Wednesday, March 26, 2008

what are the elements?

I'm making up for lost time, or lack of posts. Here goes another one.

Over at my friend's blog, we've been discussing the Lord's Supper, also called Communion or the Eucharist, depending on which theological neighborhood you call home. It's been a great discussion thread, touching on issues of sociality, loneliness, fellowship, symbolism and more. Check it out. To add to the conversation, I'd like to ask:

What are proper elements for the celebration?

Here is what the Scripture says about the institution of the Supper:

I Cor. 11:23-26
For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me." For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.


Luke 22:14-20
When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God." After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, "Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes." And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me." In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.

So, the from the start the institution of the Lord's Supper has entailed a prayer of blessing over wine and bread. If I am not mistaken, most churches for most of Christian history since that time have used as their elements some sort of fruit from the vine (juice, wine) and some sort of bread (cracker, bread cubes, etc). But not all churches, especially lately it seems. Consider this short story, written by a Reformed individual, no less, which seems to advocate (or at least okay) the use of other elements (in this case cookies and Kool aid.)

What say ye?


kate ortiz said...

i have to say i am uncomfortable using anything other than bread (of some form) or "vine juice" (again, of some form). it is a situation in scripture that is clear what was used. what would be the purpose of substituting? the story uses other elements because of a storm, high turnout, and running out of traditional bread/wine. i see some reasons for cancelling it: an unusual number of people who probably aren't christians/regular attenders, wanting to simply "serve to a large crowd, for once" is not a reason to have communion, and "fellowship" - whatever that means because they don't say - is not the reason we have communion.
very interesting. i guess i would say the burden is on the person serving kool aid and cookies to explain why what they are doing is kosher. i heard somewhere that willow creek served cocoa and marshmallows (or was it donuts?) for communion. crazy, no?
interesting story, kel. and good question.

Kelli said...

I'd heard that too, about willow creek, and when I started looking around (admittedly on the internet) couldn't find any references to it. it seems wrong to me, just outright, but then i wonder if my "conservative" tendencies/biases are driving

omie, what do you think?

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