The Christian holiday of Easter is fast approaching, and in this era of modern convinces with prepackaged foods and snack comes an offering that may give you pause – prefilled communion cups, with or without the wafers.
There are several companies on the Internet that offer these thrifty containers complete with the option of red or white grape juice - and the samples are free.
1) Gone are the church ladies who took a couple of hours each Saturday morning to polish up the communion ware, put the plastic cups in the holders, fill them with gallon bottles of grape juice (always red, never white) and place those tiny rectangles or circles of unleavened bread on another carrier tray; all ready for Sunday services. But today, volunteers are few and far between waiting to take on this weekly duty. Modern families are far too busy, and a new generation of church ladies have other things to attend to. (Social media, any one?) The prepackaged cups and wafers make that morning of communion prep a thing of the past.
2) Outreach settings are another reason these prepackaged cups make sense. It’s more convenient, not to mention less wasteful, to carry the prepackaged communion cups into hospitals, nursing homes, religious study groups, prisons, and retirement communities.
3) In our germy world where we use antibacterial soap for our showers, our dishes and our hands, it was only a matter of time before the church caught up. Passing the common cup has been a health concern for years. Sharing the communal cup, or passing communion trays down pew after pew, presents potential exposure to a wide variety of diseases: staph infections, hepatitis, and strep throat are just a few, not to mention the flu, or simply the common cold.
What’s Not To Love?
The prepackaged communion cups require no refrigeration, are shelf stable for 10 months, and are packaged in 100% recyclable plastic. Plus there’s no extra juice or wafers that have to be thrown away. It would appear to be a win-win for the church and parishioners except many are slow to embrace the trend.
Those who do not like the prepackaged communion sets have expressed what they feel is a lack of respect for the communion ritual. But those who have no problem with the new trend are quite happy with the hygienic role individually sealed cups play in the process, and the ability to use only what you need has also been cited as a positive.
Will prepackaged communion catch on? Only time will tell. What’s your view: A plus or a minus?