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For Large and Sick Congregations

I have such a low tolerance for email spam that I normally zap it from my inbox before I even consciously register it. However, I got a message a few days ago that did pique my interest (or incredulity) enough to take a look at its offer of pre-filled communion cups.

Communion is the celebration of Jesus’ victory over death and sin on the cross, inaugurated at the “last supper” the night before he was crucified and quickly established as an important part of the worship pattern of the early Christian church. Reams of theology have been written about what it means and there are many ways in which it is practised. This is the first time I have heard about the “new innovative product that has hit the western world”; apparently the cup “… presents Communion in a new way that churches love”.

I think not. Even leaving aside the delivery of the message as email spam, written in fluent marketese, I am not convinced. The purpose of the eucharistic feast is not to consume bread and wine (or, in this case, wafer and grape juice) with the minimum of mess and fuss. Turning it into a business opportunity that dishes up the elements in sanitised little packages doesn’t seem to fit with the teaching of a man who had just thrown money-changers out of the temple and who was about to be barbarically executed as a crucial point in God’s plan for the salvation of sinful, weak humanity.

Apparently the product is “ideal for ministering to the sick and large congregations”. I can see that it might be useful in some situations, like hospitals, but won’t be pursing the opportunity myself. Among the last things I want my church to be doing in this day and age is generating more junk to be sent to landfill all in the name of a little more convenience.

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