January 20, 2017

Individual Cups on the Table

I’m told the congregation was formed about 1911. It was the result of instrumental music being brought into the local “Christian Church.” Some of my relatives had been charter members. Now several decades later I was preaching there two Sundays per month.

I understand that from the beginning, the Lord’s supper had been served using two silver plates, a silver pitcher and two silver goblets. Since the fruit of the vine started out in one silver pitcher, some in the church thought that made them “scriptural one cuppers.” Now after many, many years some were clamoring for individual drinking cups on the Lord’s table.

It was rather interesting to watch as the single goblet was passed down each side of the auditorium. Being more mind- ful of sanitary conditions than their forefathers, as each person took the goblet, he or she would turn it just slightly before sipping, in a vain attempt to find a clean spot.

More and more the elders were urged to get the individual cups. This was an especially tough decision for the oldest of the elders. You see, one of his granddaughters had married a man with strong convictions that the “one cup” was a matter of faith. He had long declared that the day individual cups came in, would be the day he and his family would leave. Of course the old brother hated to think that his decision would cause his granddaughter and several great-grandchildren to go elsewhere. But finally, at the insistence of the other elders, a new communion set was ordered with two trays of individual cups.

Then the fateful day arrived! Someone — I suspect one of the other elders, came early and set up the communion with the two trays of individual drinking cups. What would happen?

Shortly before time for the service to begin, the “one cupper” with his wife and children came in. It was a cold day and in those days no one had a coat room. Coats, hats, and mittens were just removed and stacked neatly on the bench beside each family. With this large family of three or four children, it took some time to remove all the coats and get everyone settled. All eyes were on them as the other members awaited the outcome. And then it happened! The man caught sight of the trays on the communion table. And true to his word, after a brief conference with his wife, they begin to hurriedly jerk the coats and hats back on and with a child under each arm they stormed out of the building to never return.

The old elder was bitterly saddened; but the rest of the congregation heaved a sigh of relief that an obstacle that had been there for years had finally been overcome. The individual cups were on the Lord’s table to stay. And so it is till this day!

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