What to do with bread and wine after Lord's Supper is over?

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Moosesteed

Puritan Board Freshman
After the Lord's Supper service is over, is there anything wrong or disrespectful about eating the leftover bread and drinking leftover juice (not the wine) by children or anyone, for that matter, before the elders clean up?
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Nope. It's meant to be eaten and eating it doesn't seem any less "common" than throwing it in the trash.

It's not like we are Roman Catholics that place it in the sacristy
 

Cymro

Puritan Board Junior
Although we are not Catholics yet I do believe that the ordinance should be accorded due
reverence even by the children. They are to be taught by example that the elements though ordinary,
yet are the means of grace. That they signify the blood and body of Christ, and therefore not to be
lightly esteemed or used ignorantly. Being the preserve of believers it may be the means of provoking
the children to a godly jealously.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
I'm not a fan of children treating the elements as a snack after the service. I agree it isn't technically, automatically improper. The elements do not constitute the Supper anymore after the service is ended, they are not magical, and certainly if we were in need it would be good not to waste the food. Yet it seems to me as if casual snacking could mean something is lost in terms of respect for the Supper (and for the One who gives it) and for worship itself. It is wiser, I think, for the purpose of raising kids to one day partake in the Supper with great joy and sense of privilege, to suggest that they not treat the leftovers as a common snack—not out of superstition, but because it teaches them not to treat this particular gift of Christ casually.
 

puritanpilgrim

Puritan Board Junior
They kids normally want to help clean up so that they can have a glass of juice, when we switch to wine, we're going to have to change this practice.:lol:
 

johnny

Puritan Board Sophomore
ESV John 6:12 And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples,
“Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.”

Does this verse suggest that we should be careful to maintain reverence for the elements.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Although we are not Catholics yet I do believe that the ordinance should be accorded due
reverence even by the children. They are to be taught by example that the elements though ordinary,
yet are the means of grace. That they signify the blood and body of Christ, and therefore not to be
lightly esteemed or used ignorantly. Being the preserve of believers it may be the means of provoking
the children to a godly jealously.

But this only holds within the covenantal service. Outside of the service it loses these connotations. The only other alternative is Roman Catholicism. Rome is consistent on this point. If we "venerate" (I know, that's a bad term) the elements, then there must be something within them that makes them so. On the Reformed gloss the elements are important only because of the Word in the Service spoken over them. Take away the Service aspect and it's a different story.

And again, the bread will probably go stale and I don't see how trashing it is reverent.

And if we are using grape juice...well...that is a very different question.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
ESV John 6:12 And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples,
“Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.”

Does this verse suggest that we should be careful to maintain reverence for the elements.

Why would we reverence them? He probably told them to gather them up because they were hungry. And John 6:12 isn't sacramental.
 

Jake

Puritan Board Senior
We tend to cut the rest of the loaf into slices for consumption in the fellowship meal we have following morning worship. I think most of the wine we put into the cup has been depleted and the bottle is used later. I don't see any reason to not use it as such.
 

TylerRay

Puritan Board Graduate
We tend to cut the rest of the loaf into slices for consumption in the fellowship meal we have following morning worship. I think most of the wine we put into the cup has been depleted and the bottle is used later. I don't see any reason to not use it as such.

Jake, I didn't even realize that we do this at our congregation. I was about to suggest it as a way of making use of the bread without causing any confusion or disrespect about the Supper. I've no doubt eaten the bread at lunch without realizing it was the same loaf as from the Supper!

The problem comes, I think, when the bread and wine are casually eaten after the service from the dishes and table that was set for the observance of the sacrament. I wouldn't want to be dogmatic about that, but it does seem to allow for some confusion.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Just making an observation not imputing motive to anyone here.

I have long been an advocate of frequent (weekly or more) communion. The common objection is that it won't be "as special" (and in the Deep South we say "spay-shul"). The same people who urged the "special" objection are the same who would want to ______preserve/reserve/????_________ the elements afterwards.

Now, if we are using the stale chiclets, then they will keep forever and so preserving them is easy. Of course, no one willingly eats the chiclets except on the ground that it symbolizes Jesus. Nor has anyone ever been excited about drinking grape juice.

The bread won't always keep, in which case we throw it away. Trash cans really don't seem respectful to me--if the objection holds. I would probably get in trouble if I threw a Bible in the trash.
 

Jake

Puritan Board Senior
We tend to cut the rest of the loaf into slices for consumption in the fellowship meal we have following morning worship. I think most of the wine we put into the cup has been depleted and the bottle is used later. I don't see any reason to not use it as such.

Jake, I didn't even realize that we do this at our congregation. I was about to suggest it as a way of making use of the bread without causing any confusion or disrespect about the Supper. I've no doubt eaten the bread at lunch without realizing it was the same loaf as from the Supper!

The problem comes, I think, when the bread and wine are casually eaten after the service from the dishes and table that was set for the observance of the sacrament. I wouldn't want to be dogmatic about that, but it does seem to allow for some confusion.

A couple of the children were cutting it last week, which is the bread we had with our meal. :)
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
Although we are not Catholics yet I do believe that the ordinance should be accorded due
reverence even by the children. They are to be taught by example that the elements though ordinary,
yet are the means of grace. That they signify the blood and body of Christ, and therefore not to be
lightly esteemed or used ignorantly. Being the preserve of believers it may be the means of provoking
the children to a godly jealously.

But this only holds within the covenantal service. Outside of the service it loses these connotations. The only other alternative is Roman Catholicism. Rome is consistent on this point. If we "venerate" (I know, that's a bad term) the elements, then there must be something within them that makes them so. On the Reformed gloss the elements are important only because of the Word in the Service spoken over them. Take away the Service aspect and it's a different story.

I want my (young) children to know that they cannot partake of the bread during the service, but can partake of the same bread (substance) after the service precisely because I want them to understand that it is the context + substance which deserves reverence, not the substance itself.

Our deacon normally folds leftovers (cut flat bread) in a napkin in his shirt pocket and gives to the very young kids after the service.
 

johnny

Puritan Board Sophomore
ESV John 6:12 And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples,
“Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.”

Does this verse suggest that we should be careful to maintain reverence for the elements.

Why would we reverence them? He probably told them to gather them up because they were hungry. And John 6:12 isn't sacramental.

Thanks Jacob,
I shall continue to feed our one legged Magpie Lark in good conscience.:)

I now believe this verse may apply to the Church (twelve baskets = twelve tribes)
 

OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
We save our wine for next time until the bottle is gone. I know the person who brings the loaf of bread for the Lord's Supper takes it home with them to eat. I'm sure if there was nothing to eat for the Bible study snack they would butter up the loaf of bread and put it out for others to eat. My thoughts on this (which could be completely wrong) is that desecrating the Lord's Supper would be in the act of allowing those who are not allowed at the Lord's Table to participate. It would be liken unto writing all over one's Bible little notes of thought. Writing on the Bible's pages doesn't desecrate it or change it's meaning, but misinterpreting it and teaching others wrong beliefs is. So it's not the physical Bible or the physical bread and wine that's sacred but it's truths and meanings.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
In certain Anglican circles, and some Church of Ireland ministers still do this very thing, it has been known for the minister to eat all the left-over bread and drink all the wine remaining in the common cup. Why? In order to prevent a Romish veneration of the bread and wine after the sacrament has been administered.
 

Travis Fentiman

Puritan Board Freshman
But this only holds within the covenantal service. Outside of the service it loses these connotations. The only other alternative is Roman Catholicism. Rome is consistent on this point. If we "venerate" (I know, that's a bad term) the elements, then there must be something within them that makes them so. On the Reformed gloss the elements are important only because of the Word in the Service spoken over them. Take away the Service aspect and it's a different story.

I want my (young) children to know that they cannot partake of the bread during the service, but can partake of the same bread (substance) after the service precisely because I want them to understand that it is the context + substance which deserves reverence, not the substance itself.


Tim, These are my thoughts exactly.
 

Travis Fentiman

Puritan Board Freshman
Do note that the brazen serpent had a God given authority and power for the purpose (to heal the people by looking to it during the plague), but after the plague it was no more special or different than any other stick of brass. The temptation afterward was not to treat it as a common thing (which it was), but the temptation was to treat it as if it was still set apart by God and special (as they superstitiously came to idolize it, as recorded in scripture).
 

Fly Caster

Puritan Board Sophomore
The bread and wine have been "set-apart," correct? Unless at some point they are un-"set-apart," I don't see how refraining from using them for common purposes (ex.snacking) equates Romish superstition in any form.
 

littlepeople

Puritan Board Freshman
they are set aside to a holy use. Once the holy use expires, they should be used and treated as common. Otherwise they changed in nature.
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
I now believe this verse may apply to the Church (twelve baskets = twelve tribes)

If I understand you correctly, I would caution from trying to find allegorical meaning here. Since there were twelve disciples, it seems probable that all twelve collected leftovers using their own basket. I would rather see the miraculous event of abundance and provision for what it is than to speculate on a "deeper" meaning regarding the church.

See Calvin's commentary on 1 Cor. 9:9 on cautioning against allegory. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/view.cgi?bk=45&ch=9
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
I now believe this verse may apply to the Church (twelve baskets = twelve tribes)

If I understand you correctly, I would caution from trying to find allegorical meaning here. Since there were twelve disciples, it seems probable that all twelve collected leftovers using their own basket. I would rather see the miraculous event of abundance and provision for what it is than to speculate on a "deeper" meaning regarding the church.

See Calvin's commentary on 1 Cor. 9:9 on cautioning against allegory. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/view.cgi?bk=45&ch=9

No man hates allegory more than me, but allegory and typological echoes aren't the same thing. "12" is an important number in Scripture and not easily dismissed.
 

Captain Picard

Puritan Board Freshman
I think there is a big difference between consuming the elements afterwards (as in the practice of the Anglican and Irish Churches mentioned above) and for example, putting them in a trash can. I do not feel that the elements of a sacred ordinance, once set aside, become fully ordinary after their use is ended. Storing the wine for later use was mentioned. It would not be right to simply casually drink the rest of the bottle, I don't think. To draw what I think is a closer analogy to the bread being in the trash, it would still more be wrong to use the wine in a party, or become (even lightly) inebriated with it.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
The temptation afterward was not to treat it as a common thing (which it was), but the temptation was to treat it as if it was still set apart by God and special (as they superstitiously came to idolize it, as recorded in scripture).

A very pertinent example. What was the remedy for this temptation? The item was destroyed so as to take away the possibility of abusing it to idolatry.

The temptation to idolatry would be a reason against making a common use of the leftover bread and wine. The bare knowledge that this is the same bread and wine used in the sacrament must make it "different" to any other bread and wine in the perception of those who partake of it.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
The temptation afterward was not to treat it as a common thing (which it was), but the temptation was to treat it as if it was still set apart by God and special (as they superstitiously came to idolize it, as recorded in scripture).

A very pertinent example. What was the remedy for this temptation? The item was destroyed so as to take away the possibility of abusing it to idolatry.

The temptation to idolatry would be a reason against making a common use of the leftover bread and wine. The bare knowledge that this is the same bread and wine used in the sacrament must make it "different" to any other bread and wine in the perception of those who partake of it.

Exactly. My experience when observing children who've been allowed to snack on the elements after the service is that they don't quite think of them as ordinary bread and juice. Kids enjoy eating and drinking the elements in part because they realize they have had a special purpose. Those kids may not even be able to fully understand that the special purpose is over once the service ends. The special purpose is part of what makes their snack fun to them.

So while I understand the impulse to let kids chow down on leftover Communion bread as a statement that we aren't Roman Catholics, I wonder if the message we actually send, inadvertantly, is that the Supper may be treated lightly and for fun. Sometimes we can get so focused on counteracting another's error that we allow a different error ourselves. For this reason, I still think it's wiser to simply dispose of the leftovers and be done with them, especially where children are concerned. Other practices risk communicating an unintended message.
 
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