This past Sunday, our pastor did a “Cannon Sunday” service.
I’d never heard the term before, but apparently it refers to the Sunday between Christmas and New Year’s, during which attendance is traditionally so low that you could fire a cannon over the pews and not hit anyone.
So, no formal sermon, no choir, the normal music director wasn’t the one playing the organ.
Figures that it would be a pretty heavy attendance that day.
But, that’s not my point. I’m going tangential on you. Point is that instead of a sermon, the pastor answered questions handed in from the congregation and randomly selected from the pile. Sort of a town-hall style sermon.
One of those questions wasn’t really a question, and it went something like this:
I am so offended by the image of those railroad nails being driven through Jesus’ hands and feet that I cannot get past the the pain and suffering and refuse to partake of the Lord’s Supper.
I don’t get this. The pastor, for his part, deftly honored the person’s question instead of calling him or her out as a flaming dipwad, and mentioned how it shows sensitivity and compassion to so hate the image of crucifixion and the suffering it entailed.
Now, I can get down with that point, of course. We rarely spend enough time truly understanding and appreciating how much Jesus suffered. This wasn’t some simple execution and not some simple form of torture. Crucifixion remains one of the most excruciating and prolonged methods of killing a person that there is.
That said, the person who handed in the question is still a flaming dipwad.
Sorry if that seems harsh. But it’s how I feel. Honestly.
Because, you see, before he died, Jesus told us to remember him through the Lord’s Supper. Or rather, our imitation of it. Our symbolic representation of it. He called upon us to break bread in his memory, as a remembrance of his soon-to-be-broken body, and to eat that bread as a symbol of taking him into our lives. And we were to drink wine in the same manner as a remembrance of the blood he was shedding as part of the new covenant with God.
He exhorted us to take that bread during worship. It is one of the ways we honor Jesus.
To refuse to take Communion, Eucharist, the Lord’s Supper—whatever you call it in your Christian denomination or specific church—is a kind of insult, I think. To say that you are so offended by the crucifixion of our savior that you cannot honor what amounted to his dying request…well, it is silliness at best, and ignorant at worst.
Remember that Jesus paid the price for us. He suffered for us. He told us we would often suffer in his name, but we never have to suffer as much as he did. Nothing we can go through can equal the crucifixion plus bearing all of our sins and having his own heavenly father have to turn His back and cut off the connection between them for a time.
The least we can do is eat a piece of bread without getting caught up in some overblown and, to me, somewhat insincere indignation over what he suffered.
Jesus knew what he was getting into. Let’s respect that, not put such a sharp focus on his suffering that we lose sight of what he wants us to do. And to feel. And to be.