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December 21, 2011

Christmas Communion Bread – Leavened or Unleavened?

by Justin Williams
Communion

I am really excited about our upcoming Christmas Eve service and Communion (Lord’s Supper).  I started thinking about how we would serve the bread and juice, and I decided I didn’t just want to use the little crackers you buy for communion. So I started looking for recipes for communion bread, and to my surprise the majority of them had a form of leaven in them.  I really wanted to find a recipe that was unleavened.

Why Unleavened Communion Bread…

The word unleavened is found nine times in the New Testament. It is derived from the Greek adjective azumos meaning “unleavened” or “free from yeast/leaven.” Often times leaven was symbolic of sin.

7 Purge out the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, even as ye are unleavened. For our passover also hath been sacrificed, [even] Christ: 8 wherefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.  (1 Corinthians 5:7-8 ASV)

Scripture also instructs us not to partake of the Lord’s Supper/Communion unworthily.

27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. (1 Corinthians 11:27-29 ESV)

I believe it to be a matter of preference, but I really appreciate the symbolism of the bread being unleavened (without sin), because we are to be free from sin when we partake of communion.  Also, Christ instructed us to eat of the bread…

24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” (1 Corinthians 11:24 ESV)

I think its important to note two things here… 1. the bread is symbolic (in remembrance) of Christ body.  This is not transubstantiation (elements of Christ physical body), and 2. Christ was without sin in body and spirit.   So it makes perfect since that communion (an ordinance in which we partake in remembrance) would have unleavened bread.

I am not legalistic concerning this matter so here is my closing advice on the choice to go leavened or unleavened.  Get alone with God and use the bread that He instructs you to use.  With all honesty it is not about the bread, it is about allowing the Holy Spirit to change you into the image of Christ.

In the end I never found a recipe that was adequate for what I was looking for.  The ingredients or proportion amounts were always off.  The following recipe is one I put together using a couple of the ones I found online.  This should make 25 larger pieces or 50 smaller bite size pieces, perfect for small congregations.  Just double or triple the ingredients to produce more.  Enjoy!!

Communion Bread – Matzah (Hebrew) – Azumos (Greek)

Ingredients

2 Cups of All-Purpose Flour (NOT self-rising)
3/4 Cup of Water
½ -2 Tbs of Olive Oil

(Keep extra water and flour on hand to obtain correct consistency)

Texture

½ Tbs of Oil – Cracker

1 Tbs of Oil – Crunchy Bread

2 Tbs of Oil – Soft Bread

Instructions

Mix all ingredients to a good consistency not too sticky and not too powdery.

(If to sticky add flour, and if too powdery add water)

Knead (Press, Fold, Stretch) for 5-10 minutes

Make large nice smooth ball

Instructions Continued Larger Bread Option

Cut in Half

And then take the two halves and make six smaller balls.

Flatten and roll out each ball real thin

Place on baking pan

Dock (prick) holes on entire surface

Bake on 400 – 475 degrees for about 5-6 minutes

Place on paper towel or wax paper till cool

Instructions Continued Wafer Option

Flatten and roll out the ball with rolling pin into a large sheet

Place on baking pan

Dock (prick) holes on entire surface

Take round cookie cutter and cut out numerous wafers

Remove excess

Bake on 400 degrees for about 5-6 minutes

Place on paper towel or wax paper till cool.

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