16 February 2007

Reliquae

Tossing the ransom price for the sins of this world in the trash? The blood of Christ treated as garbage? More than one person has raised this criticism against LCMS parishes with the rise of those little plastic cups that you can toss. (Note that when individual cups were introduced they were many times made also of precious metal - my home parish had miniature silver chalices! - or glass. That would still seem to be the preferred way to go if you absolutely HAVE to keep them, but better far, in my opinion, is to do what the Churches of the Augsburg Confession did from the beginning of the Reformation: drink from the one chalice.)

In later Lutheran Orthodoxy, the teaching of receptionism took hold: namely, that the Lord joins His Body and Blood in sacramental union only to that which is actually consummed. Thus, if you spill from the chalice, all you've spilled is wine. For the Lord's blood joins itself only to what goes down the gullet. This shows up, for example, in Loehe's Catechism at question 863:

"Why is there no danger of spilling any of Christ's blood?

Answer: Because the Almighty Lord unites His Blood with the wine that is drunk, but not with the drops of wine that are spilled. The error of the Romanists is a consequence of their wrong teaching that there is only Blood, and nerely the appearance of wine, in the Holy Supper." (p. 174)

This sort of thinking is what has led to the sloppy practice that shows up across our Synod. What a contrast with the Blessed Reformer, Dr. Luther, who when the chalice was spilled during distribution in his later years, actually cut out the part of the lady's dress on which it was spilled and had the chair where the drops fell also planed and then both fabric and wood shavings burned. Or consider how, when he spilled the chalice and it fell to the floor, he carefully set the chalice back on the altar and got on his hands and knees and lapped it up off the floor like a dog - upon which the congregation burst into tears.

Was Luther merely retaining his catholic piety and Loehe expressing the true Lutheran view? Or was it vice-versa? And which approach accords with the actual words of institution? Did the Lord say: "What you drink, that is my blood?" Or did He say: "Drink from it all of you - this cup is the new testament in my blood?" If you confess that our Lord's Words accomplish what they promise, it seems to me that we must confess that not merely what is received, but also what is on the altar and consecrated by the Words, is our Lord's body and blood - just as He himself declared.

All of which then brings us to the question of the disposal of the reliquae, the sacramental "left-overs". Obviously, the very best Lutheran precedent (witnessed by both Luther and Chemnitz) is to remove the question by making sure that ALL the reliquae are consummed immediately following the Divine Service. Who can argue with such practice? For surely of everything that our Lord declared His body and blood, of that He told us: "Take, eat, and drink."

But if your parish uses the disposable individual cups? Should they just be thrown into the trash? Reverence dictates: NO WAY, JOSE! At bare minimum the cups should all be rinsed and then that water reverently consummed or poured out upon the earth (not put down the sewer!), preferably through a piscina. This is a bit of a hassle, of course, but so are the individual cups from the get go. But it confesses with great reverence that what our Lord has said is most certainly true, and that we do not doubt His Word.

And if there are any avowed receptionists who read this (Dr. Strickert, are you still out and about?), I would argue that reverence for our Lord's Holy Supper would still dictate not allowing anything that was given over to the Lord's holy use to be treated as "common" and so "trashed."

65 comments:

Rev. Benjamin Mayes said...

Ayyy-MEN! Bjarne Teigen, The Lord's Supper in the Theology of Martin Chemnitz, says the same.

Pastor H.R. Curtis said...

You have identified the doctrinal problem in this (receptionism) - and Pr. Mayes has pointed folks in a good direction to undo that error: although a shorter read is a wonderful article by Scott Murray in Logia 9.3.

But there is one more problem: lazy pastors. It is easy to toss 100 hosts on a paten (even though you will never use more than 70) and then toss the "left overs" into a plastic ziplock bag to be used next week. It is harder to come up with a system for determinng the approximate number of communicants at each celebration and consumming all that was consecrated at the altar.

It is easy to have the altar guild tidy up and wash up the individual cups. It is harder for the pastor - the steward of the mysteries - to do his job and treat those cups (which hold the same Blood as the chalice) with the same respect as the chalice: that is, come back after the service, fill each one with water, ingest that water, and cleanse the cups.

If you don't believe in receptionism (and the ranks of those who do are constantly dwindlng, Deo gratias multissimas) then you have no excuse: quit being lazy and do the right thing.

+HRC

Eric Phillips said...

I agree entirely. I think the individual cups are probably worth the hassle, though, for certain people for whom the fear of germs or general "ick factor" might be a distraction. Also, "consuming" has just one "m." I think the word "consummation" is leading you astray.

Those are great Luther anecdotes.

Past Elder said...

When I was an elder, responsibility for good order in worship was part of the job. And part of that was preparing and disposing of the elements for Communion. Each Saturday, one of us would stop by the church and prepare hosts and fruit of the vine for each upcoming service, including an idea of how much was appropriate for each service. Then after the last service, one of us would stay and take care of disposal.

Now, I was an elder in WELS. Was that just a WELS thing, or could this not be something for LCMS elders to attend to? If an elder is to supervise the spriritual life of the congregation, it would seem to be something that the edlers would attend to since it obviously relates to the spiritual life of the congregation and the pastor expected it of us.

Past Elder said...

Sometime before I am gathered unto my ancestors I hope to have read everything I would have read had I grown up a nice LCMS boy and gone off to seminary rather than professed the Lutheran faith ten years ago at age 46. As it is, much of that waits for me on my Wish List on the CPH cite. Nonetheless, here goes.

Loehe's words make sense when viewed against the Roman church's borrowing the Aristotelian distinction between substance and accident to explain what happens in the Eucharist and then, as so often happens when we use philosophy in this way, confusing the explanation with the event itself -- transsubstantiation. But it does not make sense against the belief in Lutheran or Roman faith that Christ is really present in the elements. Maybe it's akin to the disappearance of making the sign of the cross or of private confession -- something that started as a sign of what we do not believe ended up abandoning things we do believe to avoid looking "too Catholic", or like Catholics without the pope as they used to say.

Well, why would we call them The Words of Institution (or at least TLH does) unless they institute something? Did not Luther write, in the Babylonian Captivity I think (it's too early to get up and check the reference), that the Sacrament is what it is not because of the power of a properly (read Roman) ordained priest speaking a properly (read Roman) ordained rite, ex opere operato, but because of the power of Christ and the promise attached to his words This is my body und so weiter.

The Latin even adds an intensifier -- hic est enim (for a fact, indeed) corpus meum, hic est enim calix sanguinis mei. The liturgy, Luther and Scripture are abundantly clear. The usus cannot begin with reception, but begins with the power of Christ's word and the promise he gives. The question then is, when does it end?

The Roman anwer is, it doesn't. For which reason after Communion the unused hosts, now the body of Christ, are placed in the tabernacle on the altar (well it used to be on the altar, but since the Revolution, er, Vatican II it's off to the side on what is called, if memory serves, the altar of reservation, leading to yet another absurd Roman observance, as if it needed more, of the faithful still genuflecting as a mark of reverence to Christ's physical presence toward the centre of the church where it used to be rather than to the side where it is -- one of these days he's going to shout Hey! They put me over here! to these guys) for later use if you run out, and then two ablutions are performed, one for the chalice and one for the priest's consecrated fingers.

What's our answer then? We don't have to throw stuff in the trash just to prove we don't believe in transsubstantiation and we know bread and the fruit of the vine are still present too. Scripture doesn't reveal clean up after the Last Seder, or Supper if you have to be Gentile about it. But it does make set up, so zu sagen, abundantly clear. Christ's body and blood are present by the power of his word and promise. So what do we do after reception?

Rome's answer, at least pre Vatican II, would be these are the sort of silly questions that happen when you try to be church apart from the visible church, so knock it off, come back in, and you won't have these problems. If I understand my most recent guide into the mind of EO, the unworthy priest and fool (his words, not mine!) Father Hogg, the East's answer is similar.

Or could it just be that God actually knew what he was doing when he inspired the Gospel writers (or the Q writers, or the kerygma proclaimers, for those of my literal or figurative classmates still out there tracking down the Historical Jesus and the Christ of Faith) to record set up but not clean up. We might like to know, but we don't need to. What we need to know is set up, and knowing what is set up, then regardless of whether that remains after the distribution or gets un-instituted after the distribution (the Luther stories were during, not after, distribution), whether as respect for a presence that is or that was, the question is removed not by recourse to Roman use of secular philosophy but by simply consuming all of what was used, reliquae and all. Who can argue with such practice? Nobody.

Whether is done by the minister during the service or after, or done by the elders after (one of my old duties)is not important. Just that it gets done.

And a Happy New Year (it's another year of the pig, in case you missed it) to you all!

William Weedon said...

Luther defined the sacramental action as starting with the "Oratio domini" (which I take to mean the speaking of our Lord and not the our Father - i.e., the Verba) and continuing until all had been communicated, the chalice had been drained, the hosts consumed and the communicants had left the altar. See WA, Briefwechsel, X, 348-349. This was his second letter in the famed Wolferinus exchange, written in 1543.

Past Elder said...

That would fit. It would also argue for consumption of all the elements used to be during and not after the service. Then you won't descend into throwing it out like trash or holding Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament either.

Although, Tantum Ergo and O Salutaris Hostia are two of the most beautiful pieces of the Gregorian repertoire. Being late Latin hymns they are more melodious and less chant like than most of it. But I'm more likely to hear them in the Contemporary Service in my LCMS parish than at the RC parish two blocks down the street!

Past Elder said...

And yes, the oratio domini is the verba, not the pater noster -- which in Roman usage is said at the end of the Canon, which contains the verba, after the "Little Elevation" (per ipsum et cum ipso et in ipso -- through him, with him and in him etc)before Communion. It is set off by the invitation, sung in a chant mass, by the priest -- praeceptis salutaribus moniti et divina institutione formati, audemus dicere, we make bold to say, then follows another great piece of the Gregorian repertoire, the pater noster, which forty years later I can still produce on demand!

Mark said...

The Luther anecdotes are striking and moving. At the same time, they seem overly hagiographic. Can you cite a source for them?

(Feel free to blame my early morning doubts on one of two things: lack of coffee or the recent three week stretch of temperatures below zero!)

William Weedon said...

The first account was recorded by John Hachenburg in *Wider den irrthumb der newen Zwinglianer nötige unterrichtung* (Erfurt: Merton von Dolgen, 1557). Piepkorn is the source of the reference, in *The Church* pp. 283, 284. But I've read about it elsewhere too. The event happened in 1544 (Pieps refers to WA, Briefwechsel X, 337) and a related bit from Table Talk: WA, Tischreden, V, 416.

The second account - of Luther licking up from the floor - is also from Hachenburg, and is cited by Hardt in his dissertation:

When Luther in this way draws borderlines between himself and what is outside of the use, he is not drawing borderlines within the action commanded by Christ, from the consecration to the distribution of the last particle and the last drop. If, within the mass commanded by Christ, the chalice is accidentally spilled, this misfortune has happened to the true blood of Christ; Luther speaks of how such an accident, which is not necessarily due to any sin, is followed by great fear and trembling in the good Christian. (WA 26:595.31ff.) We are also informed as to how Luther actually acted. Such an accident occurred at the distribution of communion in the town church at Wittenberg in the year 1542, when Luther and the officiating pastor and the deacon, with the greatest reverence and in deep excitement, attempted to consume the poured out blood of Christ from the floor of the sanctuary. The witness writes: "This accident touched Doctor Martin's heart so profoundly that he sighed about it and said: 'Oh God, help!' His eyes were also full of tears." (Johann Hachenburg. Wider denn irrthumb der newen zwinglianer, Errfurdt 1557, fol. F a f.)

I believe that Sasse also mentions this incident in particular, but I can't remember the exact reference.

William Tighe said...

And all of these accounts are described in great detail in the Peters Th.D. dissertation to which I referred on another thread (Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, 1968)

William Weedon said...

Dr. Tighe,

Thanks so much for the reminder on the Peters dissertation. I have seen it referenced so often, and I always mean to pick it up and read it, but keep forgetting it. Well, I'm writing it down now so when next in St. Louis, I intend to nab that puppy. Thanks!

Mark said...

Thanks for the citations.

As always, I appreciate your depth of scholarship and you depth of pastoral sensibility.

William Tighe said...

There is another dissertation, too, that deals more directly with (among other things) the issue of the reliquiae:

Keith Killinger, *Hoc Facite: The Role of the Words of Institution in the Lutheran Understanding and Celebration of the Lord's Supper in the Sixteenth Century.* Th.D. diss., Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago, 1991.

A kind of synopsis of part of the dissertation can be found at "Domesticating an Untamed Sacramental Rule" by Keith Killinger, *Lutheran Quarterly,* Vol. VII, No. 4 (Winter 1993), pp. 401-424, but the article itself focuses, interestingly but narrowly, on the issue of the commencement and duration of the sacramental union, viewed from the historical vantage of the differing emphases of Luther and Melanchthon.

David Clapper said...

Re how many hosts to use ... in my wife's congregation (Episcopal), they would put a host box with unconsecrated hosts and the paten on a table in the narthex. When the communicants came in, they would, using a small pair of "tongs", take a host for each communicant in their family and place it into the paten. The priest added a few for those who inevitably forgot, and voila, just about the right number ... and the reliquiae are easily consumed.

dspeers said...

Ok, just one question concerning this concern with proper reverence for the elements, after the Divine Service. How far does one go? How many times does one lick the floor, (and given the fact that while we might be able to spot most of the spill, how far from the spill, do we calculate, (perhaps employ a physicist who can do the job properly, the farthest possible distance it could have gone), and then clear the people out and get busy with our tongues? How many times do we rinse and drink from the cups, even the chalice.

I am very much concerned with proper reverence and respect, but, I am afraid that rationalism, which is at the heart of some of these machinations (especially as Rome does reflect Aristotle and their willingness to answer questions which are NOT answered by God, where they stand reason on a par with revelation), can honestly find that this discussion will degenerate into a nightmare. Honestly, HOW MANY TIMES do you rinse out the individual cups and drink the remains, lick the outside, (especially if they are placed in some container after the communicant is done, and the wine which sticks to the inside of the cup (because it is plastic, glass, or any surface with any surface tension), so that you can be sure than nothing is left? As a chemist in my previous life, who spent 12 years washing various bits and pieces of glassware for experiments, one could never just rinse something once and expect it to be free of the substance that was in the container. (and this has to do with laboratory glass, and many solutions not near as sticky (relative term here) as the sugar one finds in wine et al. We had a routine and were cursed if we tried to cheat on this, since it might affect someone else's work.

I honestly respect and admire and seek to emulate Luther's practice in the sacrament, but, as is the case with many students of influential men, sometimes we take one thing and run with it, not considering if we are really being as consistent as we think we are.

Finally, in more a mixture of humor and sadness, (they say all comedy comes from tragedy), what about the pastor (and here I am thinking of a real story from an older/retired pastor), who is confronted with decollete, as this older pastor was, and spills the cup down into the woman's cleavage? Does he have a word with her husband after service? What if she is single? Again, this just runs to the absurd? And when this story came up at circuit meeting, in response to the famous Luther licking up the wine off the floor, we came back to idea that reverence is a matter of the heart, and while most of us rarely spill (I can only remember 1-2 times in 16 years), when it does happen, I think we need to be careful lest we push this too far, beyond anything the Scripture teaches us, seeking to make sure that people understand and learn proper reverence for the Lord's body and blood. This pastor did not feel proud, happy, etc about this thing, but was disturbed first by the immodesty, which he stated distracted him, and the whole event still bothered him, years later.

The number of times you rinse, wash et al, will not guarantee that the elements never end up where they do not belong. Rather, we treat this matter with the utmost respect, honor etc, and leave the mysteries, mysteries. We do not try to answer questions which have not been answered, which have no Word. We will not protect the Lord from disrespect when the hearts of those involved are not right, but I do not believe that the Lord is being dishonored when a person, reverently administering the supper trips, stumbles et al. This is a moral judgment, which I think goes beyond the Scripture. In fact, for me, there is nothing different about the way we handle the elements from the way we handle the Word. And here, some, pastors (and those who are very diligent to tell people to be careful with the reliquae included), just play with it, allegorizing and goofing around, showing just how creative they can be...reminds me of those masses where popcorn and juice et al were used, playing around with the Word, until the element itself is gone.

I know that some will consider this impious. I am not seeking to dishonor the Word in any way shape or form.

William Weedon said...

Pr. Speers,

I think you answer the questions you pose when you speak of the reverence befitting the administration of the Sacrament. We do what we can to treat the Sacrament with the utmost reverence, confessing it to be what our Lord has declared it, but we know that our handling of such holy things will always fall short, and we entrust that to God's great mercy and love.

David Clapper said...

... "spills the cup down into the woman's cleavage" ... OK, I'm sorry, but to be candid, I just don't see why this seems to be so difficult. When my wife was a chalice bearer in the Episcopal church, she was taught to place her left hand, holding the purificator, under the communicants' chins so that spills didn't happen. Just like the early Lutherans, up thru the time of J. S. Bach at least, held a houseling cloth under the communicants' chins.

William Weedon said...

David,

Exactly how the purificator should be used. Wiping the rim of the chalice, of course, but also holding it under the person's chin as they drink from the chalice.

dspeers said...

David Clapper said...
... "spills the cup down into the woman's cleavage" ... OK, I'm sorry, but to be candid, I just don't see why this seems to be so difficult.

Who is saying that anything is so difficult? What I was saying is that things happen, and the idea that one can guarantee that the elements will go where they are supposed to is just not real. What does one do with the purificator? Wash it? Where? What does one do with that water? Does one use soap or just water? In what do you wash it? And then, do you wash that container, and if you do how many times do you rinse it? and then do you drink the water/soap? Again, I understand the simple instructions etc, but I think that some of the reactions on this just lean to the absurd, and thereby denigrate the sacrament and the Lord.

Paul T. McCain said...

David, Bill gave a perfectly good answer to your questions. In charity, we must assume you are asking your questions in all sincerity and are not asking them in a mocking and denigrating tone in order to make fun of the concerns being expresed here. It's a shame you didn't let Bill's answer suffice. Because you seem to want to persist down the line of questioning you are posing, we might all be tempted to say to you, "Go away to your Zwinglians."

Perhaps therefore you can just let Bill's answer suffice, though I do know how very hard it is for you never to have the last word on anything you are writing about. That's my problem too. So, I'll just leave it at this.

Anonymous said...

Pr Speers,

This is where the well trained altar guild comes in. The purificators are soaked in water, and the water is poured out on to the earth. They are rinsed again, the water is squeezed out into the bowl and the water is poured out onto the earth.

I kept a container that was set apart for soaking and washing God's holy things. I washed them by hand with soap and water, rinsed and ironed them and returned them to their proper place at church. If a purificator became ripped and torn due to wear it was burned. I never just tossed the purificators or any church linens in with the family laundry. I have truly been blessed with Pastors who have always taught me to treat God's Holy things with the utmost respect.

In my previous church where individual cups were used, the altar guild never received them to be washed until they had been properly taken care of by the Elders.

There were certainly some who complained, but I have usually found it to be true that when the reason behind something is explained, people will usually comply.

Pr Weedon I really appreciate what you have written here. Instruction is the beginning of knowlege and understanding which helps others to see why we do the things that we do. If one person reads this and changes what they do then a great thing has been accomplished one step at a time.

Thank You!

Dixie said...

I had to smile when Pastor Speers mentioned how much rinsing is enough. I am a chemist by education as well and worked many years in an industrial laboratry.

I remember when I was Lutheran and first became aware that tossing the unrinsed plastic cups into the trash was inappropriate. In my situation neither my pastor nor the Altar Guild were concerned about such disposal so I had to develop a process that my conscience could bear when I was scheduled to clean up. I leaned on my chemistry training--triple rinsing--and the rinse water was drained to ground.

dspeers said...

Paul T. McCain said...
David, Bill gave a perfectly good answer to your questions. In charity, we must assume you are asking your questions in all sincerity and are not asking them in a mocking and denigrating tone in order to make fun of the concerns being expresed here. It's a shame you didn't let Bill's answer suffice. Because you seem to want to persist down the line of questioning you are posing, we might all be tempted to say to you, "Go away to your Zwinglians."

Paul, still your old charming self. And oh, Paul, you do make sure you get the last word on things, dont you?

Now seriously, Paul, you know as well as I do that Zwingli and Rome had this in common, that they used philosophy and reason to determine not only the what of the sacraments but also the practice. Luther refused. Reason drove Zwingli to deny the presence. Reason drove Rome to make up fairytales about the presence, the how and the what and the how long, and so the pitiful corpus Christi parardes and the services, which are very popular today, of the adoration of the host. Luther refused.

Now, from a purely practical standpoint. My questions were not mocking, but came from the offensive suggestions, eg one Rev Curtis, seemingly wanting to punish lazy pastors, having them rinse out individual cups and drink the water...does he drink the soap water which is used to wash the purificator. Or is he being lazy? My tone is rather strident on this because I have had to deal with laypeople who asked "where do these rules come from? Who made them up and why? Are they sufficient? How far do we need to go?" These questions come from men and women whose consciences are bothered and want to make sure they are doing the right thing. And they get very offended when they find that some pastor is just making rules up, out of his head. For again, the rules begin to sound binding and damning.

I watched a pastor who publishes allegory after allegory, playing with the Scriptures, showing just how creative he can be, imposing systematics on text irregardless if the text actually speaks to any of those things, bring another pastor to tears at a CID convention, assuming from the floor of convention, in front of the body, that the pastor and host congregation did not take care of the individual cups appropriately, after the supper. The accused pastor, in tears, got up to explain to the convention what they did, with the cups etc.

They are good questions and especially as some pastors seek to bind the consciences of people to rationalistic absurdities, as Rome and Zwingli did. Wasn't one of Rome's reasons for withholding the cup from the laity so that it would not be spilled? They are good questions because they show that what is intended, especially by those who claim that anything less than their...(fill in the blank), is a dangerous position to take and will not produce or encourage true piety but a denigration of the sacrament, even as Rome's intent to hold it in high regard, became a place for mocking. (HOCUS POCUS) And the mockery came because men decided to impose things without a Word and upon the Word.

Simply put, Paul, even if you rinse things out many times, using, as I did on every piece of glassware, distilled water as a final rinse, you will still find the substance both in the container and in the rinse water, after many rinsings. This is pure pastoral practice Paul. Do not bind the conscience of your people to an illusion, eg rinsing the cups once and drinking the water, as if that would solve the problem. (if the problem is that you want to claim that Christ is still present until?????, always????, for the rinsings, washings of the purificators will never be enough). Do not try to bind the conscience of layfolk to illusions and attempts to prove that you really, really, really hold the sacrament in high regard. That you really, really, really, take the incarnation seriously. Rather, point them to the Word. And recognize what the incarnation means, truly means, that Christ still comes into this messy, sinful, dead world to bless us, and yes, he is touched by the dirt and leprousy of this world, especially that which comes from our lips in the interest of some self-serving piety.

dspeers said...

Dixie,

Yes! And everything has to be rinsed out with DI water!

I certainly appreciate your desire to treat the elements with the proper respect, and to take that task on yourself. Do others follow your practice?

Pr. H. R. said...

dspeers said:

"Now, from a purely practical standpoint. My questions were not mocking, but came from the offensive suggestions, eg one Rev Curtis, seemingly wanting to punish lazy pastors, having them rinse out individual cups and drink the water...does he drink the soap water which is used to wash the purificator. Or is he being lazy? My tone is rather strident on this because I have had to deal with laypeople who asked "where do these rules come from? Who made them up and why? Are they sufficient? How far do we need to go?" These questions come from men and women whose consciences are bothered and want to make sure they are doing the right thing. And they get very offended when they find that some pastor is just making rules up, out of his head. For again, the rules begin to sound binding and damning."

Good questions and concerns all. The problem is that we in American Lutheranism have indeed forgotten where the "rules" came from and why they are there. Receptionism is to blame for this. If one does believe in Receptionism, there's nothing really to talk about: those folks will do as they like. However, if one doesn't believe in Receptionism, then getting at reverent practice and the history of the "rules" is a fine pursuit.

The "rules" arose from just such questions of piety as you narrate. The place where this piety starts is the Words of Institution: "Take eat, take drink." So we first want to make sure that all that is consecrated is consumed.

This is where the ablutions at the altar come from: rinsing the paten and chalice with water (or wine then water) and consuming that. It ensures that all all "impious questions" (see the Formula) are averted.

My argument was that if a pastor thought this was a laudable practice for the chalice, he ought to treat the individual cups the same way. So if one ablutes and drinks the chalice but doesn't do so with the individual cups, then yes, I question whether that decision is motivated chiefly by sloth. Likewise: if a pastor takes care to ablute the chalice himself, but can't be bothered to deal with the individual cups, but instead leaves them to the altar guild: again, I wonder what his real motivation is?

Another way, less traditional, but still within the spirit of the traditional "rules" would be to rinse the chalice and pour this rinsing into the ground rather than drink it. The same obviously could be done with the individual cups. This is by analogy to the traditional way of handling purificators: rinse with water thoroughly, pour that rinsing out on the ground, and then launder the purificators.

Now for the Lutheran question: do I have to follow these rules? I think that is the wrong question so I won't venture an answer. The proper question, I think, is this: how can I appropriately and reverently handle this great gift of my Lord? Through two milennia of asking this question, the church as a whole has come up with some traditional practices which teach reverence and respect. So my advice would be to follow them.

For more detail you may see these guidelines in there Lutheran form in Piepkorn's Conduct of the Service (available online or from Redeemer in Fort Wayne in a beautiful new edition). One quibble I have with Piepkorn (not really Piepkorn but the General Rubrics from the old Synodical Conference) is that he allows for the "left overs" of our Lord's Blood to be poured down the sacrarium as well: this is not traditional, is a hold over from Receptionism, and violates the simple command of the Lord: Take, DRINK. But for the rest, Piepkorn is very faithful.

For the Modern Roman version (which, of course, descends from the same midieval guidelines followed by the Lutherans) you can see the 1983 Code of Canon Law or a summary of the guidelines here: http://www.fargodiocese.org/Bishop/Chancellor/PDF's/RedemptionisImplementationInFargo.pdf

All the best,
+HRC

David B. said...

Thank you for a fascinating discussion. Now, a question: how does one introduce this issue to a congregation that has apparently never considered whether it's a good idea to toss the plastic cups into the trash? Any suggestions?

Pr. H. R. said...

Hi David,

My elders (godly men all) were very receptive to all this. If you like, email me off list and I can send you the hand-outs I used with them: basically just rubrical notes from Luther, Piepkorn, Altar Guild manual etc.

I have found that folks respond well to a "by the book" approach: Here's what the Bible says, and supporting that, here's what the rubrics of the church say as well. Mostly, these godly lay people just want to be given an orderly way of doing these.

In Christ,
+HRC

Johnny Sigismund said...

Very, very interesting duscussion. I myself can see the concerns of dspeers yet also find the awnser by Weedon to suffice.

I'm not sure where my comments fit in at this point but it seems to me that the disconnect in this conversation (the conversation in general, not necessarily anyone here) often results in certain parties viewing the Eucharist not as the presence of Christ within a present action connected to its redemptive-historical meaning (a correct way of viewing the matter, in my mind) but rather viewing the eucharistic presence as something static and detached from its covenantal context.

Saying that the later is wrong-headed is not a form of receptionsim or Zwingliansim. Its merely a plea to not allow systematic theology to trump biblical theology.

I'm also curious how 'communion in the hand' plays into this conversation?

Past Elder said...

I think I'm the one who threw communion in the hand into this conversation. The reason is I think I would be far more concerned about the implications of communion in the hand than throwing disposable cups in the trash. Which is not to say the latter is no issue.

When communion in the hand was introduced to either replace or be alternative to in the mouth, it was explained (I was RC at the time, so "explained" is in that context) that communion in the hand expresses our participation in what is happening and gets away from a passive view where it's all God. In other words, that faith is part God's action and part our action. He comes to us, but we respond and come to him. So at Communion we respond to him by extending our hand and taking the host, then placing it in our own mouths.

Now it backs away, in a Roman context, from the idea that only a priest's consecrated fingers should ever touch a host. And in a Roman context that is not a good thing. But as the practice spread outside of the Roman church, what it is, is a method of taking Communion which physically represents our participation in our own faith and salvation, when in fact both are entirely the work of God, which is why the priest placed the host on the tongue directly in the first place.

So while tossing disposable cups in the trash is indeed a lack of proper reverence, though I believe in most cases unintentional as discussed above, communion in the hand is born of the idea that our works do participate in our faith and salvation, which is not just lack of reverence but false doctrine. Now, I don't think any Lutheran parish that uses the practice does so out of an idea of controverting a central point in our doctrine. As with disposable cups, it's out of literal ignorance, ignoring the effort to really understand why we do what we do. But also as with disposable cups, once that effort is made, we may need to make some changed in our practice.

Paul T. McCain said...

Actually "Past Elder" the practice of receiving the host in the hand is the more ancient practice in the church. ECFs are found to speak of the hand as the throne on which the Lord is received, etc.

The practice of the priest placing the host on the communicant's mouth was not a wholesome development since in fact it signalled that the laity were too "unholy" to touch the host, as the priest did.

The explanation of receiving the host in the mouth as symbol that our salvation is entirely the work of God is one of those pious ex post facto explanations of something done, but that lacks actually foundation in fact.

There is no need to change the practice of receiving the host in the hand, and burdening people's consciences with the attempt to suggest that to receive the host in the hand is somehow a "signal" that we are moving away from monergism in regard to our salvation would be highly unfortunate. Those who wish to receive the host directly into their mouth may of course do so, but there is absolutely nothing wrong, inappropriate, or untoward about receiving the host into one's hand and then putting it in one's mouth.

Past Elder said...

This is the day the Lord has made!

I haven't heard a piece of Vatican II revisionism defended as the more ancient practice of the church (which in this case is in fact true) since I left the Roman church! Unglaublich!

The most ancient practice of the church was to have a seder and attend synagogue services! Shall we then do that?

I had a ringside seat for this stuff. The historical-critical approach to scripture we learned in class proceeded apace with the accompanying revision to the liturgy to express it there. Communion in the hand, a brand spanking new lectionary and church year, we believe instead of I believe in the creed, several orders for mass rather than one in the missal, on and on, I got straight from the horse's, well, mouth, up to and including periti at the bleeding council itself.

What is a pious ex post facto is the idea of going back to the more ancient practice of the church had anything to do with the real agenda.

Reception of communion in the hand was indeed pitched as a moving away from monergism in regard to our salvation. There wasn't any suggestion about it; that's what was said. These guys understood lex orandi lex credendi better than anyone. A heterodox professor influences a few, a change in liturgical practice influences many. It amazes me the extent to which Lutherans are willing to worship as if Vatican II were held in St Louis (or Milwaukee, for that matter, having been WELS) thinking they are somehow upholding the historic liturgy of the church when it is nothing more than a Lutheran version of the novus ordo promulgated in 1970 to serve the aims of the council.

Fr. Gregory Hogg said...

Past Elder,

Pr. McCain is right, certainly as to the fact that communion in the hand is the older practice. Cyril of Jerusalem, in his Catechetical Lectures, says, "In approaching therefore, come not with thy wrists extended, or thy fingers spread; but make thy left hand a throne for the fight, as for that which is to receive a King. And having hollowed thy palm, receive the Body of Christ, saying over it, Amen. So then after having carefully hollowed thine eyes by the touch of the Holy Body, partake of it; giving heed lest thou lose any portion thereof; for whatever thou losest, is evidently a loss to thee as it were from one of thine own members. For tell me, if any one gave thee grains of gold, wouldest thou not hold them with all carefulness, being on thy guard against losing any of them, and suffering loss? Wilt thou not then much more carefully keep watch, that not a crumb fall from thee of what is more precious than gold and precious stones?"

As to the reason, I had heard something a bit different: that some people were taking the host home and treating it in improper ways. In order to assure that the host was consumed, the west began placing it on the tongue, and the east began administering it with the Lord's blood, in a spoon--two ways of solving the same pastoral problem.

Perhaps you should refer your fear of synergism to the One who commands, "Take, eat, drink," all of which are things we do.

The unworthy priest, and fool,

Fr. Gregory Hogg

"Though infinite in thy divine Nature, O Master, thou didst condescend to be incarnate in these last days, and become finite; for by putting on the body thou didst also put on all its properties. Wherefore, we draw the likeness of thine image and embrace it in consideration of its prototype, ascending towards thy love and drinking therefrom the grace of healing, following the divine traditions of the Apostles."--Stichos from the Sunday of Orthodoxy

Anonymous said...

Did crumbs fall from the table at that originally instituted Supper when Jesus ate with the twelve? If so, what was the re-action by the twelve? By Jesus?

Serious question.

Pastor H.R. Curtis said...

Anonymous,

To answer your questions:
The text doesn't say.

Since it doesn't say, it won't do much good to make up arguments from silence no matter what one's view might be.

What the text does say is: "This is my Body...This is my Blood." So let us our practice flow from that.

+HRC

dspeers said...

HRC stated

Receptionism is to blame for this.

Pastor,

Can you tell me, who in the Evangelical Lutheran Church (not ELCA, but the true evangelical church in general), the LCMS, perhaps and especially in official capacities, dogmaticians, confessions etc, which teach either receptionism or consecretionism? In other words, who has made a dogma of this? (anecdotes/practice will not do here).

Thanks

pr dave speers

dspeers said...

+HRC stated

"The "rules" arose from just such questions of piety as you narrate. The place where this piety starts is the Words of Institution: "Take eat, take drink." So we first want to make sure that all that is consecrated is consumed. "

Speers responds

Pastor, I have a hard time with your conclusion, "we first want to make sure that all that is consecrated is consumed", based on the verba. Can you point me to something in the text which would bring me to this conclusion. Again, a literal complete execution of this command/implication is nigh impossible. But my initial problem with this is found in your conclusion.

dspeers said...

+HRC writes

"This is where the ablutions at the altar come from: rinsing the paten and chalice with water (or wine then water) and consuming that. It ensures that all all "impious questions" (see the Formula) are averted."

Speers responds

No, Pastor, it does not avert "impious questions", especially when it intends to suggest that there is no possibility of some consecrated elements remaining. It is a respectful practice, but, again, one must be careful lest one say too much. For when one seeks to say more than is possible, one denigrates the sacrament.

Here I am thinking about the way this started, with a reference to receptionism, which I do not believe has been officially stated as a position in the LCMS, although some may hold it and practice in this way. It becomes a matter of degree and therefore, when things are overstated, conclusions wrongly drawn, it leads to confusion and away from the Word, in more ways than one.

Pr. H. R. said...

Dear Brother and Father in Christ, Pr. Speers,

Getting at just what an "official teaching" of the LCMS might be is a discussion topic in and of itself!

But suffice it to say that Receptionism was well-entrenched in the period of Lutheran Orthodoxy and most especially in the Missouri Synod.

Receptionism is taught by:
Pieper, vol. 3, p. 372
Koehler, A Summary of Christian Doctrine, p. 219
See this essay for a longer list of folks who taught receptionism (including Walther, Hoenecke, etc.): http://www.wlsessays.net/authors/N/NassMoment/NassMoment.rtf

Does that make for an "official teaching"? It's in the textbook written by Pieper, the great Sem and Synod President; it's in Walther; it's in Koehler's book which was designed for and used to train three generations of school teachers and has again been recently reformatted and printed by CPH. Now, on the other hand, one could argue that none of these are statements from the "Synod in Convention." Whatever. The point is, it was THE teaching of Missouri from 1847-the mid twentieth century when the Luther/Chemnitz renaissance brought their doctrine into view again.

For more on the history of this (especially the rediscovery of Luther and Chemnitz and the pressures that led other great men to the folly of receptionism), see the Teigen book noted by Pr. Mayes up in the first comment. A shorter run through the history is available from Scott Murray's article in Logia 9.3 - I'd be happy to email anyone a pdf version of this article: pastorcurtis@gmail.com

As for the rest. . .If "Take, eat...Take, drink" doesn't mean that we should take and eat and take and drink what's consecrated, then I'm at a loss. I'm just trying to be faithful to the text: it says eat and drink - so that's what I'm going to do.

And yes, I suppose it is the nature of impious questions to keep on questioning. If one wants to always come up with one, he can. I am at peace with the reverent, pious, traditional manner of handling the Supper and I am not ashamed to commend it to others.

I'll sign off on this topic with Luther's advice:
“Therefore see to it that if anything is left over of the Sacrament, either some communicants or the pastor himself and his assistant receive it, so that it is not only a curate or someone else who drinks what is left over in the chalice, but that he gives it to the others who were also participants in the Body, so that you do not appear to divide the Sacrament by a bad example or to treat the sacramental action irreverently.” (WA BR 10:348 – trans. in B. Teigen, “The Case of the Lost Luther Reference,” CTQ 43.4:295-309, 299).

All the best,
+HRC

dspeers said...

+hrc writes

"As for the rest. . .If "Take, eat...Take, drink" doesn't mean that we should take and eat and take and drink what's consecrated, then I'm at a loss. I'm just trying to be faithful to the text: it says eat and drink - so that's what I'm going to do."

Speers responds

I really have a hard time reading this text as if it says that, necessarily, everyone should eat everything that was consecrated. It does not say anything about what remains, but rather speaks about receiving that which is offered. I would certainly agree that eating what remains solves any concern about what to do with elements that were consecrated and not used.

In light of this, I believe it is in FC SD art VII 85ff, that the confessors note that sacrament does not exist when the elements are stored away, paraded around, or even in a private mass et al. Again, I am sure that this text, from the confessions, is in the middle of some of this confusion and discussion, but I think that one needs to enter into this whole discussion with care. For we are dealing with something that we do not actually, biblically have an answer to, that is when, exactly (no bells), the Lord's presence begins and ends. We do not have a word. The confessors will not answer it, and I have always considered this a bit of wisdom. The matter leaves us treating the elements with respect without burdening the church.

Past Elder said...

Of course Pastor McCain is right as to the fact that communion in the hand is the older practice. I wrote with reference to the argument "which in this case is in fact true". Is my grasp of English prose so weak that this is less than clear?

What I dispute is that this fact constitutes an argument for reinstating the practice in our time, and more ecactly that it was anything but a pious ex post facto for the real agenda in the revision of the liturgy adter Vatican II.

Which is my real issue. Why, some four hundred and fifty years into the Reformation, should we Lutherans care any part of a rat's anatomy what Rome chooses to do about the Roman rite -- let alone produce Lutheranised versions of it and place them alongside genuine products of Lutheran liturgical reform as equally "the historic liturgy"?

Now, here's a question, since we have attracted wise men from the East. The last Orthodox divine service I attended was a Melkite Rite mass in Miami. It was magnificent, and despite language perfectly intelligible for what it is. At the end, however, there was something I did not understand. Ushers, or at least lay people, were present at the door with trays of very small loaves for people to take. What was that all about? It would seem to be related to Communion, so since we're off into all sorts of aspects of proper Communion practice, I'm asking.

Anonymous said...

Pastor Speers, how would you answer this question:

"What is it in the hand of your pastor that he is giving to you when he distributes the Sacrament?"

I'd be curious to know how you would answer that question.

Jim

William Weedon said...

Okay, I'm not a wise man nor from the East (hey, come to think of it, I AM from the East!), but I think I can answer Past Elder's question. It was the antidoran - bread that is blessed, but not consecrated and shared with all worshippers even those who cannot commune. It's common Orthodox practice - and a sore trial to Atkins folks. I remember once my sister-in-law stashing hers away in her purse when no one was looking so as not to offend the kind man who had given her a huge chunk of it!

Past Elder said...

I believe the Melkite Rite is in union with Rome, and so if I am right in my recollection I should amend the adjective "Orthodox" to "Eastern" before someone jumps on it.

William Weedon said...

Yes, the Melkites are in communion with the bishop of Rome, but their liturgical practice, I believe, is Eastern rite - the St. James' liturgy.

dspeers said...

Jim writes,

""What is it in the hand of your pastor that he is giving to you when he distributes the Sacrament?"

I'd be curious to know how you would answer that question."

Speers responds,

It is the very body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, in, with and under the bread and wine, given for the for forgivness of sins.

Just got done reading the paper by Murray on receptionism. For the life of me, and perhaps it was the seminary I went to, the profs I had, the church I attended et al, but I never heard anyone, press a receptionistic line as he seems to imply. As I have read a bunch of Luther, Walther, Pieper (had Marquart for 6 systematics classes), and do not remember this point being pushed. (Just reread bits of Pieper, and do not find it). I do distinctly remember being strongly advised to allow the mystery to remain and not seek to go beyond the Word and what it tells us. And that in light of the contrast between Luther and Rome, in particular, wrt what they would assert they knew about the sacrament. The Lutherans did not give answers where Rome did.

And that leads me to another aspect of Murray's paper I just have to disagree with. He seems to imply that the extra usum was stated by the Lutherans to protect the sacrament from abuse and being used for things that it should not be used for. This kind of reasoning seems false, at least inasmuch as it seeks to deal with an effect by ignoring the cause. The reason the Lutherans warned and rejected the notion that Jesus stored on the Altar in a tabernacle, paraded about, is NOT a sacramental presence, is that Rome decided when He was present, with the ringing of a bell to note it, and that the presence never stops. That cause, that unbiblical assertion, thereby effects things like the tabernacle, the adoration of the sacrament in services and corpus christi etc. The cause, which I believe the Lutherans rejected, is Rome's error in solving the mystery. They were left with a question, "we have Jesus", now what do we do with Him? Worship, adore, build a tabernacle for Him....all things which Lutherans rejected.

I also am getting somewhat confused at the seeming separation between the sacramental act, as Luther, the confessors, Pieper et al, and the Word. Murray's seeming characterization of the receptionists (his label), would somehow extract the Word from the sacramental act, as if, in some ways that were possible and still have a sacrament. Like baptism, there are certain things that were instituted and are done, but they are done in faith, trusting the promise that God will work. The action is the Word in action, in and through people, just like a sermon.

Chaz said...

Once the bread and wine are consecrated by the Lord's Words for the purpose that He gave them, they are what the Lord says they are.

It's really that simple.

Should not all of the elements be consumed because not all were needed, then it is abominable to say, apart from a word of the Lord, that the elements are no longer what the Lord says they are.

He does not say "this is my body until the distribution is concluded."

He says, "This is my body given for you."

Certainly we do not have the Sacrament if it is consecrated for a purpose other than to be eaten and drunk, but that's not what we're talking about here.

There is no good reason to doubt the Word of the Lord after the distribution is concluded.

And, for the record, FC SD VII:76 absolutely abolishes the receptionist position. It's plain enough in the German, but if one looks at the Greek text being quoted, it's ABSOLUTELY undeniable.

Elijah the Tishbite said...

Going way back up (if anyone's still reading this thread), I think that the Sasse reference to Luther licking the floor is in his essay on the consecration, which is in We Confess the Sacraments. It may also be in The Lonely Way. I don't have them here in front of me, but I know it's at least in We Confess.

Tim

dspeers@altamont.net said...

chaz says,

"Certainly we do not have the Sacrament if it is consecrated for a purpose other than to be eaten and drunk, but that's not what we're talking about here."

Chaz, please read the Formula carefully where it speaks about the extra usum. First, the Church did not always consume all the elements, afaik, for otherwise, what purpose did the tabernacle on the altar serve? It was and still is a place to store the leftover elements of the supper, is it not? And even the host in the Corpus Christi parade was consecrated in a eucharistic service, was it not? These things were not necessarily consecrated *in order* to be used for these purposes, but were used after they were left over etc.

pr dave speers

Chaz said...

Pr. Speers,

I'll reread the Formula and you reread the Verba.

But to answer your questions, not always... The tabernacle did not ONLY hold host from Eucharistic celebrations. Private masses were quite often NOT distributed and were not intended to be.

William Tighe said...

Perhaps this is an ignorant question, but does not the WELS (as well as its "partner" the ELS) hold "dogmatically" to thew "receptionist" position, as that has been defined by Pastor Weedon?

(And perhaps it is an unrelated issue, but wasn't Pastor Rolf Preus defrocked in the ELS for trying to "Missourize"?)

dspeers said...

Chaz,

I would certainly agree with you that the tabernacle did not always etc...but the point is that these uses of the sacrament *came* from somewhere, even the storing of what was left. A faulty understanding of the sacrament...therefore, the Formula says, IT IS NOT the sacrament. Again, even if only half of them, one third of them stored in the tabernacle were consecrated elements, still according to the confessors, they are not the sacrament.

The Verba speak to the matter of what is happening in/during the administration of the Supper and NOWHERE else, as the confessions clearly state. To speak about the presence beyond the administration as described by the confessions is pure speculation. We have no need to know or discuss what occurs or exists outside of the sacrament, and the verba certainly do not speak to that. The confessors were being very faithful to the text, even as they understood that it would be a word that we participated in.

Fr. Gregory Hogg said...

So, as someone who doesn't have a horse in this race, I'm curious.

Does Lutheranism teach:
a) receptionism, in the vein of Pr. Speers--from which the tossing of unwashed disposable cups seems to follow;
b) consecrationism, in the vein of Pr. Weedon--from which the rejection of the tossing of unwashed disposable indidivual cups seems to follow;
c) Both a and b, which implies that it doesn't matter;
d) neither a nor b, but something else (please specify what).

Anonymous said...

Hope you guys don't mind my intrusion into your discussion.

My following thoughts are somewhat streaming but here's my take...

My not eating or drinking doesn't exclude Christ's presence in the bread and wine. But unless I eat and drink, then X's benefits don't come to me through the bread and wine. (Of course I still receive him through his his Word, etc.) For his Body and Blood to be a SACRAMENT for me or anyone else the act of eating and drinking would have to be included.
Again, If I stay in the pew during the distribution, for me there is no sacrament since I haven't eaten and drunk but my not participating doesn't affect X's presence. By his own word he is there.

Christ remains present extra usus but not as Sacrament. Christ's Body is in the tabernacle but not as Sacrament. Christ's body is in a monstrance but not as Sacrament. Christ blood gets sent down the drain even but not as Sacrament.
The whole concern should be that Christ's body and blood are ultimately meant to be used so that we may enjoy their benefit.

If we Lutherans have a Corpus Christi celebration that culminates in the eating and drinking, voila! we have a sacrament. If we have a Corpus Christi procession and no one eats and drinks we don't have a sacrament. Which begs the question why have a CCP if no one eats and drinks. But it also begs if you eat and drink, why not?

Dan Pfarr

William Weedon said...

Fr. Gregory,

On what basis do you call Pr. Speers a receptionist? He has clearly confessed that what the pastor holds in his hands for the distribution is the very body and blood of Christ through the mystery of the sacramental union. That makes him no receptionist in my book. He is unwilling to make pronouncements on the reliquae in a way that resembles Sasse's approach - another man who was no receptionist.

Dear Dan,

Although I still have to read it, I do believe you've captured the essence of Peter's dissertation - at least if I've heard its argument correctly. I really do want to read it for myself before long.

Anonymous said...

Pr. Weedon,
I'm not sure what dissertation you are referring to. Mind pointing me there?
Thx
Dan Pfarr

Fr. Gregory Hogg said...

Dear Pr. Weedon,

It is good to see that you and Pr. Speers are in agreement, and that he is "no receptionist." (Perhaps Pr. Speers can enlighten us as to his post-communion treatment of the disposable cups, or of the communion ware in general.)

I gather, too, that even Pieper is not a receptionist, for he criticizes Saliger for holding that the sacramental union occurred already "ante usum; hence before the *distribution* and reception." Pr. Speers has affirmed of the bread in the pastor's hand *for distribution* that it is the body of Christ; and so does Pieper in the words cited above. (Note that Pieper includes both distribution and reception in the "usus.")

So, does *anyone* hold to receptionism, as you define it?

The unworthy priest,

Fr. Gregory

William Weedon said...

Fr. Gregory,

See the original post and the quote from Löhe. THAT'S receptionism. If you still have (I assume you did) Piepkorn's volume I on the Church, you might want to consult his essay *The Moment at Which the Sacramental Union Begins* particularly pages 286, 287.

Pax Christi!

Fr Gregory Hogg said...

Loehe said nothing in the original post that's inconsistent with what Pr. Speers said.

Loehe:
"Why is there no danger of spilling any of Christ's blood?

Answer: Because the Almighty Lord unites His Blood with the wine that is drunk, but not with the drops of wine that are spilled. The error of the Romanists is a consequence of their wrong teaching that there is only Blood, and nerely the appearance of wine, in the Holy Supper." (p. 174)

Loehe doesn't say that the Lord unites his blood with the wine *as it is being drunk*, but "with the wine *that* is drunk."

Speers responded to this question:
""What is it in the hand of your pastor that he is giving to you when he distributes the Sacrament?"

I'd be curious to know how you would answer that question."

Speers responds,

It is the very body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, in, with and under the bread and wine, given for the for forgivness of sins.
-----

Pr. Speers did not address the topic that Loehe did. And Loehe could perfectly well have said what Speers did. Surely you can see that their answers are not inconsistent.

But Pr. Speers himself can clear up this issue by answering, "What would fall on the floor should some of the sacramental wine spill?" and "What do you do with the plastic disposable cups?"

The unworthy priest,

Fr. Gregory

William Weedon said...

Dan,

It's the dissertation that Dr. Tighe referred to earlier in this thread and also in the other thread on the transparochial reality (at least I think that's where the other reference is).

Pax!

Fr. Gregory Hogg said...

Still waiting/hoping for Pr. Speers to clear up this question.

The unworthy priest,

Fr. Gregory Hogg

speers said...

Fr. Hogg,

Since you have no horse in this race, I am surprized that you are so interested in what I have to say.

However, I would first like to know why this is important to you? It cannot be that you are concerned with how my congregation treats the body and blood of Christ, since I wonder if you believe that we even have the sacrament? Do we actually have supper, according to the East? (I remember another discussion on another list which, if memory serves me, does not even grant that we have Baptism).

In light of this, just a question for you about how the East handles the Word. Why does it not trouble you in the East, (when people like Ware, who represent the East in introductory books etc), state that historical critical methods are acceptable ways of handling the Word, and so throw the Word in the trash on the basis of human reason? And here, according to 2nd commandment, there is absolutely NO DIFFERENCE between what the East does with the Word when they accept/teach and to not utterly reject higher criticism, in their midst, especially from someone like Ware, and what the rankest receptionists do with Christ, disregard what they are handling etc. And because higher criticism changes the vocabulary/meaning of words, the liturgy will not help. (and here, from what I understand, Piepkorn also is suspect, because he did not make a clear confession about the Word when he was called upon to do so, did he? He left with the seminexers, did he not?)

Now, if you would take the time to read what I have said in the posts that I have written, instead of trying to parse a sentence and compare my words with Loehe, you would already have an answer to your question. Which, answer, was already summarized early on by Pastor Weedon, above. However, and here I will perhaps note some difference between some of us on this matter of the reliquae.

As Pastor Weedon noted, I refuse to *answer* the question about the reliquae, because I do not have a Word beyond the use/institution/administration. And as I tried to make clear, over and over again, unless you go through *extreme* measures wrt the purificators, altarware et al, (and even then, what?), some of the elements are going down the drain, in the trash etc. it is only a matter of degree between the most careful consecrationists and the rankest receptionists, to use your categories, which mean little or nothing to me, because they are NOT dogma, afaik. I will not bind someone's conscience without a Word. It is a matter of degree because how much is too much to suffer to go into the septic/trash/sewer? And here I have a hard time thinking that the Lord intended to bind our consciences to such questions.

Therefore, because these things turn out to be matters of degree, and as I have yet to hear of *anyone* who can say or who has suggested a procedure which can assure one that the elements do not end up in the trash, down the drain etc, I think to seek to have a contest about who treats these elements in the holiest manner is schismatic, pietistic/legalistic and generally pitiful. It is also very offensive when whole church bodies are characterized by the errors, sloppiness and other matters only anecdotally substantiated. While you have stated over and over again, online, that the LCMS is a church characterized by those who throw the elements in the trash, in the septic, because of some who are careless etc, so one could say the exact same thing about the East, being a matter of degree. Unless you have the perfect method...which I have yet to hear....

It is easy to mischaracterize, isn't it? And the fact is, pastorally speaking, that even if things are treated rightly at the beginning of a ministry, they can, and often do begin to slip, (no church is exempt from this, cf the Lord's words on this, and Paul in Act 19ff), and need to be retaught etc, that is why there are things like books, Altar guild manuals etc. That is why a pastor has to retrain his elders etc, over and over again, as they change. And beyond that, has to continue to encourage the church to grow in many and different ways.

William Weedon said...

Pr. Speers,

I think it fair to say that he would probably have left with them; he was hopping mad about the whole procedure. But remember he died before hand - and his family insists of a broken heart. I don't doubt it. He was no liberal, though, in regards to either the Word or the Symbols. I think his confession in "Faithful to Our Calling; Faithful to Our Lord" is the confession of an orthodox Lutheran.

Fr. Gregory Hogg said...

It appears you've answered my question, Pastor Speers. Thank you.

The unworthy priest,

Fr. Gregory Hogg

Carl Vehse said...

"Tossing the ransom price for the sins of this world in the trash? The blood of Christ treated as garbage?.... And if there are any avowed receptionists who read this (Dr. Strickert, are you still out and about?)..."

The first two questions are nothing but Romish transubstantiation tripe. The answer to the third question is yes, but I'm not a receptionist, unless that pejorative has been stretched to include those who agree with the understanding in "Theology and Practice of The Lord's Supper", A Report of the Commission on Theology and Church Relations of the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod (May 1983):

Our Lutheran Confessions, quoting from the Wittenberg Concord (1536), are lucid in their rejection of any view which would confer some extraordinary status upon the elements apart from their sacramental use:

"Therefore they maintain and teach that with the bread and wine the body and blood of Christ are truly and essentially present, distributed, and received. And although they deny a transubstantiation (that is, an essential change of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ) and do not believe that the body and blood of Christ are locally enclosed in the bread, or are in some other way permanently united with it apart from the use of the sacrament, they grant that through sacramental union the bread is the body of Christ, etc. For they do not maintain that the body of Christ is present apart from the use, as when the bread is laid aside or reserved in the tabernacle or carried about and exposed in procession, as happens in the papacy" (FC SD VII, 14-15)