By now most of the members of the Iglesia Ni Cristo should have finished partaking of the Holy Supper. Every since we were baptised we have been told that this is one of the most sacred events in the church and so we should never joke about it or make fun of it. And I agree. However some Ministers sure make it difficult for the rest of us.
Since it is a holy event, the Ministers (and Head Deacons as well) should do everything they can to avoid creating anything that would bring a smile or a smirk to the faces of brethren. I am talking about the missteps or should I simply say the errors they commit during this holiest of holy occasions.
I am NOT talking about the regular silliness some ministers saying things like “Please bless our Executive Minister, the most important man on earth”. I am talking about the term that is used in the prayers around this time of year. That is, when they are praying. It becomes both a challenge and a tongue-twister for many who attempt this mine-field. Can you guess what I am simply referring to? Ready? When the Minister (and oftentimes the Head Deacon) struggles to pray for the juice that “symbolises the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ”. It is such a sacred moment don’t you think? When you think of the symbolism and the importance of this moment that we drink to remember the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. And yet, when these moments come, instead of us being fully immersed in the moment, we are distracted by the bloopers of those praying. Here is what comes out, and many of you know this…
“Please bless the Juice of the vine.”
“Bless the Fruit of the Vine”
“We shall now drink the Fruit of the Juice of the vine”
and who knows what other variations others may have heard.
Let’s clear this up.
The juice of the vine is actually water. When you cut open the vine, water from the xylem and phloem (Biology 101) is transported along with the nutrients that the plant needs.
The fruit of the vine is the actual grape.
The Fruit of the juice of the vine… mmm I don’t think that actually exists. Well, I guess… it would be eventually the grape, after the water is transported… and then it.. never mind. It’s not right. Cannot justify it. Sorry
The actual term that many are trying to say is the Juice of the Fruit of the Vine. In short, grape juice. So if some are struggling to say the juice of the fruit of the vine, why not simply say Grape Juice? Yes, it may not be as poetic in the prayers. It may not sound as biblical, because we can’t really imagine the Lord Jesus yelling “Everyone drink up the grape juice!”. It does not have that solemn feel to it. But that’s what it is. So for the sake of avoiding big bloopers, why not simplify it and say grape juice? It is not wrong. It IS the juice of the fruit of the vine. It is accurate. Just don’t say “drink the Welch”. That would be like my dad saying “Get the Kodak.”
And let me add, to answer those who did that episode in Net25 saying that it is ok to have honey wine because they drank wine in the Bible. What they drank was, grape juice. Wine is fermented grape juice. The term for fermented grape juice or wine is OINOS. None of those who wrote about the Holy Supper used the term oinos, meaning it was not wine or fermented juice that they used; it was grape juice, or as we have discussed, the juice of the fruit of the vine. It is not alcoholic. So for that program on NET25 to say it is ok to have wine, that is against the very doctrines we have been taught. Is NET25 still the T.V. station of the Church of Christ? Or is that now also run by the MDC? Somehow nowadays, when they say “oh it’s the MDC!” It’s ok to do the worldly things (If you don’t know what I am talking about, please see the previous article “Looking at the MDC”)
Back to the Holy Supper. What is different about the Holy Supper this year from many previous years, is that, as it has become in the last several months, many a prayer for EVM. What is sad, is that this occasion is supposed to be in commemoration of the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. THE VERY PURPOSE OF THE HOLY SUPPER! And yet in the prayers, Jesus is hardly mentioned. Nevertheless, prayers for the well being of EVM is never forgotten! From the opening prayer to the last prayer. What is even sadder, immediately after partaking of the Holy Supper, when ministers would often mention that we will now “proclaim the Lord’s death” by sharing our faith, by telling people about His sacrifices, it is replaced with “Please bless EVM!!”. No mention of “Proclaiming the Lord’s death”. Was it only our locale who did this? Did the others remember Jesus and less of EVM? You tell me. I might have just revealed myself! (Probably some Ministers are thinking, “did I mention it in my prayer?”)
Well, that is about it for this year’s Holy Supper. Until next year when they will once again be challenged with the vine of the juicy fruit. I hope they find ways to get around it or perfect it.