Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Wronger Than Wrong

I'm not really sure what to say about this:

Among some of the benefits of their prefilled communion cups, the website lists that the cups are 1) sanitary, 2) less messy, and 3) result in less waste. My thoughts when reading this list of "benefits" were:

1) Less sanitary than the little individual glasses that are run through the dishwasher after every Lord's Supper? Of course, I wasn't taking into account those traditions that use a communal chalice, but then wouldn't those taking part in a communion with a communal chalice loose the "community" part of their communion by switching to individual cups, prefilled or not? I guess it depends on what your priorities
are in taking part in the sacrament.

2) Less messy? Obviously the creators of this haven't attempted to open the orange juice or apple sauce that often come in these little foil-lidded containers. Or maybe it's just me. I always end up with applesauce all over my knuckles when I open those things. I can't imagine that I would be in a very worshipful mood after opening my communion-on-the-go and spilling permanently staining grape juice all over myself... not to mention what that juice is supposed to represent.

3) Less waste? Sure, many churches fill more cups with juice or wine than they think they may need to be on the safe side, but that would amount to what? Maybe a cup of juice would go unused - if that? And many priests in churches that use communal chalices drink the excess juice or wine since it has been blessed and should not just be poured down the drain, anyway. But what about the foil lid and plastic cup that now have to be thrown away? I know that many churches already use little ,disposable plastic cups, and I am not too thrilled with that either. Why not just use washable, glass cups? But that aside, the prefilled cups not only have the plastic juice cup, but they now add a foil lid and a seperate wafer packet. Are they going to put trash cans near the altar in churches where the congregants go forward to recieve communion?

The whole idea of prefilled communion cups just seems so wrong. It moves the idea of the communal sharing of rememberance into the modern fast-food culture. We're the children of God, right? Why not just go all the way and add a Bible hero action figure and call it a Truly-Happy Meal? Our praise choruses already border on being glorified (pardon the pun) jingles, so all we need is a catchy slogan and viola... God's entered the fast food market.

Seeing these cups reminded me of a story I heard on NPR a couple years ago about the comfort and sense of community a listener felt every Sunday as she heard the glass communion cups clink into the pew racks after the congragation finished thier Lord's Supper. I love that sound, too. I can't imagine replacing it with the sound of tin foil being pulled off of plastic juice cups.

To quote Mammy, "It ain't fittin'. It just ain't fittin'."


Brittney said...

The last paragraph about the "sound" warms me too! I also loved watching everyone's heads tip back as they "took and drank". Now we drink from the communal chalice and I like that. Gives *me* a stronger sense of all joining in the Lord's Supper together.

...I will say this about "those" cups...when I worked at a Christian bookstore several churches bought them by the box full to send them to the troops. I thought that was a great idea and an appropriate use for them.

TheTutor said...

I can understand these cups being used for that purpose or for churches served by itinerant pastors... especially where no refrigeration is available. I was shocked mainly because the company seems to be marketing them to churches for weekly use... which just seemed really weird and wrong to me.