HomeUncategorizedOPINION: Two Baptists, a Church of Christ, and a Methodist

OPINION: Two Baptists, a Church of Christ, and a Methodist

By Todd E. Brady

Guest columnist

We walked into church to arrange furniture so we could have a funeral. The family and friends had not arrived yet.  We were an hour early.  The casket was going front and center with flower arrangements on each side.  The registry book had been placed in the foyer so that attendees could record their attendance.

To get things set up, we had to move the church’s Communion Table up to the platform.  We were told it was heavy.  Real heavy.  So, the four men grabbed the corners of the Table and heaved it up the steps.  During the grunting and as our faces turned red, a thought occurred to me.  My friend and I had one side of the Table.  We are Baptists.  The two men on the other side of the Table represented other denominations.  One is Church of Christ.  The other is Methodist.

Our different denominational affiliations were not lost on me.  This looked like a joke in the making—”Two Baptists, a Church of Christ, and a Methodist walk into a funeral.…”

Among us, there are certainly theological and ecclesiastical differences.  Even among my fellow Baptist and me there are differences of opinion.  Baptists and Methodists dance to different music.  (Wait, Baptists don’t dance…at least not very well.)  Some Church of Christ churches do not use instrumentation in their music.  Some Baptist churches I’ve been in need to turn down the volume of their instruments so you can actually hear yourself sing.

Sure, there are differences among us.  There are thick books with small writing out there that delineate all the differences among denominations .  There are distinctions concerning particular beliefs and practices.  Too often, though, we obsess about those differences, and such a focus keeps us apart and prevents us from working together.

At the Methodist church that day, we were lifting the “Communion Table.”  Down the street, we call it the “Lord’s Supper Table.”  Regardless of what we call it and regardless of what each of us believes is taking place during Communion/Lord’s Supper service, the two Baptists, the Church of Christ, and the Methodist were all in agreement that God sent Jesus into the world, that Jesus died—giving his body and shedding his blood for sins, and that we are right with God not because of what we have done for Him but because of what He has done for us.

Stuart Townend wrote a Communion hymn.  The song says, “Behold the Lamb who bears our sins away, slain for us: and we remember:  The promise made that all who come in faith find forgiveness at the cross.  So we share in this Bread of life, and we drink of His Sacrifice, as a sign of our bonds of peace around the table of the King.”

The picture in my mind of the little interdenominational-Communion-Table-hoisting that day causes me to be more grateful for what God has done through Christ.  It also is a reminder to me that more than whatever differences there may be, I have more in common with my Church of Christ and Methodist brothers and sisters.

Like that Communion Table that day, instead of putting down, we need more working together to lift up.

Todd E. Brady is vice president for university ministries at Union University. Write to him at 1050 Union University Drive, Jackson TN 38305.

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