by Robert Brow (www.brow.on.ca) Aurora, Ontario, April 2008


 In Bible times bread and wine (safer than polluted water) were the
 diet of ordinary families. The cheapest bread was made from barley
 (e.g. the five barley loaves the boy offered (John 6:9). It was rolled
 out flat (like chapattis or pita bread), and usually served with a
 small amount of fish for flavor (Luke 24:42 , John 21:9, and as in the
 feeding of the 5,000 and 4,000). The bread was leavened (Matthew
 13:33), and unleavened bread was mainly used in memory of the
 Wheat bread was a luxury (as in the choice flour, Genesis 18:6). New
 wine came right out of the wine vat (on a hot day fermentation began
 immediately) but the best wine (Luke 5:39) was kept in wine skins for
 several years. Wine was always served at a wedding (John 2:3, 10). The
 ceremonial serving of bread and wine goes back at least to the time of
 Abraham. "King Melchizedek of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was
 priest of God Most High" (Genesis14:18). Bread and wine also expressed
 the invitation of the Spirit to God's table. "Come, eat of my bread
 and drink of the wine I have mixed" (Proverbs 9:5).
 These are some of the meanings suggested in the Bible. This is why the
 Christian communion meal (called the Breaking of Bread, Acts 2:42, 46;
 20:7) shares in the bread and wine (Matthew 26:26-28, Mark 14:22-24,
 Luke 22:19-20, 1 Corinthians 10:16, 11:23-26). Jesus used them to
 express the idea of being welcomed to his family table and
 reconciliation with one another. As instituted the day before his
 crucifixion it was also a reminder of his cross and resurrection.
 Robert Brow

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