Communal Communion cup -– time for change?

Communal Communion cup -– time for change?

Communal Communion cup -– time for change?

My father was a preacher, and we
itinerated as a family around many different varied denominations
and para-church groups in NZ and abroad. We saw some unusual
things. Mind you, we weren’t the average travelling
ministry family either. When travelling domestically the four
Smith kids who did correspondence school, were accompanied by one
dog, one cat and two rabbits (the latter two travelled in their
cage on the roof of the car). Someone coined the phrase
‘The Smith Family travelling Circus’ which was fairly
accurate I would have thought, however, some of the ‘forms
of Christianity – and churchianity’ we encountered in
our travels could equally carry such a title (less the
‘Smith Family travelling’ part)… One day I
might write a book “The things people do – in
God’s Name.” The best part of the journey is stepping
beyond a cynical world view, to one of acceptance: when people do
not know who they (we) are, they (we) do unusual things –
and we’ve all been there, done that. That’s the
beauty of ‘growth’ and maturity.

Dad was raised in the Brethren
Assembly where he gained a very strong understanding of the Word
of God. One of the very first times he took us (Smith children)
to an Assembly in Wellington, we little Smiths who were at that
time more accustomed to ‘a bit more noise and activity in
worship’ sat looking around in the atmosphere of silence
– wondering what was going on. A man stood up and shared a
passage of Scripture and short message over in that corner, and
then the congregation was led in a hymn by someone somewhere on
the floor…and then all was quiet again. After one
particular ‘lengthy period of silence’ my sister
Rachel yelled out with her shrill voice “What sort of a
place is this?”…

Then the communion ceremony began
and my siblings and I watched with interest as the ‘loaf of
bread’ (not the pre-processed, tiny-cut pieces we were
accustomed to) was broken and distributed. I was delighted to
tear off a chunk which dwarfed the bits my conservative sisters
ended up with.

The grape-juice (called wine in
our usual churches) was different for two main reasons. Firstly,
I was horrified to discover we all had to drink out of the one
cup. “What about the germs?” we kids whispered loudly
to each other in between giggles and cold stares from dad and
mum. A tissue accompanied the chalice, and people would sip and
then wipe the rim before passing it on. The second reason was: it
was wine. My sisters were before me on the pew and I
watched with amazement as they took a tiny sip and looked over at
me with wide staring eyes and the ‘Yep – it’s
real wine’ look. I don’t know what I was thinking to
myself but it must have been something like, “It’s my
first time so I’m going to make the most of it”, when
I got my hands on that cup I gulped down as much as I could
before feeling Mum pinching my thigh and the powerful port fumes
hit my lungs. I don’t know who took the cup from me, but I
nearly passed away in a coughing fit which I don’t think
assisted my dad in his efforts to ‘meld in’ with his
old friends.

Now, on a more current and
pertinent note – the spread of communicate-able disease is
an issue churches are needing to address.

The age of SARS and HIV highlights
the issue, but there are numerous other viral and bacterial
amoebas being carried around by people which are spread very
easily in a communal setting. As can be expected there are those
believers who confidently (is that the right word?) quote,
“If we drink any poisonous thing it shall not hurt
us.” I personally really don’t think God frowns on us
using common sense.

Early last year I read about the
death of a Hobart (Tasmania) man who contracted meningococcal
disease during a communion service at a local church. The
potential for spreading saliva through such communal sharing is a
real threat where disease is present (kissing, sharing drinks or
cigarettes have been pinpointed – not all of these relate
to church life).

SARS – a mystery disease?

Not according to some people, it
is an ‘artificial medical emergency’ designed to
provoke fear and hysteria.

As can be expected – claims
are being made that the disease was manmade – developed
with purpose, and released just at the right time to divert the
media focus from ‘solely’ following the war in Iraq
– and that the disease itself is in fact ‘a
weapon of mass destruction.’

The Trilateral Commission have
been named in documents I’ve read – along with The
Rockerfeller group, as being the chief corporate bodies behind
the war against Iraq, a war waged in the name of abolishing
terror and “Weapons of Mass Destruction.”

It just happens that these same
bodies are both global ‘Pharmaceutical and
petrochemical’ mega controllers. It would appear they
benefit hugely from war, and from outbreaks of epidemics
like SARS.

I am following the epidemic with
interest, looking for documented evidence around any of these

Fear and terror are words we will
read more frequently in the media in these end times, whipping up
exactly that response from manipulated readers/listeners for two
reasons – 1. It is prophesied that fear will be a
prevailing emotional response in the last days, and 2. The global
media is controlled by the affiliated corporate bodies and global
power groups as mentioned above (including CNN, Time Warner and
others…). Lies, control and manipulation are the tools of
the antichrist system, directly opposite to ‘truth, free
will and choice’ offered by the real Christ.

Where can we find security? Only
in God – He gives peace now (beyond our understanding) and
has prepared a ‘better place!’