"I'd Like the Blessing, Please, but Not the Mark"
Baby Showers Are Evil

The Cup, the Loaf, and a Bowl of Chili

Chili1After recently teaching about the centrality of the fellowship meal within the first century Church, I eagerly waited for the next time our congregation would sit down to eat together in order to blend in a time of Holy Communion.  That time came yesterday, as we ate together at the conclusion of our annual chili and soup cookoff.

After everyone had gone through the food lines and were well under way eating their meal -- we paused, remembered Christ's words of institution, and then began to share from a common cup and loaf. It was beautiful.

In my own spiritual upbringing, Communion had become a purely individualistic exercise -- a reality I've intentionally worked to change. Even though I much prefer using a common loaf to a tray of individual wafers, partaking together around tables while we all shared a meal seemed to better reinforce the corporate reality of Christ's body and our connection to the Eucharisic meal.

Loaf_and_cupI admit, I was a bit worried, hoping that no one would be offended by our partaking of Christ's body and blood in-between spoonfuls of chili. But so far, I've only heard positive comments. Observing communion in this way seems to fit easily with our "open table" stance, but I recognize that this approach  (i.e. partaking as part of a common meal) might not work well in communities of faith which require prior profession of faith and/or membership in order to receive the elements.

I'd be interested in hearing from any of you who have observed Holy Communion in a similar way, or if you have any thoughts or comments to share. 


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


I think it is weirder that we have a bunch of people sitting around waiting for a platoon of volunteers to pass out little "bricks" of "bread" and jigger chasers of Welch's.

Is that a meal of any kind? Does it bear any resemblance to the Last Supper? Not that I can tell. Frankly, what you did between spoonfuls of chili sounds more like the real thing to me.

Common meals are always a positive way to build fellowship. Jesus and His disciples capitalized on this, and St. Paul in 1 Corinthians did not apparently have any hesitation about doing so. Caution should be used, however, to carefully delineate the sacrament of His Body and Blood, from the sacrament of fellowship.

Good work?


My comment should read, GOOD WORK! No question about it.

"bricks and jiggers" -- that's hilarious, Dan!

Dr. Don -- I think I agree, but tell me more about the delineation between the sacrament of Eucharist and the sacrament of fellowship. (it's great having you post here at Paradoxology. Welcome!)

Just thought I would share what we did today. We had a shared meal following worship and toward the end of the meal we moved into communion. Plates of bread were passed as were cups. So, we didn't literaly have a "common cup," but this was put together to prevent this act of worship from being an individual exercise. We spent some time considereing the body and blood of Christ, remembering and celebrating. The church responded very well.

We recently started a church on the South Side of Pittsburgh and every week at the end of the service we share communion followed by a community meal. We consider our lunch simply a continuation of the communion and worhsip we are participating in. When we first started I figured maybe half would stay for lunch but it amazing how week after week the people stay to eat and fellowship together. Most show up around 11am and don't leave until after 1pm.
It has been an awesome blessing and time of fellowship for our baby church. Frankly I am not sure if our church would be growing the way it is without our communion meal together.

The comments to this entry are closed.