While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”
Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. – Matthew 26: 26-28 (NIV)
Most churches probably have some sort of communion. Sometimes it’s done during each service, sometimes once per week or once per month. Others may do communion during special times. Some churches have special rules for participating in communion.
Churches use wine or grape juice or something else. As for the “bread” some churches use real bread or crackers or communion wafers.
Some churches offer gluten-free wafers or crackers for communion. I imagine some churches that offer wine also offer alcohol-free wine or grape juice, too.
I’ve taken communion at several different protestant churches in my lifetime. I’ve done it with real wine and a fancy communion wafer, and I’ve done it using grape juice and a loaf of bread that was passed around with chunks torn off. I’ve had my share of stale soup crackers, too! I’ve even been the person who prayed during communion.
I guess the most solemn and moving communion ceremony I ever participated in was at Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. My memories of it are a little fuzzy now, but I think they used real wine in one large fancy cup. The cup was wiped off and turned after every sip. The communion wafer was pretty fancy, too. Those participating came forward and knelt and were given communion. The whole communion ceremony ran like clockwork – people were in and out and back to their seats quickly.
For some reason, that communion ceremony was the most moving of all I have participated in. Maybe it was because of the setting – the Washington National Cathedral is very beautiful.
I’ve always wondered why churches did not use an actual communion wafer. They are not that expensive and I think it adds to ceremony. As for using actual wine, I’m for using it, too, and no, I do not want to get a buzz from drinking wine while in church! There are mentions of drinking wine throughout the Bible, although I can see some reasons why actual wine is not used.
Nonetheless, no matter how your church observes communion, I think it’s an important ceremony that brings those participating closer to God. Much of what you get out of it all depends on your heart and mind.
Have a great week!