I have a very serious question. In some of your answers to others, you have pointed out that to have a worship service alone on Sunday at home is not really what is acceptable, except for when we choose to worship God by ourselves at other times during the week. This is according to Paul when he is talking about the weekly worship service.
The section I am referring to came from someone asking about if they could just worship at home, instead of going to the place designated as the gathering place to worship.
My point though goes a little further. I am wondering if I can worship at home due to the fact that I can not always go out. Sometimes I am sick, sometimes I am not physically and mentally able to deal with the outside world beyond my home.
I am doing counseling with a non-member who is a state employee, but I am also doing counseling, and developing a relationship with another person, who is a preacher of the Bible, and his wife. Many years ago they were my foster parents, and we have just recently made contact again. They are working with me as a friend now and a sister in Christ. But this is all being done long-distance, through e-mail and regular mail.
They have written that while they are in services on Sunday, they will be thinking of me as they expect me to be studying and worshiping at the same time. Now, my question is this: Can I do the communion, the Lord's Supper, by myself here at home kind of like a 'long-distance' type of worship? It would be done on Sunday, hopefully, at the same time, they are doing this.
I hope I am making myself clear. I have no intention of doing something wrong or doing it just because I am lazy and don't want to go out. However, there is also no congregation anywhere close to me. So, I really am alone here. And I am a woman. Can I do this, or not? I know Paul says this is done on the first day of the week, Sunday, and done when the people come together to worship. But I have no one to gather with, except over the Internet.
If this is possible, then what would I use? I can get grape juice, but where would I get the unleavened bread? Are crackers suitable? Plain and unsalted?
Please advise me. I am not going to do any of this until I know for sure what is right. I have not posed this question to my friends yet, as they are elderly and sometimes they are ill too. This illness thing is a problem with us.
But we want to worship together, and for now, it seems the only way is through technology. I know God doesn't mind the technology part, but He does care about worship being done His way.
As stated before, there are aspects of worship that can be done individually, such as praying and reading God's word. But some aspects of worship can only be done as a group because the significance of the action is the fact that it is a group activity.
The Lord's Supper is a pledge of fellowship. "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread" (I Corinthians 10:16-17). Sharing can't be done when there is no one with whom to share (commune). That is why Paul stated the Corinthians were supposed to come together in one place to partake of the Lord's Supper (I Corinthians 11:20).
Even other aspects of worship require coming together. In discussing how worship is to be conducted, Paul stated that "the whole church comes together in one place" (I Corinthians 14:23). There is a reason for this command. Consider the songs that we sing. "Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord" (Ephesians 5:19). Our worship in song is directed to God, but it is also directed toward each other. Worship is for God, but God doesn't need our worship. It is not as if He can't get along without our feeble attempts. But God does command us to worship Him because we need it. "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching" (Hebrews 10:23-25).
Technology cannot substitute for one-on-one interaction between people who share a common belief and truly care for one another. Yes, there will be times when illness will prevent a Christian from going to worship service, but that doesn't mean we should seek to make that the rule in our life. Even in your case, where you have difficulty interacting with others, the best thing that you can do for yourself is to make yourself go even when you don't feel like it. Any competent therapist will tell a depressed person that when they don't feel like getting out of bed, the best thing to do is to get up anyway. The reason is that when you do the proper thing anyway, despite your feelings, your feelings are dragged kicking and screaming along behind you -- that is, they are changed. Many people over the years have told me, "I didn't really feel like going to worship today, but I knew I had to. But now I'm glad I did. Just being with you folks recharged my batteries, and I didn't even know they were low!"
Find the nearest congregation and resolve to go every week that you are physically able. Meanwhile, start talking to friends and neighbors about the Lord and see if you can't get a Bible study group going in your neighborhood. Wouldn't it be nice to have people gathered around your kitchen table to talk about the Bible? It is by the efforts of each individual Christian that the message of the Lord is spread through the world.