Thursday, December 8, 2011

Here is His Church...

Ernst Koenker:

We must overcome the view that sees the Holy Communion as an appendix added on occasion for a few people.  The unity of the service must be restored in practice and in the understanding of our people.  This may be approached on the basis of the principle found in many of the Reformation orders, that a "service of the Word" is provided for in case there are no communicants for the celebration.

The life of the Church must conform to her theology, which is evangelical as well as sacramental.  One may deprive himself of spiritual food in the form of either Word or Sacrament for a time but malnutrition will soon become evident.  The Church must ever be known as the fellowship of the faithful gathered about the altar.

C. F. W. Walther:

If Christ had instituted only the office of preaching and not also the office of the holy sacraments, no one would really know where the Church or congregation of believers, to which he ought to belong, can be found, for they also who do not want to believe and to whom the crucified Christ is still foolishness and a stumbling block hear the sermon.  As therefore they who by the preaching of the Gospel have come to faith in Christ through Baptism have already gone out from the world and have come into the church of believers and pledged eternal faithfulness to Christ, so these baptized Christians ought again and again to appear at the altar of the Lord to testify that, mindful of their covenant, they have remained faithful disciples of the Crucified, that, accordingly, here is His Church.


Terry Maher said...

And how, exactly, does the case where there are no communicants come about and the pastor knows there will be none?

Anonymous said...

Amen, Pastor. Until Lutherans recover this balance we will not be the catholics the Confessions call us to be.

Anonymous said...

Great citations. Long live the Lord's Supper as central to our life and may the Mass be a weekly blessing continually.

Terry Maher said...

Funny, didn't see anything in the texts saying "Therefore we MUST have Communion every Sunday."

Anonymous said...

Evidently the early Lutherans didn't need to have textual support. They just went ahead and did what the catholic Church has always done, not divorce Word from Sacrament as Lutherans later did.

I'll cast my lot with them.

Anonymous said...

I am Anonymous from Illinois

There is a big difference between
offering the Eucharist every Sunday
and expecting that everyone must

Not every member of the parish is at
the same level of spiritual maturity.
Some are ready for weekly Eucharist
and some are not. Some attend worship every week and some do not.
Some are attending Adult Bible
Class every week and some are not.

Pastor Peters said...

Koenker was writing in the 1950s when the practice of previous announcement gave the Pastor a pretty solid indication who was to commune. In my home congregation this is the case even to this day. The people sign in on their way into the church and the Pastor has a pretty solid number before the first hymn is sung. Without formal announcement or private confession as an indicator, it would have been more difficult but I have never been in a situation in which there were no communicants in nearly 32 full years of being a Pastor and having the Sacrament weekly and sometimes also mid-weekly for more than 30 of them years. Really, it is not so difficult.

Anonymous said...

"I have never been in a situation in which there were no communicants in nearly 32 full years of being a Pastor and having the Sacrament weekly and sometimes also mid-weekly for more than 30 of them years."

That's wonderful, Pastor Peters. May your tribe increase.

Terry Maher said...

An assumption that there will never be no communicants doesn't cut it. Who decides who communes? Yourself, filling out a card.

Article XXIV, discussing the lack of any basis for a private mass, recounts Chrysostom's description of DAILY Communion, with the priest inviting some and refusing others.

The same article earlier states "No one is admitted to the Sacrament without first being examined".

So, unless one is willing to do the whole deal, including examine the communicants and refuse those who don't make it, then it is just dressing up and playing church to insist on part of it, having Communion offered by requirement, or by appeal to the Confessions which are ignored on other points of Communion.