We used Wine

wineSome debates continue which should have been laid to rest centuries ago.  For example, at the Communion Table, should we use actual wine or not? (no disrespect intended to traditions which continue to debate this issue).

I also understand the wisdom for an alternative to recovering alcoholics who come to the Lord’s Table.

When I realized that I had no grape juice for Communion, I went to my Roman Catholic colleague for wine (he had used it the week before when I had used grape juice).

Before I administered the cup, I notified those in attendance that it was real wine.  But what difference does it make, whether wine or grape juice, as long as when we eat the bread and drink the cup, we are proclaiming the Lord’s death until he returns?

From my perspective, as a Southern Baptist, it absolutely makes no difference, as long as we receive the elements by faith, as though eating the body and drinking the blood of our Lord Jesus.

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6 Responses to We used Wine

  1. Colin Heath says:

    I guess that the wine Jesus used was real wine. But then the bread he used was unleavened in whatever format was normal at the time, and probably not readily in the suppliers today. The modern Matzos sold in our supermarkets is more like a water biscuit than any kind of bread. The rubric of Cranmer’s BCP sets out that to avoid (reduce?) superstition, ordinary bread such as is normally eaten shall suffice. But it does not forbid other kinds. Which implicitly allows, I guess, the use in many Parishes since the Oxford Movement of those little wafers as sort of unleavened. Though they bear no resemblance to 1st century AD unleavened bread.
    Recognising a responsibility to recovering alcoholics we did switch to a non alcoholic wine for a trial – and decided not to tell anyone. However the one we used was rather sweet and there were unfavourable remarks. We have switched back but always have a chalice of non alcoholic available for any who want it – we do have a small number no one has asked us for gluten free wafers yet – though they are available.

    So to be honest I agree with your stance. It in no way belittles or destroys the sacrament whatever form of bread we use or if we use non alcoholic grape juice. WE receive “by faith with thanksgiving” to quote the BCP again.

  2. nwroadrat says:

    I pray it was a good vintage, and not Boone’s Farm! (-:

  3. David Loving says:

    I would add to Colin’s comment above that there can be a very practical dimension to the choice. For those offer us in the Episcopal, Catholic, and Lutheran traditions, where everyone drinks from one common cup, as opposed to the individual cups used in Baptist churches of my youth. When everyone’s drinking from the same chalice, it is almost essential to use a relatively strong wine (my church uses a port) because the combination of alcohol and acidity works as a germicide.

  4. TC Robinson says:

    Colin: I admire the balance of your gathering. Once again, the BCP proves its worth. I’m surprised that the bread has never been debated as much as the wine/grape-debate.

    Steve: I really can’t remember the brand. 😦

    David: While I admire the one common cup tradition, it’s not for me. No wonder I’m a Baptist. 😉

  5. Colin Heath says:

    My younger brother – a Baptist Minister here in the UK – once told me he liked our use of the chalice because it spoke more of the common cup, and was perhaps closer to what Jesus was doing. As a non theological side issue, I suffer from significant Essential Tremor and personally have real difficulty with those little individual thimbles our local Baptists, Methodists, and others use. At least I do not as a rule have to handle the chalice.

    • TC Robinson says:

      For sure, anything point to a common cup would be a powerful symbolism. But you’re correct, it’s a non-theological issue (though a minority I know of uses it as a test of fellowship).

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