This weekend went very well. I did not have internet and so I could not post about it. Saturday was another catch up day for me. I know I am becoming more and more acclimated to the culture because my body is wanting to stay up later and later. I was up past 11:15 for the first time in two weeks on Friday night! This coupled with an Advil PM because of a headache and I was out till 8:30 Saturday. This also was the first time since the first couple of nights that I was able to sleep for more than 8 hours. PTL. Everything went well Saturday, but my real joy came that night. For the first time in two weeks I had a “Bible college” kind of discussion with a pastor friend here. In other words, I was able to use those churchy words for the first time in quite some time and was even challenged a little in my understanding of a matter. This led to good discussion between two Christian brothers.
Sunday morning I did not actually know where I was going to preach. I simply knew that I would be preaching somewhere. There was some confusion on there part as to where it was I was going. Ended up, I stayed on campus and preached to the same folks I did the first Sunday I was here. It went well. The worship was uplifting and they even took up an offering for a certain missionary as well as the church offering. I believe I am getting better at preaching through an interpreter because the message seemed to be better received this time around. Maybe they just like me better now, who knows:) I noticed from the beginning of the service that a communion table had been set up. This got me excited because I was curious how they practiced Communion. In many ways it was similar to how I have always practiced it. Yet, in several other ways this time of Communion seemed very different.
First of all there were no “silver trays” to be passed around. When the minister at the front had poured the “wine,” he motioned to the men first to come down and eat the bread. I went with my pastor friend to the front of the congregation where we knelt down and put our hands out in front of us. The minister then took the bread (which was actually bread and not those chip things that we get served in the states…) and gave one chunk to each of us. After a personal prayer you then ate it. I cheated and prayed with my eyes open because I did not want to be the last one to go lol. Then the minister grabbed the very similar plastic, short cups and gave one of those to each of us. This whole time we are knelt before the altar and the women/girls behind us are singing the same hymn over and over. After you pray and drink, you are supposed to get up and return to your seat. Then the women did the same. After all this was through, a prayer was said and everyone got up to leave.
I had questions tho. Many to be in fact. The biggest one tho was why did not everyone, or at least every believer that I knew was a believer, partake in the Lord’s Supper? For when the guys got up to participate, the college age guys (all are saved) did not get up with us. The same with the women. Only a handful of them went to the front. It was then that I learned about the Rules for Communion. As with Baptist tradition, one must be baptized in order to be a member of the church. Where they split ways with what I have always believed is that they (IGL) require membership in order to take Communion. This sounds like it makes sense to an extent until you know their rules for membership. The most glaring rule that must be met in order to be baptized here on campus is that a new believer must convert a lost person and bring them into the church. This means they are not baptized until someone comes forward on their behalf to receive Christ.
My immediate reaction was noting that this is an unbiblical practice. I do not believe you will find this modeled in the New Testament. For this reason I do not believe I will be implementing this practice in the church I serve one day. Laying aside this tho (if you can), what an amazing practice. Jesus calls us to bear fruit and what better way to capture this thought than to make fruit necessary for membership! It bothered me that other believers did not participate in the Lord’s Supper; but if I were in their shoes I believe it would bother me even more not to. Maybe this practice would light a fire under someone’s feet and encourage them to go out and share the word of God with their friends who do not know Jesus?!?! Don’t have any lost friends? Go out and find some!!!
I do not believe meeting and worshiping God with other believers will ever get old to me. Even when you do not understand the words they are singing.
btw, I believe there have been one or two more girls who have placed their lives in Jesus’ hands since my last post at FBC MH. I don’t know what is going on there, but please keep it up!!!! I cannot wait to leave for Mobile on July 11th for MFuge. I believe God is going to knock down some walls in student’s hearts as they experience the thrill of serving others wholeheartedly!!
Keep praying, keep digging, keep serving