I have been to church services who serve you Communion as well as churches that do the “self serve” style. And in neither experience did I think , “this feels forced” or “this feels unorthodox.” And yet there are a surprising number of traditionalists who are speaking out against the “self-led” style of Communion, here are just a few:
Perhaps Jesus should have had his disciples set up individual serving areas in the upper room that night before He went to the cross.I think churches who promote this individualized communion are not following the example of our Lord. Churches using this method should also consider this - is there a time in the service when the communion is explained and the attenders told who may partake of communion? After all, the communion is for believers and usually there are some non-Christians present in the service.
Why can’t they just do it the same way churches have been doing it for centuries in which the pastor or priest leads the congregation in the taking of communion? Now, maybe people want to take it in their own time at their own pace but… it feels more… appropriate?… to have the pastor lead the congregation in the prayer and scriptural readings so that what communion really is and means can be clearly defined.
Self-serve Communion feeds into the cultural misconception that “it’s all about me.” Jesus calls us to “die to ourselves.” These are competing concepts. When we instruct people to “help yourself when you feel like it,” we are implicitly teaching that faith is about me and my emotional disposition. The end of this thinking is that Jesus must fit into my plans, on my terms, and in my timing.
This Eucharist is no spectator sport. And when it comes to the distribution of the gifts of God it is clear that members of the congregation are expected to help. There are words to say in giving the bread and wine to others, and there are words to say in response. in other words, it takes a congregation to give us communion.
All in all, it was difficult to find any support for the “dine-n-dash” style or some positive theology behind it. What are your thoughts? What would you say to these critics? Do you think this form of Communion is not respectful, not worshipful etc? I’m curious.