When Communion is Poison

Having written about the inclusiveness of Communion.

I felt like admitting that often I can’t eat the elements.

I have a gluten allergy and a sulpher allergy, so the bread and wine, the metaphor and the representation of Christ’s blood and body can be a major problem.

Now many church’s in Australia will serve a seperate gluten free bread, and often grape juice is substituted for wine. But the sulpher from the fruit, will still send me into a stinging rash and feeling of weirdness that happens over my being.

If the elements are served individually, sometimes I might partly partake, but if the intinction method is employed a seperate cup or individual glasses need to be available to prevent gluten contamination in the communion wine. If you need to serve the elements but are unsure of allergic reactions please consult the people concerned or https://allergyfacts.org.au or https://www.coeliac.org.au.

Also to make matter’s worse I suffer from panic attacks and if this happens while standing in the midst of a congregation I feel like I will die both physically and metaphorically.

So sometimes I sit.

Sometimes  I stand with everyone and ask for a blessing instead.

Because being a part of God’s body is important to me I continue to struggle with this.

I tell my self that when I eat out with the women, that I am also participating in God’s Body there.

I tell myself that when I enjoy a coffee with a small group that I am participating in the sacrament then too.

My biggest concern is that I cause others to worry about me, either for my physical or my  spiritual wellbeing.

This ritual, this sacrament, as recorded in the Bible, as practiced by previous generations,   instead of making me feel included, can make me feel more isolated. I don’t believe that is the aim of it.

We are called to be inclusive, this practice is the physical statement of that. Personally I don’t feel excluded because this body I was born into fails me. God is so much bigger to me than that. Genesis tells me that all God made was Good. Me too.


Wendy L.





2 thoughts on “When Communion is Poison

  1. Good reminder to be inclusive of those with food allergies or intolerances. My husband reacts to both gluten & sulphites as well . It doesn’t sound as bad as you, as he usually has the communion grape juice with no ill effects but generally anything else that might contain sulphites (including corn starch as usually softened in sulphur dioxide before being made into corn starch).
    We had a lady in our church who used to bring her own rice cracker (as she couldn’t even eat the gluten free bread) & she had it with water (we often use the small communion glasses). Hers was served on a separate small silver tray/dish. If we do communion by intinction we have a separate cup of grape juice for the gluten free people.


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