OceanSide church of Christ
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SINGING DURING THE LORD’S SUPPER
Victor M. Eskew
Worshiping God involves the mind of man. As man turns toward God, his thoughts must be fully engaged in paying homage to his Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer, and Judge. Jesus taught that the true worshipper “shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him” (John 4:23). The spirit of man must be intentionally focused upon each act of worship in order for worship to be acceptable to God. Paul stated it thusly: “What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also” (I Cor. 14:15).
It is the “attention of the mind” that will not allow two items of worship to be conducted at the same time. One cannot sing while he eats the bread and drinks the fruit of the vine. In like manner, he cannot eat of the unleavened bread and drink the cup of the Lord and sing at the same time. Since the two items cannot be done at the same time by the worshippers, why do congregations try to mix the two items of worship? If the two could be done simultaneously, why not mix prayer with the Lord’s Supper or teaching with the Lord’s Supper?
Worshiping God is a serious matter. God wants our actions to be right and our hearts attuned to Him as we approach Him. He wants all to be done “decently and in order” (I Cor. 14:40). “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints” (I Cor. 14:34). When two acts of worship are conducted at the same time, chaos erupts as each worshipper stops one act of worship in mid-stream to engage in another act of worship. In essence, the worshipper must stop singing when he receives the bread, then he must partake of the bread, and then find his proper place within the song to begin singing once again. He may have missed three or four phrases of the song before he returns to singing. One wonders what God thinks about such broken praise. Is it a unified effort offered by the church? Or, is it just a string of broken phrases offered by each individual worshipper? This much is certain: Whatever phrases were not sung were not offered to God with the mind fully attuned to that segment of the worship.
Each act of worship stands alone. When we sing, we all should sing. When we pray, all should be engaged in the words of the prayer. When the Lord’s Supper is distributed, all members should be unified in that act. “For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread” (I Cor. 10:17). The same holds true when we listen to the sermon and give of our means.
The primary purpose of two acts of worship being conducted together at the same time is to appeal to the emotions of the audience. “The flesh” gets an emotional charge as a song is sung about Calvary during the Lord’s Supper. However, worship is not about the worshipper’s emotional state. It is about offering the proper sacrifice in the proper way to the God of heaven. To do this acceptably, our mind must be fully engrossed in the act of worship offered to God. Let’s do this one act of worship at a time with our whole heart.