What do a pita chip, goldfish cracker and flour tortilla have in common? All have been used for communion during this COVID-19 pandemic. That’s right, the traditional wafer and grape juice used in our communion services have been supplanted during this time of unusual events. For most people the choice of something different is out of necessity due to quarantine. This is not exactly something new.
During WWII English prisoners of war in Japanese prison camps used grains of rice and water. Vietnam soldiers used moldy bread crusts and water. The poor in Poland used potatoes for a period of time because there was no bread. The examples go on varying by circumstances.
Years ago while at a retreat with about 50 students we were in a very serious moment and planning on communion when the organizer apologized she had left he communion wafers and juice at home. Adapting on the fly we used sugar cookies and fruit punch. Later, some of the parents were critical of our choice, feeling it was disrespectful to our Lord. They had not been at the retreat nor seen the response of the students as they were contemplating what the Lord had done for them — taking the emblems in remembrance.
I believe there is something supernatural that occurs when we participate in communion, whether in a group or by ourselves. Communion brings connection to our Lord. It focuses our hearts and minds on Jesus and brings us into complete unity with Him. When we take communion, we are recognizing the power of what Jesus did when He died on the cross. We are acknowledging His supernatural work and honoring who He is in our lives. We are saying, “I believe” with our actions.
While I like to follow the tradition of unleavened bread and the fruit of the vine, I strongly believe the items we use for remembering Christ are far less important than the act. Some disagree. I also do not believe you need a clergy to serve the communion. Christ Jesus’ words were “Do this to remember me.” He didn’t mention doing this at corporate worship though I think it is appropriate. His command is to each of us, individually and corporately.
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians that its import to take communion serious and not abuse it. When we take it in “an unworthy manner” (notice the worthy part is not ours but the manner including lack of self examination) we bring judgement on ourselves.
So its not the elements that hold the power but the faith you have in Jesus and your submission to His lordship. Your obedience to His Word that says, “Do this in remembrance.” proclaims the Lord’s death until He comes back for us.
So just for fun, respond back either in the comments or on facebook, what have you used for communion during this quarantine period? I suspect we have had some strange combinations because we didn’t have what we normally use.
Continue remembering, continue proclaiming!