When you gave those examples, it did put a smile on my face. I apologise but it is the slight sarcasm involved which is to be blamed for the light heartedness.
I completely agree with you on the point on what you mentioned in the first paragraph. The only thing which I would add is that, people should not treat it with too much significance. I mean, who should and who could. Then we end up becoming no different from the Catholic or Priestly denomination. proclaiming then, we are all one in Christ by anyone who sits in the ‘high places’ becomes hypocritical.
People today, lay a lot of emphasis on these things which can become ritualistic. It is because if it is ritual, we are happy to do it, then we don’t feel obligated to do the rest.
Let me give you an example, When I was in my last year of Sunday school which was in 1997. I was baptised by then and was doing my own individual study. This was a question I asked the ‘teacher’ on why only they do it. His answer was “Anybody can break the bread and give thanks. But I don’t do it because I don’t feel ‘eligible’”. Trust me that was one of the most confusing answer anyone can give on the topic. I was persistent and gave him references on why he shouldn’t feel ‘ineligible’. He discounted my views and said I don’t understand it now because I am not experienced with the ‘traditions’ of the church. Interestingly, he never taught Sunday school after that year.
The long suffering that one ideally would experience will come from all corners of the world. But these examples that you mentioned can be avoided, if like-minded brothers come in unity and talk to him about it. If they don’t there are other means in which the message can go through. It is not impossible. Let me put another example which I saw and was implemented in my ancestral assembly some years back.
There is the brother – elder. As you put it, loved, respected, admired etc. All the traits to identify with the elder. As one grows old, there are issues that come with it. One of it was that, being one of those ardent workers in the community, he gradually grew a little senile in his old age. On most days, he would sit and sleep in front of the assembly. Being an elder, it was very evident since they face the entire congregation. To avoid this embarrassment of people talking, one of the evangelist who actively works with tribals in the area – politely asked him with the brothers if he could avoid doing that, and if not, if he could sit in front, but in a different place. His reason was, there were a lot of people coming new to the faith from different parts of the place and the forest regions, and it was not right to set such examples. This brother instead, ended up accusing the evangelist brother of having a demon having worked in the tribal area for so long and other random accusations. Not many could fathom what happened and were not in a position to take a step against him at that point. Reason being, he came from an affluent family in the region and all his children are in the ‘US’ – so money power as well. I think after much pondering they devised a way to get the message through to him subtly. They started placing a pillow and blanket and a scriptural note with a word from the assembly on his regular seat. It went on a for few Sundays and surprisngly, he stopped sleeping on all those sundays. And then after while, it seems he relieved himself and started sitting in a different seat, but still stayed wide awake. My point is – Nothing is impossible.
Though this was not the topic. I felt I had to share this with you, so that you could see – the Lords table is about edifying, praying, learning, meditating and worshiping the Lord. If we can do that, the Lord will definitely give us the presence of mind to deal with any situation.