Monday, July 07, 2008

Revenge of the Little Cups

Some time ago,
I gave you a little taste of why I regretfully preserve the custom in this church of using little plastic shot glasses of juice during communion. This past Sunday they came back to bite me again. If you're keeping score here are the list of pros and cons for little cups:


  1. Destroy the symbolism of the sacrament messing with the image and words related to "one cup."
  2. Aren't found in scripture.
  3. Look silly when I hold up a little cup or a tray of cups while saying, "and after supper he took the cup."

Okay, so many in my church would add "are sanitary" to the list of pros (which in their mind would outweigh the 3 strikes against) but still--this is my blog, so the little cups have a running tally of -3. And today we make it -4.

4: You have to either over-estimate how many are coming to take communion, or scramble to get another tray in the midst of the worship service.

From now on, we will over-estimate.
This past Sunday, with about 10 left to serve at the chancel, and with a family of visitors just kneeling there for 5 minutes, my ushers had to do the "little cup scramble." My communion server turned to me with wide open eyes after I had gotten to the end of the chancel distributing bread, and I saw my trusty usher at the back getting ready to head to the kitchen. "Get the big cup," I mouthed to him while gesturing in a chalice type motion. He misunderstood what I was asking for and brought me the "little cup filler" thing with the bulb that Wesley likes to play with. We hadn't given him a tray to bring in the little cups, so this is what he had to do. Un-beknownst to him, I had put bleach in the little cup filler before the service to try and clean the mold that had accumulated in the bottom of it. However, in the heat of the moment, I'd forgotten this little tidbit of information. The juice had a strange look to it, like purple kool-aid instead of juice. "What--are we out of juice?" I thought as I began to fill up some little cups on the table. My next thought was--"hmm....what is that smell? Bleach!" I'm glad the Spirit opened my nose to smell or else we might of been like another kool-aid swilling church. So, I turned around again and simply said to the usher, "we're going to need the chalice." Chalice to the rescue! I gave the 10 or so who hadn't yet partaken another piece of bread, and they dipped them in the chalice. Communion accomplished. I explained to the congregation what had happened (because some of the folks who had been the last to receive the little cups were visitors who had been kneeling there for like 7 minutes while we got the whole thing straitened out, and I didn't want them to think communion regularly included such theatrics.) Even so, this isn't a change I'll be making soon--most of the people are just a little too skittish about it, and I want to encourage a welcoming stance toward communion. On every other Sunday we offer communion in the chapel after church by intinction, so....

1 comment:

  1. Oh, my...

    I like your list of "pros." (And do those itty bitty plastic shot glasses get recycled, or thrown in the landfill?)