Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Communion Wine (Whine)

“Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you.  This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.’”  Matthew 26:27-28

Okay, so we’re not good Lutherans. 

When I first learned to commune, I used to drink from the traditional chalice.  I was young.  I liked Pastor communing me.  And I knew they used Everclear to wipe the rim of that cup between rounds of communion.  Nanna was on the Altar Guild, after all, so that meant I was an honorary Guild-ster since I helped her put communion out when it was her turn.   I remember when we got those tiny cups for individual wine servings and started offering an “option” to drinking after everyone else.  I remember the horrible filling of those tiny cups with this glass jar apparatus with a rubber bulb on the top. 

I also knew that the inner-round of those circular trays didn’t have wine in them.  They had grape juice.  Welch’s.  Straight from the kitchen refrigerator, to be exact.   It was purple, just like the wine, so you’d have to know what was in those cups.  And, of course, it was assumed by me throughout my growing up that if you took grape juice at communion, you were a recovering alcoholic. 

I’m judgmental that way.

Or maybe I was told that. 

Now they say “allergic to wine”. 


Years pass, Nanna dies, I go off on my own, I get married, move away from my home church, and start attending where I do now. 

And it turns out, I don’t feel so comfortable drinking after all these people anymore.  And it turns out, that the wine tastes like rotten raisins.  And it turns out, you can have grape juice at communion and not be a recovering alcoholic. 

My church uses white grape juice, probably Welch’s, so you know what you’re getting.  Every communion Sunday I have the grape juice.  I don’t care what you say, wine is nasty.  It burns my throat, gives me dragon breath, and is not an enjoyable experience for me to consume. 

And, if my Lord can put his cleansing spirit in wine, then I’m pretty sure he can put it in grape juice too!

So this Sunday, the wafers and the Pastor pass.  Wafer was not stale this Sunday, I note.  Sometimes they are chewy and get stuck in my teeth.  I like to think of myself as quality control for the Body of Jesus.  Ok, maybe not.

Then the elder comes with my now-usual individual cups.  I only say “elder” as a church term.  He was younger than me.  And we’ll blame it on his lack of “elder” knowledge and experience that he’d let the center circle of cups of grape juice run OUT before he got to me.  So I made a face at him.  And he kind of paused and grinned at me, wondering what I was going to do, my unspoken disgust for the situation written on my face. 

And then I took a tiny cup of wine. 

While the elder spoke the words of communion, I threw back the wine so as to limit the exposure of my taste buds to the horrible taste.  It burned my throat as it made a fiery path to my stomach.  My lips curled and a shudder went through me.  My face got hot and red.  Then I looked over at my husband, who was chin to chest with his face contorted into a grimace usually saved for cough syrup. 

And I laughed.  Ok, not hard, but I found all this quite funny.  I don’t think there is much of a chance of the hub and I ever becoming alcoholics if we can’t even handle the communion wine! 

Maybe we’re “allergic”! 

I did feel a bit more renewed, or cleansed, or like a new person, as I walked back to my pew.  Maybe I needed a reminder of what communion is all about.

Plus, the kids enjoyed my dragon breath!     

Thanks be to God for powerful blessings that can turn even stale wafers and grape juice in to perfect reminders of our salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus.  

And for forgiving even bad Lutherans like me!


  1. You know I like my wine, but I never save enough time to eat breakfast on Sunday morning, so the communion wine always makes my stomach churn! I like your way of looking at it!!! :-)

  2. Love your blog! You have so much talent!

  3. What? You don't have donuts at church? If we didn't have donuts, I doubt the kids would even go. :)

  4. Don't you have Manischewitz or Mogen David? Tasty!! Get a new Pastor!
    Uncle Don


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