Latest NewsletterThis Cup is the New Covenant in My Blood
In recent weeks I have been discussing with you the change in how Holy Communion has been administered in many of our churches. Whereas until the late nineteenth century Communion Wine was extended in the Common Cup, a new practice has caught on of using individual cups. And this happened, as has been discussed, for practical or perceived hygienic considerations.
With this week’s address I sincerely hope I don’t freak out anybody about receiving Holy Communion, but it is important to consider some reasons why it may not be safer to receive wine in individual cups rather than from a common cup. Let me hasten to say, even though it is arguably less safe hygienically to drink from individual cups, nonetheless, there is no public or medical indication that viral epidemics are occurring from any method used for Holy Communion.
As I stated in the last edition of Grace Notes, hygiene is probably the most cited reason for the rather late development of serving Communion Wine in individual glasses instead of from a common cup, or chalice.
I mentioned last week that is was not until late in the nineteenth century that anyone departed from the use of the Chalice as the chief means of distributing the wine in Holy Communion. And last week I promised that I would discuss how this came to be.
Last week as we were considering the Words of Institution for Holy Communion I stressed the fact that Jesus extended His cup to His disciples. Jesus said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood.” It is the cup that is the counterpart to the bread.