For many locales, the Holy Supper will be starting this weekend. Officers have been preparing for weeks, ribbons prepared and choir members practicing and devotional prayers are set. For those who are familiar with this occasion, they make the necessary preparations; they try to find out the schedule as early as possible, months in advance for some, to be able to make their requests in their place of work. Some take a week off, use their holiday or earned personal time off so that they will not be hindered in attending the week-long devotional prayers and any scheduled practices of deacons and deaconesses. It is a very arduous preparation but officers exert great effort because they know this is one of the most sacred events in the life of a member of the INC. This was what we were taught the moment we were baptised.
What I am quite shocked at is to read about all these brethren who are quite upset because their Holy Supper schedules have been suddenly adjusted to make way for the Pastoral Visit of the Executive Minister. So what should have been a time of solemn preparation and meditation, many are now in a struggle to adjust their days off, switch with co-workers and hear all kinds of complaints from their employers who also now have to make adjustments to their requests.
What the present Administration does not seem to “get” is that life in the western world works a bit different that in the Far East. This is not to say that brethren in the West are more concerned with their jobs nor are they more materialistic. It is just a fact of life. One cannot simply say I am not coming in and expect to have a job the next day. There is a lot of give and take when it comes to getting days off and holidays. Companies don’t care if you have Holy Supper or whatever; if you are required to work, you had better be there. Can we simply follow the advice that we quit and find another job? We can. But then how shall we give Offerings (which is quite a “prerequisite” these days) if we are unemployed? Plus, why put the unnecessary burden on brethren when all these things can be done in an orderly way like it was previously done? Now everything is rushed; last minute and done in a stressful manner.
Think about this for a moment; when there was a great disagreement between the Jews and Gentiles regarding circumcision, didn’t the Apostles make a decision to maintain the unity? Part of that decision is this: “The Holy Spirit and we have agreed not to place any additional burdens on you. Do only what is necessary”
My point is why put additional burden and stress on brethren when things can be done in an orderly fashion? Like what the Apostles said, “do only what is necessary”. Is it necessary to abruptly change the scheduled Holy Supper for a Pastoral Visit or Chapel Dedication? Wasn’t the Pastoral Visit scheduled ahead of time? Wasn’t the Chapel Dedication planned ahead of time? Is it an emergency?? Couldn’t the District and locales have been informed months ahead that everything could be planned? So why is that when it is Holy Supper, everything is like… SURPRISE!! WE’RE COMING!! Aren’t we taught by the Bible: “Everything must be done in a proper and orderly way”? What happened to that? How can everything be done in an orderly way if it is last minute? How can it be proper if everything is re-arranged days before the planned event?
Don’t let me get started on the Centennial Celebration fiasco. Was the 100th Anniversary also a surprise? Wasn’t that supposed to have been planned years in advance? What happened? The disorderliness in the Tabernacle alone is a story on its own. So many from outside the Philippines were upset with the nonsense of the Arena seating nonsense. Many will attest to this and can tell of the many horror stories they went through trying to get to the Arena, but I will spare you of living through that nightmare again. But there is the point again, why are these events so disorderly these days? Why are chapel dedications such a spectacular mess? Probably many regular brethren do not always see it but i’m sure the officers have their own experiences of last minute preparations of their dedications. Aren’t these things planned ahead of time? The Bible simply says: “Depend on the Lord in whatever you do. Then your plans will succeed.” Do they still depend on Him?
Anyway, while some of you are still having flashbacks of your Centennial nightmare, let me steer you back to the topic, Holy Supper. Before partaking Holy Supper, all we ask for is to give us the time for our preparations. Allow us to have the solemnity and peace of mind that when the day Holy Supper comes, we can truly partake of the blessings. Didn’t the Lord Jesus teach us to prepare for this? Please allow us to fulfill this. Don’t just suddenly show up. This time is for the Lord Jesus Christ, not for the Executive Minister. As the Apostles taught:
“For I received from the Lord the teaching that I passed on to you: that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took a piece of bread, gave thanks to God, broke it, and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you. Do this in memory of me.” In the same way, after the supper he took the cup and said, “This cup is God’s new covenant, sealed with
my blood. Whenever you drink it, do so in memory of me.’”
I want to partake with a heart without anger or offense. I want to partake of blessings and I want to be forgiven. I know I have my sins. We all do. Let’s hope that we can still receive blessings.
One final note; it has been almost a year since the last Holy Supper. For some, they will not be allowed to partake this year. I have friends who were expelled. I will not forget them. I will include them in my prayer when I partake of the Holy Supper. Let’s all pray that this nightmare comes to an end and if the Lord wills, we can all be together again in the next Holy Supper. As the Apostles said in 1 Corinthians 11:33:
“So then, my brothers and sisters, when you gather to eat, you should all eat together.”