There are some things I liked better about my old church over my current one. Not much, the preaching was an abomination, but some things. One thing in particular that sticks out to me, however, was the Lord’s supper, also known as communion. I never participated in my old church because I wasn’t baptized and I technically wasn’t a member, but the way they did always seemed a little more proper. Before I continue, I want to state that I can find nothing theologically wrong with the way my church does the Lord’s supper, I just like the way my old ELCA church did it a little better.
The church I attend is probably quite like yours when it comes to communion. When you receive the body of Christ, you are fed a tiny round piece of flat bread. When you receive his blood, you probably have the choice of taking from the cup or “doing a shot” as I jokingly refer to it. It’s truly an incredible experience and blessing to be a part of this each Sunday, but a part of me (probably from personal opinions mostly) prefers a slightly different method.
Common bread: Over at the ELCA church I attended, something that stood out as powerful was when it came time to show the bread. My pastor then did not have a wafer but instead a small loaf of bread. I always suspected they made it at the church because it was a tiny thing and didn’t look terribly professional. And when he announced the breaking of the bread, he would break the loaf in two. Up until this point, it’s all just visual effects that play on emotions really, but it was when he fed the body of Christ that I always found so incredible. He would hold half the loaf in one hand and break off a tiny piece and feed it to the communicant with the other. That part always struck me as deeply symbolic. Everybody is eating a piece of the same loaf, IE, everyone is partaking in the same body. I’m not saying that by eating the wafer we are all eating from a different body. Not at all. But physically seeing it all come from the same bread, piece by piece, wow, that’s powerful. I’ve always wondered how the ELCA could show so much reverence in their liturgy and Holy communion, but totally collapse in the sermon and basic theology.
Common Cup: I can understand that there are a plethora of reasons for not drinking from the same cup as everyone else, so I’m not going to get into that. I’ll just get into the reason why I feel we should. “In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”” Jesus gave the cup to his disciples to drink. Not cups, but cup. This is how it was instituted by God. Do I feel the little “shot glasses” are not valid? By no means. The Lord’s Word is present in the wine given at the altar, regardless of the vessel we put it in. But do I feel it diminishes, even if only symbolically, the importance of the Lord’s supper? I must say that I do. Here’s a great resource that delves into it much better than I ever could.
Again, what I have to say may just be my own opinion, but I feel they’re something important to think about.