Q. I was shocked when we sang “Happy Birthday” to someone after a recent Breaking of Bread. Isn’t this out of order?
A. We differ as individuals and also as Fellowships. Some Assemblies are more formal than others and some things done in some places may be different, but not necessarily wrong.
It is true that our prime purpose for the Breaking of Bread is to “remember the Lord” and “show forth His death.” If we lose focus of the Lord and His Table, that would be a sad day indeed. How could we ever make light of so great a sacrifice He made for us and our salvation? Yet each time we Break Bread it is uniquely different too. At times were are overwhelmed with joy and victory while, on other occasions the Holy Spirit leads us to reflect on Jesus’ deep suffering and the seriousness of our sinfulness. We can never develop a formula for the Breaking of Bread and need to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit as He guides us as it pleases the Father’s heart.
Generally we pray for the sick at the end of the meeting so as not to lose focus on the Table. Yet the Spirit sometimes prevails upon us to do that at the beginning so that the sufferers may know their relief from anxiety and pain and so much the more enter into worship.
Finally, since each Assembly is a Family, it need not be out of order to honour someone’s birthday at the end of the meeting. Two factors can guide you here; firstly, does the occurrence detract from Jesus’ place amongst you? Secondly, let your oversight brethren guide you as you open your heart to them.