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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Body of Christ aseptically sealed?

An Internet business selling communion elements promises to revolutionize the way churches offer communion. At www.communionsource.com ("your source for all things communion") you can buy individually wrapped — aseptically sealed — communion elements: grape juice and wafer.

Michael Burk, ELCA director for worship, cites the church's 1997 document The Use of the Means of Grace in response: "Practices of distributing and receiving holy communion reflect the unity of the body of Christ and the dignity and new life of the baptized."

He adds, "There's not much dignity in an aseptically sealed serving of the meal. Unity rarely comes individually wrapped. The suggestion that such products are ideal for communion ministry to the sick and shut-in still misses the point. Those who are physically separated from the congregation at worship desire a sign of their unity with the whole body of Christ and are equally deserving of dignity in being served."


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