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• Prayer and Communion Emblems We read that it was the night in which He was betrayed, that great climactic night to which His whole life and service had been focused, the night of His humiliation and shame, that Jesus took bread and broke it. But He did not break it until He had given thanks.
Following His example, we too offer thanks.
This should not be a prayer asking the Lord to forgive our sins. He has already done that. The congregation that comes before the Lord is a cleansed congregation. If the preparatory service and everything that has led up to it is all it ought to be, the minister does not have to talk about sins now, but may thank God for a congregation cleansed from sin. Here we "come to meet with Christ.... [We] are not to stand in the shadow of the cross, but in its saving light.... With hearts cleansed by Christ's most precious blood, in full consciousness of His presence, although unseen. . . . [we must] . . . hear His words, 'Peace I leave with you" (The Desire of Ages, page 659).
There are two things this prayer should embrace: first, praise to God for His unspeakable gift, and second, the consecration of the emblem (bread or wine) to the service. That is the purpose of this prayer. It need not be long, but it should be a very deliberate prayer. Such a prayer calls for preparation.
• The Physical Emblems The Lord's Supper was instituted on the night of the Passover, the feast when all the leaven was removed from the homes of Israel. Leaven, as we know, is yeast, and yeast is made by fermentation. But fermentation is the result of death. Without death there could be no fermentation, and without fermentation we would not have what we know as leaven. But death is the result of sin. Nothing that reminds us of sin and death could rightly be an emblem of the spotless Son of God, because in Him was no sin. Therefore the bread is unleavened and the wine is unfermented.
Moreover, this symbolic bread is better if made from whole-wheat flour rather than from devitalized flour, which is the case when white flour is used. Yet any flour is the result of a crushing and bruising process by which the grain is made palatable to us. However, this crushing and bruising does not destroy the life element. So the life-giving element of Jesus, who referred to Himself as a corn of wheat that fell into the ground, was not destroyed by the crushing and bruising of the judgment hall and Calvary. Instead, we are assured that by His stripes we are healed.
Likewise the wine. It is not the whole grape, it is the crushed grape. So the Lord went through the breaking, bruising, crushing, sorrowing experience of Gethsemane and Calvary that He might give to us His life today. Nor does the crushing of the grape destroy its life-giving element. As with the wheat, so the grape also must be crushed.
Perhaps the nearest thing to human blood in the natural world is the unfermented juice of the grape. In some twenty minutes after the close of the service, the wine is actually assimilated into the life blood stream of the worshipers. It is perhaps the easiest of all foods to digest. It passes more rapidly into the life-giving stream of the blood than any other food. It has been proved scientifically by medical scientists that you can actually, under some conditions, transfuse grape juice into the blood stream; there are some types of unfermented grape juice that are so close to the blood stream that they can actually mingle with it.
The Lord's table is an occasion when all barriers should be broken down. Racial barriers, social barriers, denominational barrierseverything that would separate us-must be broken down, because we are one in Christ Jesus.
• Preparation for the Ordinances In the Adventist Church the ordinances are usually celebrated once each quarter. In spite of the fact that the service is always announced the week before, this announcement does not always register with everyone in the congregation.
Would it not be a good practice perhaps for one quarter each year to have a sermon on the meaning of the ordinances one week before they are celebrated? Invariably we tell our people-and rightly so-that the occasion of foot washing should be preceded by selfexamination and a righting of any wrongs between members. But is this not rather short notice for those who have forgotten that this is the day for the ordinances? However, if all this is carefully brought out in a sermon a week earlier, and perhaps followed up with some personal work and visitation on the part of the pastor, it would seem that there is much more opportunity for intelligent spiritual preparation for the ordinances.
Pouring the Wine
Perhaps other deaconesses have trouble, as we did, in pouring the wine for the ordinances. It is difficult not to spill it, and deaconesses do wish to do this sacred work nicely for the sake of Him who gave us the service. We found that a quart (or pint) ink bottle with the special cap for pouring is a great help. Rarely does one spill a drop when using it. Ruth Moyer, Azusa, California
Communion Bread a Complete Symbol
Many inquiries come to the Ministerial Association asking for a recipe for communion bread, and we are happy to supply this as a tried recipe. Communion bread is symbolic bread-therefore the ingredients should be such as can be a fitting symbol of the Lord's body. This recipe calls for whole-wheat flour. Ordinary white flour has actually been so prepared that the original lifegiving element has been largely destroyed. This might well be a symbol of a denatured or a devitalized gospel. We need the whole grain to typify a complete Saviour. Some recipes suggest that cream or milk be used. This recipe calls for olive oil, where procurable. This oil, being a symbol of the Holy Spirit, has a definite place in this symbolic bread. In the ancient Hebrew service water and salt were prominent in the sacrificial offering, and Jesus mentioned them symbolically. All and only these ingredients are found in this recipe.
Communion Bread Recipe
- 1 cup sifted fine-ground flour (preferably whole wheat)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- 1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil
Sift the flour and salt together. Pour the water into the oil but do not stir. Add to the dry ingredients and mix with a fork until all the flour is dampened. Roll out between two sheets of waxed paper to the thickness of thick pie pastry. Place on an ungreased, floured baking sheet, and mark off with a sharp knife into bite-sized squares, being careful to prick each square to prevent blistering. Bake at 450° F for 10-15 minutes. Watch care-fully during the last 5 minutes so that the bread will not burn. This recipe will be sufficient to serve about 50 persons.