Would you like Jesus with that?
Well, I hauled myself out of bed this morning and drove off to the exotic land of Brazil (Indiana) for a clergy meeting at Brazil First UMC. Program was good. Missed one guy I needed to see. And then it was home again.
We had communion, as usual. The host church always prepares the elements. This morning, the pastor reminded us that we had both wheat flour and gluten-free hosts, and told us which would be which. I suppose they have some parishioners on gluten-free lifestyles, or maybe they just decided that they should consider all the possibilities. This chimes with a conversation I had a few months ago with another colleague who said that at his church, the communion elements came in multiple forms, including those self-contained little cups that have a host between the foil cover and the cup top (for the germophobes among us).
Now, it occurreth to me that I have taken communion with lots of different kinds of bread, some barely recognizable as such. And while grape juice is grape juice, sometimes it comes in a common cup for intinction and sometimes in separate little cups. But while, in a sense, communion is all about eating and drinking this bread, this cup, I find it distracting to be given choices that force me to concentrate on exactly what form or flavor of bread and wine I'm consuming this morning.
It seems to me that the principle of unity would require us to all to partake of ONE loaf, or at least, ONE form of bread. If you've got a legitimate question about gluten in your congregation, then by all means, use gluten-free bread. But don't take the focus off Jesus-as-Lord to tell me how many kinds of Jesus-as-bread are on the menu.