Explain what you’re doing

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve never understood why it is that people waiting on the Lord’s table assume everybody knows everything they’re doing.

I’ve seen this many times: those to serve the Lord’s supper meander up to the table, stand there for about three seconds. Then one takes the bread and starts praying. After the congregation is served, another does the same thing with the fruit-of-the-vine.

But not one of them ever says why they’re serving people the bread or the grape juice. I know why they do it like that. It’s because they do the same thing every Sunday and since no one ever suffers correction for doing it like that, they all do it the same way.

The problem is, if that’s truly the reason, doing everything the same way just to get it done violates the point of worship. Worship must have devotion. The very word “worship” in the New Testament, “proskuneo,” is a word that literally means, “to kiss the hand.” It is the act of bowing in humble adoration and dedication to God.

The apostle Paul wrote, “I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding,” (1 Corinthians 14:15 NKJV). Prayer and singing are acts of worship; therefore worship includes understanding what you’re doing. 

So, why is it that people get up, go to the table and never explain why they’re doing what they’re doing? Because to them, it’s all about rote, mindless, expressionless work. Is that what worship is supposed to be? Of course, it isn’t. Is it right for us to offer God meaningless acts of automatic action? Of course, it isn’t.

So why are people doing it? Shouldn’t we explain what we’re doing and why? Someone might need to know!

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2 thoughts on “Explain what you’re doing

  1. I believe a much more beneficial way to handle that situation would be to announce at the beginning or the end of the services that if any one has any questions about what was said or done to simply ask someone. I have used this method multiple times when I knew we had visitors not familiar with the church.

    For what’s it worth, I don’t believe the church is under any obligation to the world to explain “every detail” of what we’re doing during worship. If such were the case we would have to make sure, every time, that everyone understood that communion is not transubstantiational, a closed communion, etc. Decently and in order yes, but that is different from explaining everything to everyone during worship.

    Also, our prayer can, and should, easily convey the point and purpose of what we’re doing as the church when it comes to giving thanks for what it means to partake of the supper.

    Not hardly a pet peeve of mine, but at times the “rigidness” of explaining everything that we do during worship bothers me. For example, feeling compelled to say “separate and apart from” every time between communion and the offering even though every present is a Christian.

    Have a great brother. Appreciate you sharing your thoughts.

  2. Thanks for reading, and thanks for the comment. I understand and agree with much of what you wrote. I have served churches in which there was a reading of scripture and a short explanation of the Lord’s Supper. I’m not advocating that we “explain ‘every detail’ of what we’re doing during worship.” I just think we might help people understand what’s happening because they might not understand. You and I know that most folks won’t ask for an explanation after the services. I agree with the idea that some brothers use the “separate and apart” thing before the offering, but that’s not really an explanation of what’s happening.

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