By Eleanor Kreider

With liveliness and intensity, Eleanor Kreider encourages church buildings to rediscover the biblical and theological topics which formed early Christian Lord's Supper practices. Renewed communion is a key to renewal, witness, and important worship, she says.

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How did the Christians adapt the pattern? A private home was the usual venue for a banquet, though a public building such as a temple complex also provided banqueting rooms. The dining room would be specially decorated and carefully furnished because this was the room where guests were received and the host's hospitality judged. All banquets had common features. For example, invitations were sent out. Guests reclined in twos on couches (people were ranked around the room according to social status).

The enormous symbolic power in the table, with its rituals of hospitality, conviviality, blessing, and shared food might once again enable congregations corporately and radically to imitate Christ and to be more attractively recognized as his very own people. What might happen if churches tried to restore some of the ethos and spiritual qualities as well as economic practicalities of the early Christian communities? Communion services could be marked by joyful thanksgiving, by an unaffected simplicity of domestic relaxedness, by open and generous hospitality.

And the flesh of others who do not have food is being injured because of insufficient food. " 4 Let us imagine. If Paul had had reason to commend the Corinthian church about their celebration of the Lord's Supper, what might he have said? What would have been good qualities of their fellowship with its memorial rituals? Surely the hallmark would have been above all that the presence of Jesus, the Just One, was honored. The generosity of their sharing would have reflected the mercy and kindness of God.

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