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Practices may vary, but churches around the world share in ‘sweet communion.’


Worship with Christians in Togo and you’ll likely drink fruit of the vine from a calabash — a hollowed-out gourd cut in half.
It’s equally likely that you’ll drink it in a mud building with a thatched roof — or under a tree, said Brett Emerson, a missionary who works with the Kabiye people in this West African nation.
Compared to most churches in the U.S., communion in Togo may seem informal, Emerson said. But the Kabiye consider the Lord’s Supper to be a time of celebration.
“Their own traditional, animistic beliefs require a systematic series of sacrifices,” he said, “and when they learn that Christ sacrificed himself once and for all … they are full of joy.”
Around the globe, Christians begin each week by sharing in remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice. The emblems of his body and blood vary slightly from place to place. At churches in eastern Nepal, for example, the fruit of the vine is green, reflecting the color of grapes that are easiest to obtain, said Abha Eli Phoboo, a church member from the capital city of Kathmandu.
How Christians take the emblems varies as well. In France, church members rise from their seats and form a line to take communion, said minister Jean Paul Hundley. The wait “does give more time to think about what you are doing,” Hundley said.  
Regardless of how it’s taken, the meaning behind the Lord’s Supper is universal, Hundley said. “We are remembering the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord.”
For Christians abroad, communion with fellow saints can have profound meaning. In Saudi Arabia, where non-Muslim faiths gather in secret, small groups of believers meet to praise God and take the Lord’s Supper, a church member working in the Middle Eastern nation told The Christian Chronicle.   
“Sincere faith under duress is most fulfilling,” said the church member, who requested that his name be withheld. Thousands of miles from home, it’s easy to feel lonely, he added, but communion is a reminder of the constant presence of God.
“No matter where you are — in prison, in Africa or in Nashville, Tenn., your finest association is with Jesus Christ,” he said.
Roger Pritchett, who served as a missionary in Kenya for eight years, thinks of his brothers and sisters in Africa — and the time difference that separates them  — when he takes the Lord’s Supper with his congregation in Little Rock, Ark.
“It is remarkable to think that at any given time — from sometime on Saturday until Monday — people around the world are celebrating the body and blood of Jesus in a way similar to me,” Pritchett said.
“Our fellowship in … that sacred feast may be the single strongest bond among believers of all cultures this side of heaven.”

  • Feedback
    I never thought I would think twice about ‘wheat’ being used in the communion bread. But after been diagnosed with Celiac Disease ( an intolerance to gluten which is in wheat ,rye and barley) , I had to think about the partaking of the bread in a different why. After studying and research, making my bread with rice flour or potato starch, I feel confident I’am worshiping the Lord in a pleasing way. Cheryl, Tulsa
    ,
    May, 8 2008

    We come reverently before a Holy Lord
    We waited patiently to hear the Word
    And we seek His favor in one accord
    Let us be still
    We break bread and in our minds we see
    His body scarred on Calvary
    And He whispers, “Remember me.”
    Let us be still
    And the cup we drink, we do as one
    For the Man who suffered all alone
    Who in anguish cried, “It is done.”
    Let us be still
    And when our hurried week pours back in
    And our thoughts betray our hearts through sin
    Hark this plea and pray this prayer again
    Let us be still
    -Jason Goldtrap, 12.05.05
    ,
    May, 3 2008

    Interesting read. Whether it is Tago or Nashville or Laredo, Texas, where I am, it is the same – a celebration of Christ. We do it a bit different most of the time. We have one pray for both the bread and fruit of the view, and then we pass them in series. We usually tell the members to take all the time they want before eating and drinking. Sometimes, we ask our members to come to the table. It is whatever works to celebrate the Christ, the death, burial, and resurrection. Thanks for the story.
    Chuck Owen, Laredo, Texas.
    ,
    April, 25 2008

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