Serve on mirrors- I love the imagery of the sacrament being a reflection of Christ and that we are in some way “lifted up” into His presence. Mirrors help show that.
Have people stand around the table- We have done this a few times in my church and people always find it very special. We have everybody come up and crowd around the table. We then take the elements and pass them around as a family would. I realize not every church can do this, but this is one that small churches need to try. I also recommend have some chairs or the first pew available for those with mobility issues.
What other things do you do to liven up communion?