So a team of American bible teachers who are visiting with Christians in Zimbabwe, were faced with questions about what they were to use in communion. Apparently the locals had a difficult time obtaining unleavened bread and any kind of beverage made with grapes. I don't know what the right answer is, but here are some of my thoughts:
- Jesus used things that were easily obtainable in the area where he lived. People had easy access to wine and unleavened bread. Jews had been using those in the Passover meal for centuries.
- I will bet that most protestant churches do not use unleavened bread and wine during communion. Of the eight churches that I have regularly attended during my life, only one of them served wine during communion. The others used grape juice. As for the bread, I have had unleavened bread, but I had a lot of other kinds of "bread" during communions. I've been to churches who used Matza crackers, a loaf of French bread, saltine crackers, oyster crackers, Triscuit crackers, and something else that sure did look like smashed up chips from the local Mexican restaurant.
- If churches in the US use such a wide variety of items, why should we not expect to see some variation in what is used in churches around the world?
- I don't know what kinds of crops the church in Zimbabwe has to work with, but I bet they could make unleavened bread. I've made it before and all it takes is some type of flower, water, and salt. Maybe there is difficultly in getting clean water? The national dish of the country is called "Sadza" and it sounds like cornbread minus yeast to me. That sounds like it might meet the requirements for "unleavened bread" - if it were baked.
- As for the wine, what about using juice from some of their native fruits? They can grow Mangoes, lemons, oranges, and apples. Wine can made from Mangoes and apples.