Can coke and biscuits be considered for the Lord’s Supper? This was a question asked at the Sacraments course for lay leaders and candidates. Since I was not participating, I don’t know what the answers were, or where the discussion led to. I heard one person say, “if it is blessed, it could be”. My question there would be, what is it that needs to be blessed? Does blessing the bread and wine make something magical out of them? I doubt it very much. Karl Barth insists that when the Gospels say that Jesus blessed, they don’t mean he blessed the bread itself, but the people sitting at the table sharing that bread. For Barth, you don’t bless objects, you bless people, and you sanctify an object to make it intended to a specific purpose. I would tend to agree with Barth on this that it is not the bread and wine that we need to bless but the people gathered to partake in the sacrament. But I would also go a step further and say that the minimalistic and individualistic way the Lord’s Supper is celebrated today has lost the reality of community building of the early church. For the sacrament to be real, there needs to be a real community, a real relationship between the people who come together to celebrate the sacrament. When Jesus commanded “Do this in remembrance of me” the intention was to remember Jesus. Remembering is not remembering something that we have forgotten. Remembering is keeping in our minds at all times. So, if a group of people come together with Jesus in mind, and not only in the back of their mind, but intentionally contemplating on Jesus, and they break bread, which in reality means to eat together, then that could be considered the Lord’s Supper. Remembering Jesus does not end with the breaking of the bread, though. It is not possible to remember Jesus and forget the poor, the marginalised, the rejected. So the breaking of the bread will definitely need to include those people as well. We may include them in our thoughts, but that would not be enough. We need to include them in action. What that action is and how it is acted out will depend on the people, their capabilities, their aspirations, and their missional vision. This makes the Lord’s Supper an act of giving instead of an act of receiving. It should definitely include the act of receiving as well, since we share the food and not just give it to others.
A classmate mentioned that in her family, on Sundays, they would prepare the food, which on the Sunday would be similar to a feast. After their return from church, they would first give the best part of the food to their neighbours, and only afterwards would they sit to eat. That meal, is closer to the Lord’s Supper than any theologically loaded sacrament that happens in the church. As Francis of Assisi says, it is in giving that we receive. It is in giving our best to others that we receive the best from God.
So, can coke and biscuits be considered for the Lord’s Supper? If the meal is approached in this mentality of giving, and sharing with each other, I say yes it can.