Instant Communion?

February 6, 2012 — 21 Comments

“Take this and eat it, for this is my body.”  These words are familiar to every Christian who will recognize them as the words that Jesus spoke as he instituted the Lord’s Supper prior to making the ultimate sacrifice for our sins.  For centuries, all around the globe, Christian’s have been partaking in the Lord’s Supper or Communion in remembrance of our Savior.  This is one of the most solemn and moving rituals that the Church practices.  As such it is usually treated with the reverence and respect that this occasion deserves.

But in our modern day society we sometimes focus on instant gratification.  When did we get so concerned about convenience that we are worried about making our observances of these sacraments quick and easy for everyone involved?  When did we relegate the observance of the Lord’s Supper to something we are supposed to do, so let’s just make it quick, simple and get it over with?

Distributed exclusively by Broadman & Holman, the Fellowship Cup is a ready to serve, prefilled communion cup; that contains 100% grape juice and an unleavened wafer under the top seal. The second seal reveals the juice.

The cup fits into standard communion cup trays and no refrigeration is needed. Cups are guaranteed fresh if used by the stamped date on the box. The “one pass” serving method allows for extra time with less trays to pass. Box of 100.

This is the description given for a product that my son found on a website selling Christian supplies.

Some of you may be startled by the fact that these cups contain grape juice, but since I was raised in a Southern Baptist Church, grape juice was, and still is, our “wine” of choice for these occasions.  But there is something else that I find more than a little disturbing about this entire product.

Now I understand that this product may have its purpose.  I understand that the convenience of having communion cups pre-filled with the wafers included may be a big help to someone who is doing missionary work and does not have access to the traditional supplies and fresh water.  What I don’t understand is the last sentence in the description.

The “one pass” serving method allows for extra time with less trays to pass.

This company is not advertising this product as a way for missionaries to hold communion when it would otherwise not be possible.  They are advertising this product as a time saver and a convenience.  To me this is advertising this product as “Communion for lazy folks, when you don’t really feel like putting in the effort to prepare communion, use our quick and easy communion kit.”

Doesn’t God deserve more than this?  When did we become so busy and so important that we cannot take the time to pass the communion plate with the wine (or grape juice)  and then come back around a second time with the bread (or wafer)?  I know that preparing the communion table takes time and that it takes effort to clean it up afterward, but isn’t this the least that we can do to remember the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for us.

He deserves more than us just “phoning in our support.”  After all, He didn’t take any shortcuts when He sacrificed Himself for our sins.  Aren’t you glad that Jesus didn’t decide that dying on the cross was just too much trouble.  He hung on the cross and endured all of the pain and suffering so that we might be cleansed of our sins.  He defeated death and arose on the third day so that we could have an everlasting life with Him.  Aren’t you glad he didn’t decide that it would be easier just to take a nap, get up in 3 hours and call it done.

Participating in Holy Communion is an honor that we should not take lightly.  We partake of the cup and the bread to remember that Jesus did not take the easy way out.  He did not take shortcuts.  Should He expect any less of us?

As a side rant:  The pricing on this product has me scratching my head as well.  On the advertised page for this product you have the option of purchasing these instant communion cups in quantities of 100, 250, or 500.  Each of these boxes are currently on sale for $24.99, $24.99 and $89.99.  So I can buy 100 for $25 or I can buy 250 for $25 or I can triple that and get 750 for $75 or I can just order the big box and get 500 for $90?  Decisions, decisions … I think I will just stick with the old fashioned way and wait for the communion plate to be passed to me, I’m really not that hungry anyway.

Are we minimizing the importance of our sacraments by making them too 21st century?


21 responses to Instant Communion?

  1. I’ve always thought of the serving as a moving part of the sacrament. This takes part of that away. Hmmm

    • I agree, it just takes the solemness out of the occasion. I have this strange picture in my head of ushers tossing these along aisles like hotdog vendors at a baseball game. Just doesn’t work for me.

  2. I can see tons of spills. they look like the jello and pudding cups with those seals. I am not old (well, to some I may be) and sometimes have trouble finding the way to open them. I can see missionaries benefiting from them. Let's hope the heat of some of their places of ministry don't turn the grape juice to the real stuff. That would be funny. But churches? how many ways can I say "joke."

    • That’s funny, I think this would have made a great episode of the Andy Griffith Show. Grape juice gets fermented in the heat, everyone in Mayberry get’s hammered from communion. In real life though…I am glad to see your comments on this. I was a tiny bit afraid that I was the only one that found this product slightly offensive.

  3. I've actually used these before, and the "loaf" taste like styrofoam… I'm right there with you that it seems like an easy way to just get communion done rather than to actually take time to reflect…

    I have seen these used in a powerful way though at a huge conference… 10,000 people taking communion at the same time, was pretty awesome, and it would have taken quite a bit for them to have plates passed, people waiting, etc. But for everyday usage… it's ridiculous

    • Thanks for the info. I would imagine that in a large conference setting that they would be handy. In fact we have had this discussion around the house the past couple of days about that exact thing. In instances like this, then it would absolutely be prohibitive to serve the traditional communion and I think that is understandable. I would like to be a part of that 10,000 taking communion at the same time though. I can imagine that it is a powerful experience.

      I would hope that most churches would take the time to properly prepare for the service, but it just got away with me that they were advertising these things as a time saver.

  4. It seems to be a good idea for larger churches, but like everyone else says, it's a matter of convenience and church really isn't meant to be a convenience. Also, consideration should be given to those who don't really have the dexterity to open these.

  5. The first time I saw these I was extremely sceptical. Having been raised as an Episcopalian they were way outside of my comfort zone, and they still aren’t anything that my church would use. However, after building two Websites for two different companies to market these products, I have to say I changed my mind.

    As Bill and Seth mentioned in their comments, missionaries and large churches, or churches hosting large events have found these products to be perfect for those situations. But another thing that we’ve seen as people purchase these products is that many times people are using them for individial Communion or home church services. In fact one of the most common requests is for quantities of less than 50.

    Tradition in the church is so important to everyone that there, of course, will be churches who never consider using these Communion wafer & juice sets (like my church). But I think anything that is bringing people together in Communion more often and easier is probably not a bad thing.

    • I have to say that since posting this, I too have realized that there is a time and place where these are useful and necessary to worship. My initial impression was that this was just packaging God to make a buck, but I have since come to realize that I was wrong with this impression.

      I do think that we sometimes trivialize the sacrament of communion and I think that there is a problem with that. However, as long as this product is used in a manner that serves God and His people in the manner that He intended then I have to approve. Like you said, there are some churches who would not ever consider them, but they do serve a need.

      Thanks for the visit and the comment.

      • Thanks Sele. You are very welcome. I very much enjoyed your latest post from today, October 10, 2012. It was very inspired and well said.

        • Thanks, I’m glad you saw today’s post. I almost emailed you and asked you to take a look but decided that maybe you would see it on your own.

  6. Dear ,
    In our modern day society we sometimes focus on instant gratification of what which is insignificant. I think its useless.

  7. Thanks, I really enjoyed this, and truly saying that i am much impressed by your tittle- christiandroid. Once again, thanks.

  8. Sports Blogger June 30, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    Sad truth that everyone is trying to do every single thing at the click of a button and in double quick time, for no apparent reason.

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