I found this article last year in a magazine. I re-discovered it this evening, so I figured I’d share. I can’t say that I agree with the author’s implication that there is only one appropriate way to conduct communion, but I do like the author’s suggestion of wine’s significance as a part of God’s creation. Enjoy!
Analyzing sound in worship is easy because music is present
in the corporate praise of Christians the world over. Taste, another
sense used in Christian worship, is the focus of our study today.
Taste is an important part of our experience, and as such it is
often used metaphorically. For example, we can call unpleasant
sounds “sour notes” because, generally speaking, we do not like to
eat sour foods. Or, we might say that someone has a “sweet” disposition
because they are a joy to be around, and we are familiar with
the satisfaction that comes from foods sweet to the taste. Scripture
also uses taste analogically to teach doctrine and to help us develop
affection for the things we should love. For instance, David conveys
the pleasure found in the Lord by urging us, figuratively, to taste
God’s goodness for ourselves (Ps. 34:8).
Throughout history, our Father has used the taste buds to help
His people recall their salvation. For example, the Israelites ate bitter
herbs during Passover (Ex. 12:8) to recall the bitterness of their slavery before
the Lord saved them from Egypt (1:8-14). God chose the
Passover foods based on the things He wanted His people to learn.
Under the new covenant, the Lord’s Supper celebrates our salvation
in Christ, and the elements He used are the ones we must use
as well. Jesus consecrated bread and wine, not Coca-Cola and candy
(Matt.26:26-29). We will miss what God wants us to learn if we use
elements besides those Christ gave us.
As a staple food the world over, bread depicts God’s supply of our
needs. Moreover, Jesus is the “bread of life” (John 6:35). Eating bread
at His Table makes us see that we must feed on Christ spiritually to
meet our spiritual needs just as bread satiates our physical hunger.
Wine can have a bitter or sour taste. Yet the Lord gave it to ‘gladden
the heart” of man (Ps. 104:14-15), and so the drink is commonly
used in celebrations. Like wine, Good Friday was the bitterest of all
days, as Jesus endured the shame of the cross. Yet just as wine may
bring us joy, the salvation He purchased makes Good Friday the
most joyous of all days for God’s people.
—Tabletalk June 14, 2007