The Lord's Supper: All Five Senses Should Be Involved
"Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to His disciples, saying, 'Take and eat; this is My body.' Then He took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, 'Drink from it, all of you. This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in My Father's kingdom'" (Matthew 26:29).
On the night of Jesus' arrest, He instituted the Lord's Supper. He took bread and broke it telling His disciples that it was His body broken for them. Then He took the wine and said it was his blood shed for the remission of sin. And then He commanded the disciples to do so in remembrance of Him until He returns.
Every Christian all of the world knows about Holy Communion or the Lord's Supper. And just as many have participated in that ordinance at some time.
There is much to be said about the Lord's Supper, but this article will only address how the five senses are involved in the Lord's Supper.
The preaching of God's word should come first before the communion is served; that is, if we are to follow the pattern that Jesus outlined. Jesus and His disciples had eaten a complete meal. We know this as the Last Supper. It was only after the meal was eaten did Jesus turn to His disciples and instituted the Lord's Supper. Therefore, we should get the meal (the preached word) in our churches first before we get the communion. By doing so, we will be able to understand and appreciate what that ordinance is all about. That's why it is called the Word and Sacrament rather than the Sacrament and the Word.
The bread and wine should be visible during the service. It is more effective if people could see the elements during the entire service.
Unfortunately, the table is covered with a white tablecloth in most traditional churches. And it is only uncovered when it is time for the elements to be served.
Why are the elements covered with a white tablecloth?
Tradition has it that in the "olden days" country churches would leave their doors and windows open because there was no air conditioning. Flies and other insects would come in and land on the elements. The women in the churches suggested covering the table with a white table cloth and they would take turns bringing in a clean one each Communion Sunday. This gave the little old ladies something meaningful to do and it kept the flies off the elements.
Now that we no longer have to keep the windows and doors open for air, the white tablecloth is unnecessary but the tradition still lingers in the traditional churches, but not in some churches.
The elements on the table should be seen and not covered up! Also, the lights should not be dimmed during this celebration.
You might be wondering to yourself, how can you hear the bread and wine during the Lord's Supper.
The person who is instituting the Lord's Supper holds up the goblet containing the wine high in the air for all to see. Then he pours the wine into another goblet just for the demonstration. The gurgling sound of the wine being poured can be heard even by the person in the back pew during this sacred and holy act.
We know that in churches today, the elements have already been prepared beforehand. Keep in mind, however, that I said this was a demonstration for the hearing of the wine as it was been poured. This is done to satisfy the sense of hearing even though the elements have been prepared in advance.
You can smell the fresh bread that was baked for the specific purpose of Holy Communion. Again, a long time ago, the little ladies in the church took turns and looked forward to baking the bread for Holy Communion.
Everyone who entered the church could smell the bread during the service. Also, people would be able to smell the wine.
People have often asked about recovered alcoholics or those who didn't want wine. In a case like this, grape juice is also available. That too has a scent that satisfies the sense of smell during Holy Communion.
When you eat the bread no matter what kind of bread it is, you will taste it. Even though churches today use all kinds of bread (wafers, crackers, white bread, etc.) I prefer the loaf. Why? The point of Holy Communion is that all Christians all over the world are eating from that one loaf. It is not just for the few people in your church or in your city, but Christians all over the world who are eating from that broken loaf. It is hard to visualize that if you are eating from that one little piece of cracker.
The bread should be touched. There is no way to get it into your mouth without touching it. Some preachers break the bread and places into the person's hand. For sanitary reasons, that doesn't happen too much anymore. Today a plate is passed and people take their own elements.
This article was about the five senses that should involved in Holy Communion. See how many senses you use the next time you partake of Holy Communion in your church or place of worship.