Dear First Pres,
Over the last several weeks there have been a lot of “firsts” in our congregation – first online-only worship, first virtual lawn hangout, first Zoom Session meeting, first virtual prayer gathering, etc. Well, this coming Sunday is another first for us: first “shelter in place” communion service. I will be leading you to participate in the Lord’s Supper in your home.
Here’s how I suggest you prepare: gather your own elements in your home and arrange them in the place where you worship. If you don’t have the traditional elements, that’s okay. Find something in your cupboards that comes close.
Remember, as Protestants, we understand the bread and the wine to be symbols of an unseen reality. The significance of the Lord’s Supper is found not in the bread and cup themselves, but (1) in the way they point to the sacrificial saving death of Jesus Christ and (2) in the nourishing work of the Holy Spirit to increase our faith through them. That means we do not believe that bread and wine/juice are strictly necessary for the sacrament to be meaningful or legitimate.
So, how do you decide what to use if you don’t have bread and juice or wine? Ask yourself what are the things you have on hand, one thing to eat and another thing to drink, that suggest a body offered in your place and blood poured out as a sacrifice, and use those. Remember, it’s the symbolism and God’s work through it, not the object itself, that is important.
Finally, I want you to act on the basis of your conscience in this. If this is something that you don’t feel comfortable doing this way, that’s okay. You can simply receive the gift of the sacrament in your heart, and look forward to the day when we’ll be gathered around the Table together in person. I pray it comes soon.