Lord's Supper

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Ingo Breuer, Apr 24, 2003.

  1. Ingo Breuer

    Ingo Breuer
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    In the year 2000 I moved to the US from Germany and I have noticed a difference in the way the Lord's Supper is kept.
    Christians here drink it in separate little cups and separate little wafers for each church member.
    I am used to having one bread being passed around and you take off a piece or one cup passed around from which everone drinks.
    Why is that? I mean before I got saved I grew up in a Catholic area and they take these wafers for everybody during mass. Then after salvation I was used to seeing the one bread (typefying one body of Christ). At this Baptist church here in Tennessee I was appalled at first to see the return of little wafers.
    Since there are so many strict rules by the health department, I was wondering if taking the Lord's Supper from one bread and one cup would be a concern for authorities (germs, bacteria, infections ...)
    How do you keep the Lord's Supper and how often? So many churches have it only once a year and this might be my work Sunday, so I miss it and have to take it the next year. Jesus said "This do in my remembrance." If you remember something so important only once a year, then we might get very forgetful and indifferent. A precious memory comes back to our mind often and is remembered frequently. But the loving sacrifice of the Son of God is only remembered once a year? Why?

    Thanks for your replies.
     
  2. WonderingOne

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    I don't know what the reasoning is behind this difference, but I can tell you that I am personally glad we don't all drink from the same cup. I have never been able to stand the thoughts of drinking after another person. It's not the fact that their mouth is on the rim of the cup, it's the backwash.
     
  3. Johnv

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    In my church we've done it both ways. On Good Friday, we had loaves of bread. Each person took a piece of bread and dipped in into the cup.

    Typically, though, we use little cups of wine (as well as wafers). The reason for this is logistic. When the little cups are used, the bread and wine can be passed through the pews, in a fashion similar to taking an offering. In the more old-style fashion, the congregation must get up and process to receive communion.

    Biblically, there's no mandate for the method of delivery. I'm sure there are probably others that we haven't thought of, which would be perfectly appropriate.
     
  4. Haruo

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    I have never heard of a Baptist church that took communion once a year. All the Baptist churches I have attended have had monthly Communion, generally on the first Sunday of the month. (Which actually is a problem for me, since that's when the Esperanto Society usually meets.)

    I knew Appalachian Baptists often had quarterly Communion, but *annual*?? ! Maybe it's a Missionary Baptist specialty? (I'm ABC.)

    As for the bread and cup(lets), I've never attended a Baptist church that customarily used a common cup, but I've seen the bread in all forms from a loaf to break off pieces from to Goldfish crackers to the little Catholicky embossed flavorless wafers to garlic egg matzos. The only "common cup" communion I've seen in Baptist churches has been at special services (like Watchnight or Maundy Thursday) where the method has been intinction (i.e. the communicant dips her or his bread in the "wine" - this avoids problems with contagion and "backwash") but that is rare in Baptist churches in my experience. It's the norm, every week, at MCCSeattle, though. Been awhile since I've been to a Disciples' service; when I was a kid we went there once a month and my recollection is they used the same little cups and cubes of Wonder Bread that I was used to at the Baptist church we attended most other Sundays. (My dad was dually accredited by ABC and the Disciples, so we tried to keep our toes in both ponds.)

    Haruo
     
  5. Bro. James Reed

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    At my church, we have always used a "community cup." It's a glass goblet that we pass around the table...yes, we sit at a table when we take the Lord's Supper. ;) I have never caught any germs or anything from this, but I am not fearful that I will either. Of course, I might have second thoughts if someone partook who had mono or something. :eek:

    The women in our church take turns making the unleavened bread. I've never done it, but my guess is that it's just flour and water. Usually, the pastor will tear the larger "loaf" into smaller pieces as he's relating the reasoning and symbollism to us.

    We hold Communion service twice a year. I'm not sure why that is, but it seems that almost every PB church has it twice a year.

    I can see why you wouldn't want to have it weekly. After a while, it could lose it's meaning and become just another part of the church routine. I don't ever want to forget that this is something very special that Christ gave for us to do with our brethren.

    And, of course, us good ole PB's will wash each others' feet. Come to think of it, maybe that's why I don't have a problem drinking after my brethren. If I can wash their feet, surely I can drink from their cup. I really believe it helps us to feel more like a family.
     
  6. Mitsy

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    I will admit that I think the ways communion is served are about as varied as some of the other doctrinal differences between churches. I've seen it several different ways. I attended a Presbyterian communion service a couple times where the minister drank from a cup, but then had separate cups for the individuals. Grape juice was used. Each of us took a piece of the one break that was passed. I think they do this once a month at this particular church, and it was an open communion.

    At the Baptist church I was originally baptised in they served communion 4 times a year (or quarterly) but I honestly do not remember ever being there when it was served.

    The Evangelical-Free Church I was a member of served it once a month and also passed two pieces of one bread loaf and had individual grape juice cups. It was also an open communion.

    The Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod) where my Aunt attends is a closed communion (must be a member there) and you go to the front and receive the wafer. I can't recall on the wine/juice issue or if you drank from a cup or got an individual cup. Only been there once when this was done and it was long ago.

    The Christian Church - Disciples of Christ serves communion every Sunday and is open to any believer. I believe they also use individual cups with grape juice and small cracker-like wafers.

    The Primitive Baptist Church I attend now only serves communion a few times a year (perhaps quarterly as well) and is only open to members ....so I won't be partaking of it I guess. Not sure in what manner it is served.

    About the only thing I miss about the E-Free Church is that they were not discriminating about who took communion; they only asked that you be a believer in Christ, having accepted Him as personal savior. That way, more than likely, the majority would be able to participate in this part of the service. I'm fine with it being monthly or quarterly. I think every Sunday is almost too often, but to each his own.

    As far as the foot washing issue, well...I know that this was done during Jesus' time, but it still seems like a strange practice for today's society. Can't say that I would care to participate in one.
     
  7. Kiffin

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    I have never been in a Baptist Church that had common cup but I have never heard of anyone getting ill from drinking from the common cup. I know that most Protestant denominations serve communion with real wine and I wonder if the alcohol content has any effect on killing harmful germs? :confused: Just a thought.
     
  8. Kiffin

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    Interesting Article


    New report asserts common cup is safe
    Dipping can increase bacteria count in cup
    KATHY BLAIR STAFF WRITER


    Anglicans who choose to dip their bread into the common cup during the eucharist may believe they avoid sharing whatever bacteria fellow parishioners who sipped from the chalice left behind.

    That is a common misconception held by some who worry about catching colds, flu or something even worse by drinking from the cup. In fact, some styles of dipping - which is common in Episcopalian churches in the United States and becoming increasingly widespread in Canadian parishes - may even increase rather than reduce the threat of infection, says a new report, Eucharistic Practice and the Risk of Infection.

    Parishioners dipping their bread into the cup are coming into contact with the same bacteria as those who drink from it, and they often leave behind a good deal of their own from handling the bread before dipping.

    The report by Sault Ste. Marie cardiologist David Gould was to be distributed across Canada by Anglican bishops. Dr. Gould was asked to update the report he initially wrote in 1987 for the church's faith, worship and ministry committee, of which he is a member.

    Back then, the focus was on dealing with people's fear of catching AIDS from the common cup. In fact, a person with AIDS who may have a highly depressed immune system, has much more to fear from his fellow parishioners than the reverse.

    The first thing to realize, according to Dr. Gould's report, is that it appears to be remarkably difficult to contract any illness by sipping from the chalice. If that were not the case, one would expect regular reports of one disease or another rifling through a congregation. "In some 2,000 years of the practice, there's no episode that's ever been suggested to be due to the cup," Dr. Gould said in an interview.

    Similarly, priests, who tend to drink more wine from the cup than anyone else in the congregation, would be calling in sick with one illness or another all the time. The research suggests the opposite is true.

    "No episode of disease attributable to the common cup has ever been reported," Dr. Gould writes. "Thus for the average communicant it would seem that the risk of drinking from the common cup is probably less than the risk of air-borne infection in using a common building."


    Dr. Gould notes in his paper that exposure to a single virus or bacterium does not result in infection. Rather, for each disease there is a minimum number of the agent (generally in the millions) that must be transmitted before infection can occur. Experimental evidence shows that wiping the chalice with the purificator (the white linen cloth), reduces the bacterial count by 90 per cent.

    "Our defences against stray bacteria are immense and can only be overwhelmed by very large numbers of the infective agents," Dr. Gould writes. "Each infective agent has its own virulence, and each individual has his/her own 'host factors' which determine that person's susceptibility to infection. The interaction of the two determines the risk of infection for the individual."

    Thus, people with active AIDS or who are on chemotherapy, are far more prone to infection with small amounts of bacteria. "Those people conceivably could be at risk," Dr. Gould said. "But we have no proof that anyone has ever contracted anything that way."

    Other churches, notably the Roman Catholic and Lutheran churches, have also researched the issue extensively and found no problem, he said.

    It is a myth that the mouth is more dangerous than the hand, Dr. Gould said. "Medically, we know that hands are much worse transmitters of infection than lips. Our mothers always told us to wash our hands before eating, because our hands pick up germs. And they had a good reason for saying that."

    In fact, the bread is more likely to spread contagion than the cup because it is in contact with hands, Dr. Gould said.

    In order to ensure the risk of any disease transmission is as small as possible, the report offers advice to servers about proper handwashing and chalice cleaning. If dipping is used, a single person should dip the bread, taking care to avoid touching the wine with his or her fingers.


    Anglican Journal, October 2000
     
  9. Thankful

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    Personally, I would not drink from the common cup. I got ill once from the person passing out the bread. Because of this, it was difficult for me to take the Lord's Supper for awhile which was something I always had looked forward to. Actually I didn't get over the apprehension until I moved to another church.

    Our church is very careful. We use throw away plastic cups and little crackers that are not handled.

    We have the service every quarter on the fifth Sunday of the month.
     
  10. SaggyWoman

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    [​IMG] You know, if we Americans did it right and used the wine they made for communion in Ukraine, we wouldn't have to worry about "contaminated" backwash. Everything is done killed by the stout alcohol content.
     
  11. Kiffin

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    That's what I was thinking and it makes sense. [​IMG]
     
  12. Artimaeus

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    I am a Missionary Baptist from Applalachia. Around a year ago we went from every Sunday evening to once a month. I work every other Sunday and so far I have only been there on one or two of them. I prefer every Sunday. I don't get tired of it, it doesn't loose it's luster, I was as much in awe after 25 years of every Sunday as I was in the beginning. I see no reason to make it a rare event. We use individual cups and broken up unsalted crackers.
     
  13. Dr. Bob

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    We had communion on Good Friday. Each was by "family" (either genetic family or those who banded together to be a family by choice).

    Head of family poured a cup of wine for his family, and a half piece of matzoh, then took it back to his family and THEY passed it among themselves.

    Our normal (first Sunday each month) communion has little sanitary disposable cups and a dish of already-broken matzoh.

    **********
    HISTORICAL FOOTNOTE:
    The disuse of the common cup did not start out of sanitation or spreading germs. It was a black-and-white issue; no self respecting white person would drink from the same cup as a black.

    Separate bathrooms, separate drinking fountains, even separate hospitals. Communion is a BIG reason for the segregation in our churches.
     
  14. KPBAP

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    How many of your churches still uphold "closed" communion?? It was over 20 years ago I had my first experience of a fellow Baptist who said he would never participate in the Lord's Supper at a churche where he was not a member. It was also my first experience with what is called Landmarkism.
    Where did people get these ideas?????
     

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