Len Sweet tweeted:
@lensweet Some churches now offer hosts that are round, triangular, square, wholemeal, white, gluten free, low fibre, etc. Eucharist in the Youniverse
Should this observation really be surprising? Think about it – if we’re going to offer a variety of “styles” of worship within a single congregation (styles = different music), then why not a variety of hosts as well? Or even a variety of methods of distribution (intinction, common cup, little plastic cups, etc.). Its a natural progression for church in the consumer-driven culture. “You can have it YOUR way in the YOU-niverse.” Like Burger King.
Let’s not forget the important fact that the Eucharist is a symbolic action. In the end, it really doesn’t matter what type of bread is being used. The bread is a symbol that is alive with meaning. It is the symbolic nature of the bread that makes it significant, not the physical nature. When we hold the bread and taste it we are invited to enter into the mystery of Christ’s body, broken for us. We also are invited to deepen our understanding and experience of fellowship with Christ through the meal. In other words, the point is not how the bread tastes or feels. The point is what we engage in through the symbols: the Bread of Life.
Regardless of the shape or taste of the host, Jesus will always be with us when we gather at the table for the meal in remembrance of Him.
We’ve struggled with this issue in my church. On the one hand, I resist creating a “communion buffet” to satisfy every individual’s communion preferences. On the other hand, there are people with very serious issues that would keep them from taking part in the table (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5762478). My personal preference is to offer only bread and wine, while making it clear that individuals are welcome to pass either one by if they are unable to consume it–they are still taking part in a valid communion. In the end we felt that it would exclude some people, so for the sake of hospitality we have always have a small plate of gluten-free bread available for those who need it.
Thanks Greg. Hospitality is important during Eucharist. The gluten free issue is increasingly becoming common in lots of churches (ours too).