Church Communion Should Not Be Environmentally Destructive

Church Communion Should Not Be Environmentally Destructive January 7, 2023

About a year ago, my church changed how it administers communion at its Sunday morning worship service. Previously, it had always passed out plates to us congregants that had small crackers and little plastic cups filled with grape juice. That had been pretty standard practice among churches during my lifetime. I always assumed the plastic cups were afterwards cleaned and reused, thus leaving no waste products. Of course, that requires some minimal labor in the washing of the cups.

But about a year ago, my church started using a communion product that appears to be produced by a company identified as Simply Communion. Since I have a conscience that is partially keen on limiting environmental waste when possible, I immediately thought that using this product seemed unnecessarily wasteful and perhaps destructive to the environment. How so?

Our world is increasingly having a plastic waste problem. Most single use plastic winds up in land fills where it may takes decades to decompose, and experts say the large majority of it never will. There has been a growing industry to recycle single-use plastic waste, but the amount recycled is far less than consumers have been led to believe. Local governments therefore have been passing laws to limit single-use plastic waste.

In my book about the second coming of Christ, entitled Warrior from Heaven, I quote a text in the book of Revelation about the Judgment. It says that at that time the twenty-four elders in heaven will sing to God about the Judgment that is about to ensue. Their lyrics include, “the time for judging the dead, for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints and all who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying those whose who destroy the earth” (Revelation 11.18). That last clause is rather sobering when you think about environmentalism.

I now notice that Christianity Today, the #1 Christian magazine in the land, has a full-page spread of Simply Communion advertising their product. It appears to be the one my church is using. I looked at their website simplycommunion.com.

Their website says they have a recycling program. But they don’t anything about it, even in their meager FAQ. I assume they mean that their customers, church officials, return the used products to Simply Communion and they recycle them. But I’d like to know how they are doing that. Otherwise, I don’t feel so good when I take communion at church. That’s not how this most sacred act that I do all week is supposed to be.

The Simply Communion website says its parent company is Christian Wolf, Inc. I looked them up as well. Their website says they have been a “Manufacturer of Handmade Communion Wafers Since 1873.” Just out of curiosity, I’d like to know how they got the name Christian Wolf since that seems like a oxymoron. Is that some person’s name?

Anyway, Christian Wolf makes me think of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Jesus compared his followers to sheep. He said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away–and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. . . . My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me” (John 10.27).

So, I’m wondering if I’m really following Jesus by using these single-use communion products that may be polluting the earth. Am I just being overly sensitive or what? The main caption on the Simply Communion advertisement in Christianity Today says, “Is the sanctity of your COMMUNION being interrupted?” Yeah, with unnecessary waste?

What say you?


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