By Joseph Strong
Never mind falling numbers, closing Ecclesias and being increasingly seen as out of touch cranks, as the letters page of this month's "Christadelphian" shows, there are far greater problems that need column inches:
Could I please make a plea, and I am sure that I am not alone here, that ecclesias consider using glutenfree bread instead of normal bread for the emblems at the memorial service. For those who suffer from a coeliac condition (and more seem to be succumbing to the problem), taking a morsel of normal bread can make you quite ill. When visiting other ecclesias you are left wondering if you can take the bread, if you have not had opportunity to ascertain its nature beforehand. If you partake you can end up becoming quite ill, and if you don’t you might cause offence.
Your brother in Christ,
As a service to the community that we left, we feel able to help you with this clearly pressing problem. Myself and the children have put our minds to it, and offer the following advice:
- Take a small slice of your own bread from home and ask the president to put it on the plate before the service starts, and explain your reasoning. That way you can take a morsel without fear when the time comes, and if anybody else has a bit, it won't do them any harm. Many thanks to Jessica (11) for this practical solution for this major difficulty. It took her nearly five seconds to come up with this solution.
- Try to remember that there is nothing special about the bread. It is, as you say, an "emblem". It does not get turned into the body of Jesus.
- You should not risk your own health because of the small risk that someone may be offended. If unsure, just don't take the bread. Your relationship with God must be stronger than that. It is he that gave you coeliac disease, and is aware of your limitations. He will not hold it against you at the judgment seat. If a Brother or Sister is offended, simply explain the situation to them. In doing so, you will heap coals upon their head.