I had a glass of wine this past Saturday at 10 am. Now before you think I’m an alcoholic, let me explain.
In I Corinthians Paul gives us a warning from the Lord about taking the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner. It seems that some of the folks were hogging the bread, while others didn’t get any, and some were apparently getting drunk (I Cor 11). So obviously they used real wine, and probably plenty of it-at least some did! Now I don’t think I had I’ve ever been a part of a celebration of the Lord’s Supper where I’ve even had the opportunity to overeat or get drunk. That is until Saturday, kind of.
At presbytery, the gathering of the PCA elders and pastors (Teaching elders) in a given geographic area-which for us is basically the whole state of WV-we celebrated the Lord’s Supper in a different manner. Instead of small grape juice cups, we had an actual glass of wine: half-filled.
I was actually sipping it even while we sang the concluding hymn. It was great.
This was quite a unique experience, and one which wouldn’t jive in many places. And I get that (for alcoholics and logistics of larger churches who actually HAVE to get out of the movie theater by noon), and I’m not arguing it necessarily should. But I also wonder if maybe it shouldn’t be too unique…..I wonder if it more closely resembles what Jesus intended when He instituted the Lord’s Supper. A meal and a drink (that is bigger than a tiny communion cup).
One of the purposes for this church celebrating this sacrament in this way was clearly to give us a foretaste of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb at the end of time. Jesus alludes to a future meal of which this meal is but a foretaste (Matthew 26:29), and that is why they have wine glasses of grape juice and wine to get the “feeling” of a real meal.
Having a glass (half-full or half-empty depending on your perspective!) of wine certainly gave me a greater foretaste and got me more excited NOW of what is to come THEN. In fact, I’m still kind of excited. I really am.
Should your church ever happen to celebrate the Lord’s Supper with a glass or small cup of wine, it is 100% more enjoyable when a decent bottle of wine is used as opposed to an officially Jewish wine called Manichewitz. Believe me, I know from experience.