This weekend I attended a church gathering and they had what they called a Mime Communion service. The two persons that were giving communion were dressed entirely in black with black hoods and their faces painted white with a black tear drop from one eye, she held a loaf of bread wrapped as The Infant Jesus and he stabbed the bread and the (wine) blood went somehow into a special cross on what was to be the alter, then they served communion(I would not receive it). I am 61 yrs. old and have never in my life time seen such a thing. I am so confused, if this is Godly where in scripture can I find it?
Let’s answer the easy part first: it’s not in Scripture.
The second easiest part to answer is to identify what is clearly unBiblical AND wrong, thus having no part of any Christian assembly of Believers:
· The infant Jesus being stabbed and bleeding onto an altar
· Black hoods, painted faces, bread wrapped in baby clothes, special crosses for drama skits or miming
Now some may criticize me at this point saying that drama falls into the realm of liberty and I will allow that this point is my own opinion. So let me explain it.
While some may exclude “drama” in the Believers assembly at all, this is without Scriptural prohibition. “Ah yes,” some will answer, “we do not have Scriptural permission for it either! We are SILENT where the Bible is silent”.
The same folks will turn right around and defend the use of legions of things that we do not have Scriptural permission for justifying each by saying that it is either a “help”, “means to an end” or “helping fulfill a command”. However, the list is quite lengthy to defend: musical instruments, song books, sound systems, dedicated edifices, paid pastoral staff, professional speakers and leaders, multimedia, pews, Sunday schools, seminaries, preaching schools, pulpits, etc. We tend to defend those things we are used to, comfortable with or desensitized too, while quickly pointing out the “obvious wrongness” of anything we don’t regularly experience or practice.
Even the ritualistic nature of our modern “Communion” is not Scriptural, much to the chagrin of most Christians. Originally it was a full meal of joyful fellowship, not a somber, symbolic ritual.
You cannot categorically dismiss “drama” as unscriptural and call our modern “Lord’s Supper” observance a “liberty” (because we have changed it to be more convenient for us? Or simply because of religious tradition?). If we want to use the “by specific permission only” argument, then we need to do away with little pieces of broken unleavened bread, little plastic cups of grape juice, communion tables, silver serving dishes, ritualistic routine and rote prayers to accompany it, paid leaders or clergy to administer it and the very buildings we have built to accommodate the entire process.
We either have liberty, or we don’t. Most people only want the liberty THEY are comfortable with, and point out how clearly wrong the rest is. MY liberty is okay. YOUR liberty is unScriptural.
To say that “drama”, in total, is categorically unscriptural and prohibited in the Believers assembly, is speaking where God hasn’t spoke. However, the absence of prohibition must certainly not be the definitive requirement for what we can and cannot do… or we might as well play football and “bingo for Jesus” too.
As with all things “Christian” that are not specifically clarified in Scripture, we exercise prayerful discernment, principle and maturity. So when considering something like drama, we ask ourselves if it is decent and orderly? (1 Cor 14:40); is it violating specific Scriptural command or direction?; does it cause confusion? (1 Cor 14:33); is it edifying? (Eph 4:12); does it glorify Christ? (1 Cor 6:20); is it a overtly worldly? (Rom 12:2).
I’m sure there are other questions as well, but those are off the top of my head. In this case of “mime communion” I can see where several principles are violated: it is confusing simply because parts of it are unbiblical and simply human invention; it doesn’t seem very orderly and decent given the imagery of stabbing a swaddled loaf of bread; it certainly appears very worldly minded with its artistic license and use of the spectacular.
I personally enjoy a good Christian dramatic presentation. I’ve seen wonderful presentations of Bible stories, dramatic readings of Paul’s letters… even dramas about the resurrection. All were decent, edifying and clearly glorified God in their presentation, in the assembly of Believers.
Besides the obvious errors in this “mimed communion”, I personally do not think we have the liberty to “monkey around” with something the Lord established in a prescribed manner. I’m not sure there is anything to “mime” about the Lord’s Supper.
The Lord’s Supper is pretty clearly set out as far as the manner of it… but having said that, we have stretched the original version to it’s outer limits in my opinion by transforming a joyous meal of memorial fellowship into a somber, symbolic ritual. I don’t think an unscriptural dramatic miming and stabbing a loaf of bread is the answer; however, we should do a lot of thinking about our “traditional ritual” too.
So perhaps we ought to next look at the hypocrisy of condemning one aberration of the original, while participating willfully in another… hmmm.
I think you showed discernment and courage in not participating since it violated your conscience. Would that more people heeded the Scriptural warning to not participate in an “unworthy manner” (1 Corinthians 11:29).
What are your thoughts and questions about the Lord’s Supper, this “mime” version, and our current traditional version?