Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Keep Your Communion Bread Soft!

There are times when funny things happen in the ministry. What's important is the cultivated grace of composure!

I've already blogged about William Dale Oldham; today I'd like to relate another story from his autobiography, Giants Along My Path:
The late I. S. McCoy used to tell of a meeting he and Dr. Riggle conducted in a rural community early in the century. In our group manufactured wafers were never used when communion was to be served. Instead some good woman in the church, often the pastor's wife, would make a small, flat, brown loaf of unleavened bread. This was sufficient for the entire congregation. For this particular communion service some dear sister volunteered to bake the bread, but she had evidently not had much previous experience in this field. When Dr. Riggle stood before the congregation and quoted the words, "And Jesus took the bread, and blessed it, and brake it," the bread simply would not break. Embarrassed, Riggle applied greater pressure but the loaf was stout and would not yield. In desperation he turned his back to the congregation, held the loaf along the edge of the communion table, and applied more pressure. No luck.

...McCoy quickly perceived that the situation called for reenforcements. Slipping to Riggle's side he whispered, "Give me the bread. While I am gone you sing, "His Yoke Is Easy and His Burden is Light." McCoy found a hammer in a back room, took it and the bread out behind the church where there was a rock to pound on, and a couple of minutes later re-appeared, solemn as a judge, with the bread broken in a hundred small pieces. Thus the "solemn" service continued." (pg. 153-154)
I'm glad for Communion wafers today; if you don't use them, pick your baker carefully!