“Communion Nazi”

soup-nazi

If you watched much TV in the 90s you have definitely seen your fair share of Jerry, George, Kramer, and Elaine on the hit show Seinfeld. In one of my favorite episodes, a new soup restaurant opens up a few blocks down from the apartment. Everyone raves about it, and the line is continually out the door with people flocking to get a taste of this soup. The catch however, is the grouchy yet epically mustached restaurant owner. Depending on his mood or feelings toward you, he will deny you access to his food with an exclamatory “NO SOUP FOR YOU!” He particularly does not like Elaine, and to Jerry’s amusement, always greets Elaine with a loud “NO SOUP FOR YOU!” and a point out the door. He becomes labeled as the “soup Nazi”.

Now switch gears with me for a moment, different situation with a common theme. I have occupied a pew, chair, bench, or blanket in all sorts of Christian churches throughout my life: Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Nazarene, Non-denominational, Presbyterian, Church of Christ, etc, etc. A common piece of worship is the Lord’s Supper, also known as the Eucharist or Holy Communion. The following is a scenario that I have heard in multiple churches on a variety of occasions that I find extremely disturbing.

{pastor takes stage holding bread and juice}
“The Lord’s Supper is symbolic of the sacrifice made by Jesus Christ when he died for our sins. We invite you to join us as we participate in that truth today. (Now the disturbing part) You may NOT take communion with us today if you are not a believer, if you heart is not right with God, or if you are not in good standing with your local church. However, we encourage you to seek the truth of Jesus in your own life.”

So hold on a minute… the local pastor has the right to deny someone participation in the worshipful act that symbolizes the saving grace of Jesus Christ? I feel like im standing in line at the soup restaurant about to experience what I have heard is the greatest soup of all time, but instead I hear a resounding “NO SOUP FOR YOU!” “NO COMMUNION FOR YOU YOUNG MAN!” “YOU ARE NOT IN GOOD STANDING WITH THE LOCAL CHURCH!”

Hmm what if Jesus made the same exclusion when he ate with the disciples at the first communion? “I’m sorry Judas, but you are not in good standing with your local temple, you cannot eat with us today.” Jesus instead offered his body and blood to the very man who he knew would betray him, so who are we to be the judge of who can and cannot partake of the Lord’s Supper? Communion is a time when the church embodies the heart of the Gospel and it means to truly be Christian. John Wesley liked to say that the Lord’s Supper is a “converting ordinance”, and is a grace that should be experienced often and by all to remind us of how much we need Jesus.

Don’t be a communion Nazi. Don’t pick people out of the line who do not fall under your criteria and deny them the meal. Because unlike other meals, this meal promise us to never hunger or thirst again.

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1 Response to “Communion Nazi”

  1. Yori says:

    Well said, Daniel!

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