the weblog of Alan Knox

What did I learn in church about the Lord’s Supper?

Posted by on Dec 14, 2006 in ordinances/sacraments | 9 comments

After writing my previous post, I began to think about what I learned about the church as I was growing up “in” church. I thought this would make an interesting series. I don’t know how may posts there will be, or how often they will come along. Perhaps other people will offer topic suggestions in the comments.

So, what did I learn in church about the Lord’s Supper? I remember being a young boy and watching the Lord’s Supper with awe and wonder. I learned quite a bit about it actually. First, I learned that there are seven required elements for the Lord’s Supper.

Element #1: Welch’s Grape Juice. Every Lord’s Supper must include Welch’s Grape Juice. There is something special about this juice, apparently. I think Mr. Welch must have been at the Last Supper…

Element #2: Chicklet-Sized Pieces of Styrofoam (I mean, bread). Those little things are remarkable! I’ve always wanted to see what I could do with one of those pieces of bread and a slingshot…

Element #3: Thimble-Sized Plastic Cups. It never occurred to me to ask where Jesus got the little cups for the Last Supper. Perhaps one of the Mary’s brought them…

Element #4: That Amazing Shiny Tray with Holes for the Thimble-Sized Plastic Cups. Wow! Have you ever seen anything so beautiful! It’s like a flattened soldier’s helmet that has been riddled by a machine gun…

Element #5: A Shiny Frisbee to Hold the Chicklet-Sized Pieces of Styrofoam. Again, I always wondered if I could throw it all the way up into the choir loft.

Element #6: A Table with the Words “Do This in Remembrance of Me.” This table always sits up front, just under the pulpit. I was never sure which was holier. I think maybe the table, because we only used it once every three months…. except to hold a pot of flowers given in memory of …

Element #7: A White Table Cloth to Cover Everything. I wondered how long the junior deacons had to practice folding that table cloth just right. I mean, most of them usually sat on the first row and watched the two deacons who were the best folders do their thing.

Okay, so perhaps some of these observations were skewed based of the fact that I was a young boy and thinking about things that young boys think about… like soldiers… and frisbees… and sling shots. But, besides learning about the elements, I also learned a few rules about the Lord’s Supper.

Rule #1: Don’t Spill the Grape Juice! And I mean it!

Rule #2: The Lord Supper should be performed once every three months. I’ve mentioned this already in reference to the holy table. I think there was something extra special about months with 5 Sundays, because on that fifth Sunday we not only had the Lord’s Supper, we also got a break from listening to the preacher at night: that’s when we had the “hymn sing”.

Rule #3: Don’t Talk! shhhhhh… Don’t make me take you out of here.

Rule #4: Don’t move your hand toward either of the shiny plates unless you had been baptized. Seriously, that made me want to get baptized. I mean, how am I going to try out my sling shot if I can never get my hands on one of those little pieces of styrofoam?

Rule #5: Don’t Spill the Grape Juice! And I mean it!

Rule #6: Only take one piece of styrofoam and one cup of Welch’s Grape juice. It doesn’t matter how hungry you are…

Rule #7: Wait until the preacher stops talking before you eat or drink. Again, it doesn’t matter how hungry you are…

Rule #8: Don’t Spill the Grape Juice! And I mean it!

Rule #9: Don’t swish the Grape Juice in your mouth, or gag on the piece of styrofoam. Yeah, I was right… it is styrofoam.

Rule #10: When you are finished with the little plastic cup, put it in the little plastic cup holder. Oooohhhh… so that’s what those little holes in the back of the pew are for.
So, as you can see, I learned much about the Lord’s Supper while I was growing up. In fact, when I started reading the Bible for myself… hey!… that stuff’s not in there…

I hope you realize that this is all “tongue-in-cheek”. I am not trying to make fun of the way people practice the Lord’s Supper. I am hoping that you are asking the following questions: 1) What do I think about the Lord’s Supper? and 2) What am I teaching others about the Lord’s Supper?


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 12-14-2006

    As always, sarcasm goes straight to my heart. Thanks for the great post Alan…oops…does anyone know how to clean up some grape juice?

  2. 12-15-2006

    Alan –

    Due to your advanced age, I’m sure that when you were a kid they had the little glass cups instead of the plastic cups … remember? BTW – have you ever seen the little dish brushes that used to come with the glass cups to help wash them … those things were so cute.

    I learned that the deacons, all dressed in suits, were the only ones who could serve the Lord’s Supper and that the pastor was supposed to serve the deacons.

  3. 12-15-2006


    I’m glad that my sarcasm touched you.


    Leaving my age out of the conversation… I don’t remember the glass cups. I’m sure that they had them, but I don’t remember them. I do remember the deacons dressed in suits, but that happened every Sunday. One thing did change: I think they smoked special cigarettes on the Sundays that they served the Lord’s Supper.


  4. 12-15-2006


    Great post. You describe Lord’s Supper observance at the church I serve spot on, even down to folding the sparkling white tablecloth.

    And btw, the little plastic cup holders are more accurately termed “pew silencers.”

    I don’t know what it means either. ;-)


  5. 12-15-2006


    Pew silencers? I don’t think I’ve ever heard the little pew holes called that. I’m not sure what scares me most: that they are called “pew silencers” or that they have a name at all.

    Thanks for visiting again. Your new wordpress site looks great!


  6. 12-15-2006


    oops… sorry about the “wordpress” comment. That was someone else’s wordpress site.


  7. 4-12-2011

    I thought the guy standing at the front on the stage was the pew silencer. Whaddaya know, learn something new everyday! Lol.

  8. 4-12-2011


    Like you, I also learned that “that stuff’s not in there.” However, I didn’t learn that part until much later. But when I did learn it, it raised a very important question for me:


    We in our fellowship have given a lot of thought to this and other questions like it. Why do we do what we do? I suspect it has to do with little more than tradition; much of which we likely carried over with us from the pre-reformation age. But again, if it’s not in the Word, then why do it?

    When I reflect on these things that we do simply because of traditions, I’m always reminded of Jesus’ words in Matthew 15:3, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?” Have we done that? Have we actually broken some of God’s commands through the observation of some of our church traditions? I hope not, but I do sometimes wonder about these things. Jesus is pretty stern about this when He calls such people “hypocrites!”(Mt 15:7). I don’t ever want to be called that by my Lord!

    For us, the Lord’s Supper has once again become just that; a meal (supper) shared with brothers and sisters in the Lord. In our situation it probably looks more like a potluck. We like eating together. There is something very special about sharing a meal, not just a wafer and thimble of juice.

    As for the frequency, we probably do so every 3 or 4 weeks. No real reason for that, other than wanting to include as many as possible who sometimes have to work Sunday’s. If none of us worked Sunday’s, we might even do so weekly.

    Paul says in Colossians 2:8, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.”

    Traditions don’t have to be wrong, but they aren’t necessarily right either. It’s important to prayerfully reflect from time to time on these things that we do and why we do them. The Lord’s Supper was originally a full meal, not a wafer or little cube of bread. But let each judge for themselves.

    What is God saying to you and me (and to each of us) about the things we DO in the name of our Christianity? Do you have peace with it? Great. If not, then why not? If not, then what are you going to do about it?

    Have a great and blessed day.

  9. 4-12-2011


    Thanks for the comment. I like this: “Traditions don’t have to be wrong, but they aren’t necessarily right either.” I like that you brought in Colossians as well, because we just finished studying Colossians. Tradition can always be helpful, as long as that tradition does not hinder us from trusting only Christ and following him.