Monday, April 4, 2016

Image result for ame communion service

The sacrament of communion is observed the first Sunday of every month Protestant/Denominational Christian churches,  I will share with my memories, my learning and my own ideas of what communion would be like in my 'church,' if I had one.

Everybody dresses in a certain type of outfit for communion: White [I think of it as a costume]. The adult women wear white inside-out, head-to-toe, even their earrings. I know because I've seen it and—yes—I have even done it myself. There is an altar or table on the floor right in front of the pulpit, covered in white. The males in leadership wear their absolute best black suit and white gloves.

Why does everybody have to wear white?

In spite of all the time I spent in the seminary listening to people talk about these things, I still don't know. I believe it to be--I would suspect it to be--that the purpose of communion is to rededicate and reconsecrate oneself to Jesus Christ. In order to do this one must be as pure--or at least present themselves--as possible. Jesus probably knows just how pure anyone is at any time. I doubt it matters to Jesus what anybody wears. They don’t look at this way in Protestant churches; certainly not. I can only speak of African-American denominations, because these I know--right well.
So, communion service is added after the regular service, most often. Regular service by itself is long enough but after communion, it can add another hour to hour and a half depending on the size of the congregation to be served.
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This is How We Do It!

How is communion served?

There are several options. Sometimes the ushers bring the ‘wine and bread/body and blood’ to the congregation. What actually is served to the congregation is grape juice and Wafers. Some congregations use crumbled up saltine crackers, depending on size and affluence of the congregation.

Why Every First Sunday?

Again, I don’t know. I have no idea. The more I thought about it, the more I decided it was a very ghastly thing to do. Drink the blood and eat the flesh of another? Especially one who has ‘saved’ you? No. It’s not the same as eating a piece of chicken.

My Memories 

The male ushers walk down between the pews carrying the little metal container with the little teeny tiny quarter ounce cups of grape juice. The females come out to the other side with the plate of Wafers or crumpled up saltine crackers. They pass their trays from one end of the pew to the other. Each person takes a little teeny tiny cup and passes the metal tray to the person beside them. Then, each person takes a wafer or a piece of saltine crackers and passes it to the person beside them.
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The Body and The Blood
The second way to do it is for everybody to line up and walk down to the front of the church to a person with the same trays. This way, people just walk down there; get what they need and keep walking. It appears to be a little bit faster.

As these Retire, let Others Come

The final--and surely, longest way--is for congregants to walk down to the altar. They kneel and the presiding Pastor reads a certain scripture. It is necessary to wait until everybody leaves before more people can come so they don't have to do it but once for each group of people. Many churches have altars in the front around the pulpit. This should give you an idea of what we would be doing today if I were a traditional ‘Christian-believing’ preacher but I'm not.

My Gathering

When I accepted the call to Ministry, I knew I would offer and alternative. I am not a Pulpit preacher; I don’t want a congregation and I absolutely will not wear white clothes every Sunday to administer a thing called communion. I did, however, think that at some point I would love to have a congregation. My congregation wouldn't be what we think of as congregations. It wouldn't be a group of deacons and deaconesses, the choir and the mothers’ board, the missions board and all that.

We would just be a group of people gathered to learn an alternative way of looking at what we believe. I have offer an alternative way of learning; an alternative route from what we believe to what we know. I am convinced that once you know something, you don't have to believe [or defend] it anymore. I knew my background and Alternative Health and Wellness would put me slightly aside from the center of anything like a pulpit preacher.

My vision for my church Gathering Room is something like a 1960s coffee shop. We would have had sofas and chairs and small tables throughout the room. A person could sip tea as we talked. Then there would be a section over in the corner for young children to play on the floor with the puzzles or coloring books.

The Opening Song

Don’t get me wrong, my southern African-American upbringing would require a hymn every once in a while. Somehow, however, ‘Blowing In The Wind’ by Stevie Wonder came to my mind first. At some point, I would double back and do a music service, where we simply sing and exegete the hymns and other texts.

You would never hear me preach about sin and salvation. I indeed use the scriptures and many other sacred texts. My communion service would be a non-caffeinated Tea with crumpets.

Our gathering time would be Sunday morning or afternoon. Who knows, it might even be a day other than Sunday.  I wouldn't even force it to be Sunday at 11. Keep an eye open, it could happen any time!

We really need to look into those white costumes, and a whole lot more.

Summary of my blogtalkradio show.

SandraTeresa Davenport | The Health Reverend

Honey Bear in a Cup!

1 comment:

  1. I was at this place last week. This is such a joy as a place for food! I had a beautiful time here. It reminded me of another event space Chicago. A beautiful, wonderful place that had excellent atmosphere.


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