Zoomunion: To Share or not to Share


Those who joined for today’s Zoom meeting will have noticed we shared the Lord’s Supper afterwards rather than in the middle. This was so those who did not wish to take part could leave without missing the main body of worship. Some of us have read Dr Brian Borgman’s article in this week’s Evangelical Times entitled Why We Don’t Celebrate the Lord’s Supper until We are Together. He argues that sharing the bread and wine is essentially a social act, the Body of Christ sharing together the body of Christ. I’ll confess to feeling a little silly leading online communion that first time on Good Friday, especially as I was using orange squash, having none of the red stuff. We would not usually sit on our own and take the bread and wine, neither would we normally include this in family worship or private devotions. It is a solely church-based activity and cannot therefore take place via video conferencing, he argues. He notes the sadness of not being able to share this ordinance but looks forward to the churches’ reopening and the communion once more being shared. I suspect that passing round a plate of bread may be not be possible even when we do gather together and packed lunch-style communion may be expected.

I think he has a valid point. I’m not going to stop the practice at our meetings though I may have thought twice back in March when we first attempted it. Yet his article raises a number of further questions:


We evangelicals generally value preaching more than the communion ritual, important though it is. A number of times this quarter I have preached into my mobile phone for uploading or into a laptop screen. Am I really preaching to every creature if I’m the only one actually present? Does the electronic transmission of my voice diminish the value of the sermon, as opposed to merely using a microphone within a room of people? Presumably not.


When we pray, we often quote Matthew 18 which teaches that where two or three are gathered for prayer, Christ is particularly present with them. May we infer than heaven does not recognise the electronic prayer meeting nor regard its contents because we are not physically together? Hopefully not.


The Corinthian Church in 1:16:19-20 receives greetings from the unnamed church with which Paul was then worshipping (probably Ephesus):  The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Priscilla greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house. All the brethren greet you.

Not only are these greetings transmitted via pen and ink, they come through a third party, and not directly from the Ephesians themselves. Does this make them any less valid? Might a Corinthian have pulled a face, saying that such greetings were not truly valid as social salutations must be delivered in a social setting? Can we fellowship with those with whom we can not share space?

So the question is whether the sharing of communion is markedly different. I do accept the essence of Dr Borgman’s argument, but another may take it to the extreme and dispense with church altogether until the chapel doors are unlocked. Ideally, we would share communion in the same room. Also ideally, we would hear a sermon together, shake hands together, pray together, talk together, all in the same physical location. Yet this is not an ideal siutuation we are in. For those who cannot share communion until we gather properly as a church, there is now one more exciting prospect to anticipate when all this nonsense is over. And for those who can take it now, may it bless you and remind you of Christ’s sacrifice, His return and our status as His body on earth.

 Top image by Marek Studzinski from Pixabay