41—candles, table, incense, quarterly communion
NOTE: I originally wrote a segment for each of the 61 points Frank Viola and George Barna make in their book, Pagan Christianity, about traditions in the institutional church not based on scripture. After writing it, I chose to not include this segment merely as I felt that in wouldn’t be an interesting radio commentary.
My name is Tom; this is Simple Church Minute
In the early church, communion was a joyous, simple meal. Jesus introduced it at a Passover feast. Over time, from the early church, this simple mean between believers changed to a ritual, in a church building, presided over by a member of a clergy class, the leadership of which was enforced by secular law, and the meal became smaller than an hor’dourve.
During that time, it was renamed Eucharist, considered to be a symbolic reenactment of Jesus’ crucifixion, with a table called an altar, the ceremony called a sacrifice, and a mystical explanation of the bread and wine becoming Jesus’ flesh and blood upon the ceremony’s leader praying the ceremonial words.
The Reformation happened—Zwingli promoted the idea, resisted by some Reformers, of having communion four times a year, instead of every service, on the idea that it would be more meaningful if done less frequently. The altar was renamed the communion table, and was no longer the central feature of the church and service, replaced by the pastor and the sermon. Many groups eliminated using incense as part of the service. Some eliminated candles sitting on the end of the communion table, a tradition that dated back to the courts of
. Communion was taught to be a memorial. All these changes were accepted by mainline protestant churches. The ceremony was done in a solemn manner, and still quite unlike how it started, as a simple meal between believers rejoicing in the joy of salvation and a common purpose in life based on what Jesus did for mankind. Rome