Many rules have been developed for the Lord’s supper over the years, some applying to the participants, and some to the one presiding over it. One of the biggest interpretational mistakes the church makes is believing that one must be “worthy” (i.e. “sinless”) to participate in the Lord’s supper. This comes from taking 1 Cor 11:27 wildly out of context:
1 Corinthians 11:27 – Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
Notice the word “unworthily” has an “ly” at the end. This makes it an adverb, which modifies a verb. In other words, it is referring to the “manner” in which the Lord’s supper is observed:
1 Corinthians 11:27 – So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. (NIV)
This makes complete sense when you realize that the reason Paul penned the chapter in the first place was because the Corinthian church had turned the Lord’s supper into a common meal, even to the point of excluding people and getting drunk off the fruit of the vine (oops, did you never notice before that the fruit of the vine had to have been alcoholic in the first century?). Being unloving to your brother by withholding food from him, and getting drunk on the fruit of the vine while he has nothing is most definitely “not” participating in the Lord’s supper in a “manner” worthy of the body and blood of Jesus Christ. His point: Observe the Lord’s supper in a respectful way and make sure you are “discerning the Lord’s body,” not turning it into a common meal.
Rules for the Lord’s supper
- The person presiding over the Lord’s supper must give thanks and ask for the blessing in that order. If the thanks or blessing are not included, or spoken out of order, the supper is not acceptable and must be stopped. The prayer must be said again, correctly, prior to anyone taking the bread and grape juice.
- When breaking the bread, only one break is acceptable.
- Communion is a “closed communion.” The server must know who are members of the sect, and refuse service to any non-members and disfellowshipped individuals.
- If an off-church member baptized prior to 1975 is present, he/she may be served. I would like to know how the 1975 date was derived. I knew there was a date they used for when the so-called “off-church” “fell into apostasy” and lost the Holy Spirit (or the “candlestick” as they say), but I don’t know how Merie determined that date, or how she was so confident in it to be able to teach it publicly.
- If a non-member aggressively reaches for the Lord’s supper even though he/she is not being served, it’s better to let them have the Lord’s supper than to “make a scene.”
- If the bread accidentally falls on the ground, it can be picked up and the communion can continue with the same bread.
- Once the bread has been served and placed back on the table up front, it cannot be picked up again to serve a person that was missed. Same with the fruit of the vine.
- Servers cannot have any sin upon them which has not been “taken care of.”
- Partakers cannot have any sin upon them which has not been “taken care of.”
- If a woman cannot take the Lord’s supper because of sin, she cannot shake her head or speak to the server to refuse the bread or grape juice. She must remain still while the server holds the tray in front of her, because she can neither speak nor communicate to the server in any way that she won’t be participating.
- Any part of the Lord’s supper which is left over is considered sanctified and cannot be eaten afterwards. It must be disposed of.
- Servers must not speak too long at the Lord’s table. It is not the time for a “mini-sermon.” (That’s not making up rules at all!)
- Servers must be properly dressed in a jacket and tie.
- The bread must be wheat.
- Brethren unable to eat wheat must NOT partake of the fruit of the vine only. If you can’t do one, you can’t do both.