I asked a number of people how they prefer to take Communion:
- Prefer for the people go forward and to be served Communion by the clergy.
- Preferred that the Communion elements are passed around by the congregation, who remain seated.
I must say I go with the majority here, even though in my church we pass it around. Here are my reasons, which I’ve listed in no particular order:
- Communion is a communal meal (hence the name), but passing it around makes it private.
- Passing around the Communion cannot have been the practice of the ancient church, since pews were not invented until right before the Reformation, and then only in the west.
- When Communion is passed around, the people are supposed to serve each other, but in fact, they just pass it around.
- In order to drink out of those little cups, you have to jerk your head back, which can be painful. Maybe it’s just me, but it looks disconcertingly like people taking a shot of whisky in a bar.
- Elderly people and the very young have difficulty passing the bulky Communion trays and using the little cups.
- Most of Communion is spent waiting for other people to do things. Having the congregation get up and walk around gives them something to do.
- Having the congregation get up and walk around keeps them from falling into the role of audience, it stretches their legs, and makes it easier for them to sit through parts of the service where they are passive.
- Having the congregation go forward means there are fewer things to clean upafterwards.
Jeff Keith wrote:
The main reason I personally prefer to go forward on communion is that it reaffirms my commitment to Jesus. Almost a mini-altar call that forces me to confess and rededicate my life. Going forward becomes for me that public declaration that just doesn’t happen when the elements are passed around.