Bread and Wine and the Internet

Someone asked a question of me recently. It was this, how is it possible for Christians to have a relationship with the historical figure of Jesus Christ? I think it was an excellent question. The questioner was seeking to understand the kind of relationship that Christians claim to have with this amazing person. Yet are Christians any different from Elvis fans who believe that the spirit of Elvis lives on. What is the difference between Elvis impersonators and Christians who claim to be imitating Jesus Christ? I would seek to answer that comparison by suggesting that few Elvis fans believe that Elvis is actually alive although I know some do. The main difference is that you can go to Graceland and see where the body of elvis has been buried. When you look at at the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ there is only an empty grave. Christians believe we can have a relationship with Jesus because he rose from the dead. The first thing I would like to suggest is that we can have a relationship with Jesus Christ because of three things. Firstly we believe that the Holy Spirit of God enables men and women to encounter the presence of Christ in their lives. Secondly, we believe that the Bible is an inspirational book that the Holy Spirit uses to help people figure out the truth about God. The third thing is that we believe the presence of Christ is encountered through the bread and the wine that we receive when we share together in the Lord's Supper. This evening we had 24 people participatng in our informal communion service 16 of these people we're all looking in on the internet. We invited those at home or where ever they were to engage with us in our service. Afterwards we had a time of sharing with those who had participated on the internet. There are some who no doubt will del this is an inappropriate way to celebrate the occasion. However i for one would like to hear from some of you felt free to engage with the service over the internet.I'd like to know how it felt for you and if you felt drawn to participate and if so why. lets see if we can establish a dialogue about the place of communion in the life of the believer. Over to you what do you think?

Posted By: Helmut   On: 17 Oct 2011   At: 7:28pm

Sorry, Mike, to my reading it really came across like that, second language… On the back burner I might have been thinking of German television church services of which I know first hand that they are being tailored on the fly to fit the schedule, meaning that from one moment to the next the Lord’s Prayer might be cancelled. Since learning about those procedures I have never watched TV church services any more feeling they are more about show than a wholehearted service, apart from being a different church every sunday.  What I like about St Andrew’s is that if you are starting late, well, your start late, if it takes longer, you take your time, but you would not dream of chopping of bits here and there. Same congregation every sunday, but always with a difference.

At some other time I wrote that being with St Andrew’s has also brought about a very much increased activity at our local church. Also, I quite often have benefitted from both worlds - one church shedding light on something I had not quite understood at the other place.


Posted By: Mike Munro   On: 17 Oct 2011   At: 6:56pm

I wasn’t trying to compare a church service with watching a game of football, and sincerely hope that is not how it comes across. If able, worshipping in community ie attending church, should always be first option. Much of the troubles in our land stem from having turned our backs on God, even to the extent of worshipping other gods.


Posted By: Helmut   On: 17 Oct 2011   At: 4:03pm

When learning English, to the constant horror of the novices there are “false friends”, words that look alike but have rather different meanings in the languages concerned. “Imitating” Jesus Christ does have a rather different ring to it in German, a certain whiff of the derogatory. Well, it made me think twice, certainly not to my disadvantage. Same thing with the “inspirational” book, an expression that with me tends to ring the esoteric alarm bell (or klaxon?). And this is just from modern English to modern German.-

I think I can understand Mike Munro’s feelings, and I value him the more as I know that for him the spiritual gap must be much wider than for me who I am neither from the Highlands nor from some religiously stricter region of Germany.

When you started the message board alongside services I was really worried as I was expecting instant trolling (i.e., rude, off topic, whatever… postings). That has not happened. Therefore, we may safely assume members of the internet congregation to be there for honest reasons, not for entertainment, trolling, or just the tickle. They will participate in communion for honest reasons, whatever they might be.

In my experience, online communion does work, and, rather surprisingly, I know when not to take online communion, the least of reasons being me being fairly absentminded, not fully there. I once took Replay communion because I needed it, but I would not make a habit of it.

It is not like being there, but certainly not like watching something on television.

Gerry on the live message board gave the example of prisoners having communion without bread and wine or anything at all. His example runs along the same lines: You would not usually do it like that, but it is all right if you do, and better than doing nothing at all.

Personally I like a nice Sunday outing, but detest Sunday trading. Sport is a difficult matter. It used to be companionship and exercise, with Sunday often being the only day you could do it anyway, but often has turned into commerce (sports on the telly) or some sort of “must” - e.g. kids being rushed from one tournament to the next, and from experience of years past I should say, no companionship there.


Posted By: Mike Munro   On: 17 Oct 2011   At: 11:49am

For me internet services are excellent for those who are unable to be at the service, for whatever reason, but personally I feel it can be compared with watching a football game on television, it’s not the same as being there.

It also seems to me that the Lord’s Day is now only observed till noon, then we slip back into the ways of the world. I have always believed that the church should have been more vociferous in objecting to Sunday trading and sport and are paying the price now. My Highland upbringing meant the whole Sabbath day was recognised and nothing has changed that, let’s get back to that.

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