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Wanted to get other peoples opinions on communion by intinction. Does anyone else have any concerns about germs, particularly when it comes to the elderly or others with compromised immune systems?
No, communion by intinction is the most beautiful way to serve it. It shows the unity between the "body" and "blood" of Christ. Not to mention that bread and grape juice taste amazing. It's one of my favourite snacks! ... I know that's a little bit odd but I love the taste! And plus you don't touch the bread aside from the piece your rip off and you don't "double dip" your bread in the juice. So this form of communion is safe if led properly. No worries! :)
You really do have to educate the congregation, though. Our church does it about once a year, as I recall. People tend to forget in that length of time. Last time we did it, I was holding one of the cups, so I got to watch up close. A good third of the people dunked their bread right up to the second knuckle of their thumb and finger. A few of those swished it around a few times for good measure.
One person put the bread ih his mouth, then started to reach for the cup. When I gently advised him (while pulling the cup away from his grasping hands) that he was supposed to dip the bread, he nodded, took it out of his mouth and tried to dip it, saliva and all. He didn't get that far, ortunately.
Eugh, that's disgusting ... who does that? :P
This is my favorite way to take communion but I have become somewhat hesitant because of all the germ scares. However, i would notlike to drink out of the common cup. I had a discussion with an Anglican minister about just this topic. he said the common cup has been used for centuries and nothing happened. I reminded him about the plague.
I prefer Communion by Intinction!
It can be less confusing, can be faster, and I think that there is something very moving about the congregation coming forward to the Lord's Table, especially while meaningful praises are being sung.
Also there is so much less work involved in preparation and clean up.
Maybe the servers could hand out the dipped bread instead of letting each parishioners handle it. I attended a huge Anglican church downtown a while ago (during SARS), and the servers each, almost as part of the ritual, cleansed their hands in front of all with antibacterial gel.
I think in most catholic Churches now most people just take the bread and bypass the wine
that's been the catholic practice for centuries - one of the triggers of the protestant reformation was that the people had no access to the cup. even now, when they have access, people in most parishes don't partake.
intinction is my favourite way. i like it because people come forward, and i enjoy reflecting on the symbolism of receiving the bread and the wine together as one. it only tastes good with pasteurized rather than fermented wine, though - if it's fermented, i'd rather not "rip and dip." sourdough bread is particularly good for dipping, and the flavour of sourdough with welch's is divine.
another way to protect against the spread of germs is if the person who is serving the bread rips off the chunks and hands them to the people. this also would ensure that people are getting big enough chunks that they can dip the bread without dipping their fingers - people who only take a tiny pinch of bread are the most common digit-dippers.
Funny how intinction is considered the 'new' way in the UCC. The small individual glasses and cubes of bread method is only about 120 years old. My church only adopted 'the public hygiene method' as it is called in 1911, and the local methodists only switched when they united in 1925. It was a Presbyterian change for public health reasons. Rationality won out over tradition, to the point most forget that we used the common cup for most of our history.
It's definitly my favourite way.
The only problem I've had with it is similar to Klaatu's but it's the person who dip's the bread and then holds his mouth over the cup while puttin it into his mouth so as to avoid dribbling any of his excess on the floor.
Please, I will gladly clean the floor.
I have seen people do this when being passed hors d'oeurves with a dipping sauce. Yukkkk!
In our Circles we pass the bread and cup around for all to take. Part of our etiquette is for those who may have a 'bug", or who are concerned about a compromised immune system, will simply touch the chalice to their foreheads ratehr than drink from it. They are demed to have shared the cup just the same.
I am an intincter. Our church has two sets of chalices: fancy silver ones for the germ-o-philes and very rustic clay ones for us germ-o-phobes. One signals to the chalice servers by either eating the bread sans la vin (approach silver chalice) or retaining the bread to dip (approach clay chalic). Everyone should be happy, having either crumb free or germ free wine -- well, there is no grape juice selection, so perhaps some people will be upset. Actually, one woman brought her mother, a baptist, one Christmas eve. The mother, a tea-totaller, refused to take communion, because the cup had wine and not grape juice.
What does the bread and cup represent in your religion.
I find it amazing that you do this!
>>What does the bread and cup represent in your religion."
Perhaps the best illustration would be from the ritual itself.
Priestess takes up the wine goblet. Priest takes up the athame.
Priest: "We acknowledge our needs and offer our appreciation for that which sustains us."
Priestess: "May we be ever mindful of the blessings of our Lord and Lady."
Priest lowers the athame into the wine briefly and withdraws.
Priest: "As male joins female for the sake of love and bounty, let the fruits of their union promote life. Let the earth be fruitful and by her wealth let us be blessed."
Priest takes the wine goblet and offers wine to the earth. He offers wine to the priestess. Starting at east he offers wine to the worshipers. The priest returns the altar with the wine goblet and drinks from the goblet.
Priest: "As I enjoy these gifts of Danu and Manannan Mac Lir, may I remember that without them I have nothing."
Priest takes up the bread and Priestess takes up the athame, touching the bread with the athame.
Priestess: "This food is the blessing of the Lord and Lady given freely to us. As freely as we have received, may we also give food for the body, mind and spirit to those who seek such of us."
Priestess takes the bread and offers some to the earth. She then offers a piece to the priest. Starting at the east she offers bread to the worshipers. The priestess returns to the altar with the bread and eats.
Priestess: "As I enjoy these gifts of Danu and Manannan Mac Lir , may I remember that without them I have nothing."
I hope that gives you some idea of the meaning for us.
>>"I find it amazing that you do this!"
I'm not sure why you would find it amazing. The ritual feast, the communal sharing of food and drink in worship, is a part of almost every religion on earth.
But the wine and bread??
Could you give me examples of this, specifically using wine and bread, from before Jesus' example?
The only knowledge I have of it is Jesus' death and return.
1 Cor. 11:26 (NKJV)
For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes.
I'll give you a few examples, although I don't have sources ready to hand. You're making me delve back into my days of anthropology studies lol. I will get the sources if you wish though, hopefully in forms you can verify to your satisfaction.
First of all, I don't think whether it is wine or not is very significant. Many Wiccans refer to the feast as "cakes and ale". In my trad we use mead and oatcakes. The beverage used is whatever is available to the culture. In my church we use juice, as we have children, and some folk who don't like alcohol. The term "wine" is used generically.
Almost every agrarian society has a shared feast as worship ritual. The use of bread and wine (ale, beer, mead, etc) is significant from an agrarian society because both require a transformative process that appears "magic" or miraculous (to those who didn't really know about yeast yet) The Divine is seen as both providing the materials, in the form of grain or grape, and more importantly the knowledge (in the form of baking or brewing) that transforms what would essentially be cattle feed, into food fit for human consumption.
The act of ritually recieving that food from the Gods (giving thanks) and then sharing communally in the bounty, is a metaphor for the success of the agrarian society as a whole.
Thus we have rice and rice wine or bread and wheat beer rituals in ancient China recorded in inscriptions as old as 2000BC. We have the Irish Yellow Book of Leinster and Book of the Dun Cow recording harvest feasts from about 100BC (and with no possible connection to Isreal). We have Aboriginal NAmerican corn feasts recorded by anthropologists. We have polynesian Taro feasts as well.
Egyptian tombs from as much as 4000BC record feasts with remarkable similarities to both the "last supper" and a Wiccan feast. They even give us the recipes for the ritual beer. Likewise we have temple archives from Sumerian, Babylonian, and Persian cultures whioch detail the same sort of ritual feast.
I think the most common view on the institution narratives in Christian scripture is that Jesus was doing things that his friends would have been very familiar with - saying a blessing over bread, and then over wine. The distinctive Christian part would have been the "in memory of me" bit. But the bread and wine ceremony was probably a cultural norm for him and his friends. I might be wrong about this being the most common view, but it's definitely a widely-held one.
I'm a rip-n-dipper, I don't dig the shot glass and dice. Somebody in our congregation has actually written the local health board, expressing concern about the sanitary aspects of intinction. The Worship and Music Committee has "received their letter and given it due consideration." Communion day before yesterday was intinction.
gospelcrazy You are probably right that this was common practice. Seeing this was the last time Jesus shared this with his disciples, why it is called the "Last Supper."
I love intinction. However I agree that the participants should be encouraged somehow to rip off a hunk (or at least a fare sized piece) to dip without getting their fingers in the wine.
When I'm serving I notice that some people just take a pinch between their fingers - no, no. Take more. There is enough to go around. Be extravagant.
After all, when Jesus and his disciples sat down to the last supper, it was a meal. When they broke the bread, they each received a chunk, not a crumb. Let us do likewise.
I've wondered if the loaf was partially precut in strips people would break off more.
To make the sanitary germophobes happy, my congregation uses wafers with intinction, so no floaties in the cup.
Do UCC'ers rip their own piece of bread?
I don't understand the santitary concern with intinction. Is the fear that fingers are getting in the wine? Firstly, I think people try to void getting wine on their fingers -- its not like you have a napkin up there. Secondly, I would rather someone's fingers touch the wine than thier mouth -- I suppose it depends on the person, but surely mouths carry more germs than fingers.
Wafers are for those who are not, well bred!
'I think the most common view on the institution narratives in Christian scripture is that Jesus was doing things that his friends would have been very familiar with - saying a blessing over bread, and then over wine. '
Ya think? I was called the PASSOVER.
Sorry GC - I couldn't resist. I'm weak. Forgive me...
GospeCrazywrote: I think the most common view on the institution narratives in Christian scripture is that Jesus was doing things that his friends would have been very familiar with - saying a blessing over bread, and then over wine. The distinctive Christian part would have been the "in memory of me" bit. But the bread and wine ceremony was probably a cultural norm for him and his friends. I might be wrong about this being the most common view, but it's definitely a widely-held one.
I would hope that the most common view would be that they were sharing a passover meal since that is what all the gospel texts say when they mention the last supper. To consider the institution narratives as springing from just an ordinary meal is to miss the richness and meaning of the words spoken in the context of a highly symbolic meal which is a cornerstone of Jewish religious tradition.
It would certainly be something they would all be familiar with as Jews since they would have celebrated the passover their whole lives. Since passover is a meal with special religious meaning in its recounting of the exodus and Jewish religious beliefs, I would suggest also that it was a religious norm rather than a cultural one (but I suppose we could quibble on this last point).
The only concern I have with communion by intinction is the tearing off pieces from the common loaf of bread. It can be difficult for those people with arthritis or limited fine motor skills in their hands to tear off a piece. Heck, I have none of those problems and seem to either end up with a little speck of bread or half the crust.
I prefer the bread (or even some of it) pre-cut into pieces as a way to include those of us who have difficulty ripping (and cutting it into rectangles makes life easier than little squares when it comes to dipping.)
Wafers take two acts of faith: one to believe that it's Jesus and another to believe that it's bread.
(Oh, about the Passover thing: In John, it's the day before Passover, and in the earliest reporting we have - I Corinthians 11 - there's no mention of the Passover at all.)
Forgive me, forgive me, forgive me: I also posted this same post on Churc h do's and dont's. will take ten lashes with a wet noodle.
I used to go up to the communion table after the service and grab more rip-n-dip (love bread and grape juice) until somebody told me about some Bible passage that says something to the effect that if you are hungry, eat before you come to church -- in other words, no eating communion bread after it's over. Well, now our minister makes sure to invite people to come up front after the service for more bread and juice.
"Firstly, I think people try to void getting wine on their fingers -- its not like you have a napkin up there."
All I know is my own experience (above), when fully 1/3 of the people at my station got one or two knuckles deep into the "wine." A couple of them gave the bread (and their fingers) a swish or two for good measure. If it weerer really wine, at least there would be some alcohol to act as an antiseptic.
"Secondly, I would rather someone's fingers touch the wine than thier mouth -- I suppose it depends on the person, but surely mouths carry more germs than fingers."
I'd rather NEITHER. All I could think of is that these were the same fingers that just moments before had taken part in the ritual handshaking (microbe sharing), so we were getting a dose of a dozen or so people's germs with every dunk.
Call me a microphobe, but hand-to-hand contact is one of the best methods for passing germs. I seem to have read somewhere that it even beats kissing, but I can't recall the source.
Gospel crazy wrote: (Oh, about the Passover thing: In John, it's the day before Passover, and in the earliest reporting we have - I Corinthians 11 - there's no mention of the Passover at all.)
John specifically mentions Passover in the context of the Upper Room before Jesus was killed but never actually includes the institution of communion.
Matthew mentions communion in the context of passover.
Mark mentions communion in the context of passover.
Luke mentions communion in the context of Passover.
Paul does not specifically mention passover but speaks of the night before he was betrayed (which call the gospels say happened at Passover) and calls Jesus "our pascal lamb" (I Co 5:7) and then talks about sharing the blood and body.
The Epistle to Hebrews draws comparisons between Jesus the pascal lamb and the sharing of blood and body.
I can't imagine thinking that communion has no connection to the Passover considering these texts.
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