TBT – How Many Cups at the Lord’s Supper?
This article was written by Winsor Chase and published in “Light and Liberty”, January 1932. Titles have been added.
The question was asked, “Is it scriptural to use individual cups at the Lord’s table?” It is impossible to answer this question by a “thus saith the Lord,” for scripture does not contain direct instruction on the subject. The writer has been a participant of the Lord’s Supper for fifty years, with as few as five, as many as eight hundred, and regularly around forty.
For the five there was one cup, for the eight hundred several cups, for the forty two cups. In reality the factor determining the number of cups to use was the number of participants. It would take too long to serve a great number with one cup. Then we were in a meeting with just sixteen participants, and each one had an individual cup.
What about diseases?
Of recent years a mild agitation has arisen as to the danger of communicable diseases being carried by the common use of the communion cup. No one could positively say that such a danger is not present, but it would be difficult, if not impossible, to prove in any particular case that infection had been conveyed by its use.
We remember hearing, several years ago, of a Christian physician with tuberculosis, who carried a spoon with him to the meeting, and dipped from the cup his participation, rather than touch it with his lips to endanger others. His medical knowledge and experience made him careful for others.
Not to be forced
Personally we are in favor of the use of individual cups, but would not try to force their use on an assembly where there were conscientious objectors. Are we in danger of being over-occupied with the lesser things, and overlook the weightier matters of this sacred ordinance?
Why not as well discuss whether the cup should be glass, china or silver as the number to be used. When we celebrate the Lord’s Supper is it not of the “fruit of the vine,” which the cup or cups contain, that our Lord said, “This is my blood shed for you?”
The spiritual mind will look beyond the ordinance and its necessary utensils, whether they be one or many, to the risen Lord crowned with glory and honor, who at its institution said, “Do this in remembrance of me.”