"laestadian, apostolic, gay, lgbtq, ex-oalc, ex-llc, llc, oalc, bunner" LEARNING TO LIVE FREE: Sacrament of Communion

Monday, August 21, 2006

Sacrament of Communion

One of the things that I've puzzled about is in regard to communion in the OALC. The host and wine are distributed, with the statement that they are the "true" body and blood of Jesus Christ. I've heard OALC people talk down about some of the "worldly" churches because they say something about the wine "representing" the blood of Christ, while in the OALC they serve the "true" blood. I’m not sure how carting the bottle of Mogan David surreptitiously to the altar accomplishes the transformation, and when the bottle with the remnants is carried back out, is it transformed back to just wine?

The Roman Catholic Church professes to distribute the true body and blood as well, accomplished through the blessing and transubstantiation of the bread and wine by the Priest at every Mass. The RC teaching in this regard is that through the blessing of the bread and wine by the representative of Christ, they become "substantially" transformed into the body and blood of Christ, so that his presence is there in the elements -- the host and wine. Once these hosts and wine have been consecrated, they are treated with reverence until such time as they are consumed. Any remaining consecrated wine is either consumed on the spot by the Priest or a Lay Eucharistic Minister, or in some cases returned to the ground via a “dry well”. The consecrated hosts are stored in a tabernacle to be used at the next Mass.

What do you think or believe? If we get past the details of what constitutes a "blessing" or not, and if belief is present in the congregant, then is the true presence of Christ there?

Also, does anyone know what the official position is regarding this sacrament (whether OALC, or any other faith)? I always found the explanations I heard in the OALC to be pretty vague.

On a related note, some churches (many denominations) have chosen to start distributing wine in individual cups, rather than the common cup. (The RC Church rejected that idea completely.) I was present at the OALC down in BG many years ago -- can't recall why since I haven't been there that many times -- when the issue was brought up. Apparently some parishioners had expressed a concern, perhaps for health reasons, about the common cup. The preachers brought it up in church, and said something to the effect, that while it would incur an extra cost, they were willing to start doing that, but in order to keep communion orderly, they asked that those who wanted individual cups wait until the rest were served. Also, to help them plan for the impact, they asked that all those who wanted individual cups raise their hands. Not a hand was raised, and the preacher said that it appeared the problem had gone away!

One can argue that if you have a strong and true faith, you could drink from the common cup, and surely the presence of the Lord would prevent any disease from being transmitted through this medium.

Thoughts?

31 comments:

  1. It is the same in other Laestadian sects: the body and blood is said to be the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, broken and shed for you. In this case, we find one of the few cases where Apostolic Lutherans merit the latter half of their name: Luther passionately defended the true body and blood, not just a symbol or representation, in his writings on the Lord's Holy Supper (my recollections are primarily from a Lenker book, but I don't remember the title). In Luther's day, there were people who argued for a symbolic interpretation, but Luther strenuously disagreed, saying that because Jesus said, "This _is_ my body, my blood," we should take him at his word. Had he chosen to, he could have said, "This is a symbol of my body, my blood," but he did not.

    Luther's understanding of the bread and wine of Communion had many similarities with his understanding of the water of Baptism. The physical materials alone were nothing special, but the sacred position they held somehow imbued them with their sacred essence. The teachings I remember said that the atomic structure of the physical materials were unchanged, but they were nonetheless true body and true blood.

    As for what I believe, I can see how partaking of the communion meal could serve as an excellent reminder of the passover feast celebrated by Jesus and his disciples on the night before the Crucifixion, but I don't see how one benefits from thinking they're actually chomping and slurping down the Lord. I remember being horrified when I first went to communion, because the thought ran through my mind, "I've got a hunk of Christ stuck in my tooth!" And later, when hearing those words: "Take, Eat, this is the true body of Christ, broken for you. Take, drink, this is the true blood of Christ, shed for you," that I really did not believe those words. That moment made me realize I wasn't being fed in the traditionalist Laestadian church of my childhood.

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  2. Because I cannot resist quoting my kids, let me tell you what my daughter said when she saw a dead rabbit at Discovery Park last week.

    "Oh, well. That's sad, but that's Mother Nature. That rabbit is gonna turn into dirt and the dirt is gonna turn into something else."

    On a subatomic level, everything in the biosphere is connected and "consuming" one another. That is what I feel when I take the host. It is bread and wine, but it came from living things, from life itself, ergo from God. God's body, as it were.

    Is that too woo-woo for a rationalist? Then you might like this!

    "If you believe in the existence of fairies at the bottom of the garden you are deemed fit for the bin. If you believe in parthenogenesis, ascension, transubstantiation and all the rest of it you are deemed fit to govern the country." - Jonathan Meades

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  3. Episcopalians believe in the "Real Presence" --that Christ is somehow really present in the elements of bread and wine. However we leave it a mystery as to how such a thing could actually be true.

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  4. I agree "--that Christ is somehow really present in the elements of bread and wine. However we leave it a mystery as to how such a thing could actually be true." And I believe it is so because Jesus said, "This _is_ my body, my blood," and somehow I just know it's true.
    It is not the physical acts or elements of taking communion from which we benefit, no, they are but miniscule reminders of bigger mysteries harder to grasp with mere mortal brains, "for man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God"

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  5. Cvow wondered about the bottle of wine reverting to regular wine again when taken back after communion. Well, it's a very common thought in contemporary Lutheranism that the bread and the wine are Christ's body and blood only during the communion but cease to be it when the communion is over. On the other hand many Lutherans consider that Calvinistic influence. I can't remember any specific teaching about that in any early Lutheran writings, but Luther was furious about two priests who had treated consecrated bread and wine as if they were unconsecrated. I think they might even have been defrocked, but anyway, it seems like Luther himself thought that the elements remain the body and blood of Christ even after the communion and should be treated accordingly.

    ---

    In the Orthodox church we believe that the Holy Spirit makes the bread and the wine the true body and blood of Christ, and they remain that also when the communion is over. Usually everything is consumed until nothing is left, but there is always some consecrated (and dried) bread and wine on the altar table so the priest can take it to the sick in cases of emergency.

    I think the following prayer gives a good picture of the Orthodox attitude to the communion. The priest and the communicants read it together just before receiving the sacrament.

    "I believe, O Lord, and I confess that thou art truly the Christ, the Son of the living God, who didst come into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. And I believe that this is truly thine own immaculate Body, and that this is truly thine own precious Blood. Wherefore I pray thee, have mercy upon me and forgive my transgressions both voluntary and involuntary, of word and of deed, of knowledge and of ignorance; and make me worthy to partake without condemnation of thine immaculate Mysteries, unto remission of my sins and unto life everlasting. Amen. Of thy Mystic Supper, O Son of God, accept me today as a communicant; for I will not speak of thy Mystery to thine enemies, neither will I give thee a kiss as did Judas; but like the thief will I confess thee: Remember me, O Lord, in thy Kingdom. Not unto judgement nor unto condemnation be my partaking of thy Holy Mysteries, O Lord, but unto the healing of soul and body."

    Also the words spoken by the priest to every communicant when administering the sacrament are illustrative of the meaning of the eucharist:

    "The servant (or handmaid) of God, N., partaketh of the precious and holy Body and Blood of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ, unto the remission of sins and life everlasting."

    And here's one of the post-communion prayers that are read either by a reader at church at the end of the service or individually at home:

    "O Thou Who givest me willingly Thy Flesh as food, Thou Who art fire that doth consume the unworthy, let me not be scourched, O my Creator. But rather, enter Thou into my members, into all my joints, my reigns, my heart. Burn up the thorns of all my sins. Purify my soul, sanctify my thoughts. Strengthen my substance together with my bones. Enlighten my simple five senses. Nail down the whole of me with the fear of Thee. Ever protect, preserve, and keep me from every soul-corrupting deed and word. Purify, cleanse and adorn me; make me comely, give me understanding and enlighten me. Show me to be the dwelling-place of Thy Spirit alone, and no longer a habitation of sin, that from me as Thine abode through the entry of Communion, every evildoer, every passion may flee as from fire. As intercessors I offer unto Thee all the saints, the commanders of the bodiless hosts, Thy Forerunner, the wise apostles, and Thine undefiled pure Mother, whose entreaties do Thou accept, O my compassionate Christ, and make Thy servant a child of light. For Thou alone art our sanctification, O Good One, and the radiance of our souls, and unto Thee as God and Master, we all send up glory as is meet, every day."

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  6. By the way, there is some difference in the doctrine of communion between the Laestadian groups. It is a common argument between the Finnish equivalents of OALC and LLC that the former say communion gives forgiveness of sins while the latter say communion is not a supper of reconciliation but only a supper of commemoration, and thus it doesn't give forgiveness of sins. However, I think also the SRK (the Finnish LLC equivalent) teaches real presence of Christ in the elements.

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  7. From Wikipedia

    "Lutherans believe that the Body and Blood of Christ are "truly and substantially present in, with and under the forms" of the consecrated bread and wine (the elements), so that communicants eat and drink both the elements and the true Body and Blood of Christ Himself (cf. Augsburg Confession, Article 10) in the Sacrament of Holy Communion. The Lutheran doctrine of the Real Presence is more accurately and formally known as "the Sacramental Union." This theology was first developed in the Wittenberg Concord. It has been called "consubstantiation" by some, but this term is rejected by Lutheran churches and theologians as it creates confusion with an earlier doctrine of the same name."

    And more Wikipedia

    "The nature of the Eucharist became an important issue in Luther's career. He summarized his belief about the Lord's Supper in his Small Catechism when he wrote, "What is the Sacrament of the Altar? It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the bread and wine, for us Christians to eat and to drink, instituted by Christ Himself."

    Luther's doctrine distinguished him from Carlstadt, Zwingli, Leo Jud, and Œcolampadius, who rejected the Real Presence altogether. At Marburg 1529, Luther was convinced that God had blinded Zwingli's eyes so that he could not see the true doctrine of the Lord's Supper...Luther's basis for his Eucharistic doctrine was what he considered to be a simple, straightforward understanding of the words of institution, but he extolled Jesus's bodily sacrifice and the giving of this very same body to communicants in the Eucharist. When Zwingli excluded the possibility of the Real Presence by his denial of the capability of Jesus's human nature to be present anywhere but locally, one place at a time, Luther reaffirmed the integrity of the hypostatic union: Jesus is not divided, wherever He is as God, He is as man as well. "For I do not want to deny in any way that God’s power is able to make a body be simultaneously in many places, even in a corporeal and circumscribed manner. For who wants to try to prove that God is unable to do that? Who has seen the limits of his power?""

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  8. This was a very intereting discussion. I learned alot of what each religion teaches. This has always been a question of mine. What does each church believe?

    I would love to see a discussion on the trinity? I finally understand it and feel that I believe in the trinity after reading "Living Buddha, Living Christ," by Thich Nhat Hanh.
    Strange how a Buddist Priest could write about the trinity in such a way that I understand and internalize it.

    I am not sure what each church preaches on this. I can't remember what the OALC preaches or if they do?

    God's Peace!

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  9. Our friend Ron Young, who devoted his youth to the civil rights movement, now spends his days trying to build bridges between religious traditions. In this article , he describes carrying the Torah in a Jewish Temple. And non-Christians being welcomed to a Lutheran communion service.

    He challenges all of us to ask if our core beliefs lead to violence or peace. Do we have (per Jonathan Swift) "just enough religion to hate one another but not enough religion to love one another'? For some of us, "less religion" seems like a good antedote.

    However, Thich Nhat Hanh encourages those raised in a religious tradition to embrace it -- and to go deep enough to experience its transformative power. For those of us scorched by fundamentalism, that can be a rocky road.

    But perhaps -- It is my hope anyway -- that in doing so, we can let go of our deeply internalized prejudices and polarizing analyses to profound agape. Rather than drawing the circle a bit bigger, we can give up the chalk, truly seeing Christ in everyone.

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  10. Great discussion, everyone!

    I kind of assumed that the Orthodox teachings would be essentially the same as the Roman Catholic, but hadn't considered that the Episcopalian would be also -- but that makes sense.

    The RC church doesn't teach that communion is a sacrament of reconciliation, as there is a separate sacrament for that. It is taught that you should not come to communion with conflict in your soul, but rather that you would resolve that -- e.g., ask your brother's forgiveness or the sacrament of reconciliation first -- before partaking of communion.

    I remember a Priest friend of mine who used to chuckle over Catholics who dip their finger in holy water and cross themselves upon entering the church and again upon leaving. He said it made sense coming in as you are leaving the cares and sin of the world behind you when you enter but when you leave after communion, he said you have God within you so there's no need for the ritual when you leave. As a matter of fact, he said that while most Catholics will kneel upon returning to their pew after communion, there was no need to do that either, as you have that presence of Christ within you. I sort of disagreed with him there though, because I think most folks do that as a sign of Thanksgiving for the sacrament.

    I was somewhat surpised by the stuff Anonymous found in Wikipedia because I remember a discussion with a relatively devout friend of mine who attended the American Lutheran Church who was quite adamant that it was only a representation and not a true presence. Perhaps he misunderstood, or else maybe there is some disparity amongst the Lutheran branches.

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  11. Hmm, cvow, I suspect Lutherans differ in this and in countless other ways, not unlike Catholics :-) I've read that generally, Catholics and Orthodox differ on what changes the bread and wine, that generally, Episcopalians and Lutherans are in the "it's a mystery" camp, and that generally, Baptists consider it all symbolic. For the vast majority of Christians, however, I suspect the issue is a non-issue.

    In the ELCA church I (usually) attend, the Eucharist is usually served "by intinction." One receives a wafer and then dips it into a common chalice of wine (a very nice port, by the way, and its cost is reportedly a matter of debate among the elderly women on the Altar Guild, who also despair of finding replacements as devoted as they are to laundering and ironing by hand the exquisite linen altar cloths).

    For children or recovering alcoholics or folks who just prefer it, a chalice of grape juice is offered. I've even seen people take the wafer alone, no liquid. (For doctrine purists, this is apparently okay, as the host is "present" in either one.)

    Once a month, communion is served at the altar rail from a set of Danish pewter goblets (Danes are heavily represented in this congregation). One kneels, receives bread torn from a common loaf, then turns over an unused goblet to receive wine from a large, common chalice.

    At the back of the altar, inviting one's gaze and reflection, is a marble statue of the risen Christ, arms open, palms up, head bowed, gentle expression. Glorious. Never could understand the Protestant aversion to sacred art.

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  12. AAh... yes. Communion. The day I most dreaded when I attended the OALC. (Second only to Confirmation Sunday)
    For one thing, it lasts FOREVER. It is the main forgiveness asking session, because nobody wants to risk going up to the communion rail without a clean conscience... hellfire would most certainly immediately rain down. (Although one of the preacbers confessed to a friend that he looks down the girl's blouses as he's serving communion.)

    Most non-denominational or mainstream churches that I've attended use grape juice instead of wine. I find it a little strange to think that having even a sip of wine at home was preached to be sin, yet they used the real thing in a service (Manischewitz). Then somebody once told me they didn't think the wine in Jesus' day was actually alcoholic (I believe I asked the question about why it's sin for us and not for Him). Hello? Why did they say most people save the cheap wine until most of the guests are drunk? Anyway... rabbit trail.
    I believe God is present everywhere, but if I really thought that I was gnawing on flesh and drinking blood, I would probably vomit. I think Jesus saying, "This is my body and blood" does not mean that it has to be literal and not symbolic.
    I watched a video once where he drew a comparison between taking the elemants and a traditional Jewish betrothal. It was beautiful and it gave me a whole new, grace-filled view of the sacrament, instead of waiting for the lightning bolt.

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  13. One of the best parts in the Bible.

    26:26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.
    26:27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;
    26:28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
    26:29 But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.
    26:30 And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.

    H. Finn

    (no longer at Missisippi)

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  14. The arguments in favor of and against transubstantiation were always curious to me but lost on me in terms of their significance. It is perfectly OK in my mind to take it either way and one can imagine whatever he or she wishes and the spiritual effect is the same. The debate over single cups was one of those modern issues that the OALC solved in the community in which I am familiar with dispatch. They simply implemented it and allowed those who wanted to participate to do so… no big deal. Kudos to the church on this issue. However, I thought that the modernization could go even further. I realize that it wouldn’t be popular with the greenies but single wrapped wafers (sort of like individually wrapped slices of American cheese) would be a significant benefit. That way no one would put his hands on something that went into my mouth. Dispensers of antimicrobial wipes should be positioned in a suitable location so that as one approached the altar they could snatch one in order to wipe down the hand rests.

    It’s always better to have choices and a drive in communion would fit into the times. If one was running late or had somewhere else to go this would solve the problem. Simply cruise up to the window and announce over the speaker that you were ready and they would put an encapsulated aliquot of wine and the single wrapped wafer mentioned above into the tube and shoot it out to you. Sort of like the old transfer systems found in banks. After receiving your elements you could take communion on the freeway. There are drive-in churches, drive-in weddings, drive-in salad bars (I forgot… these never took off and were eliminated.) and drive-in latte kiosks. These are particularly popular in the Seattle area. Applying some imagination would result in some significant improvements.

    Free... Luther spoke positively regarding church art and it was Calvin that opposed all the icons.

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  15. I am a Missouri Synod Lutheran (LCMS), and I was taught that when Jesus said "This is my body", the bread was His body. When He said "This is my blood", the wine was His blood. My childhood pastor said that we don't believe that the bread and the wine are changed into Christ's body and blood, and we don't believe that the bread and the wine represent Christ's body and blood, just that they ARE Christ's body and blood. During that meal, that's what they are. As my sister's present pastor (Evangelical Lutheran Synod--ELS) says (paraphrased) "If the Roman Catholics are right, then I could walk down the grocery store wine aisle and say the words of institution and the wine would become Christ's body and blood." I think that that is a good point. I think that these two pastors are correct in saying that the fact of Christ's Real Presence is true for each time we come together at Holy Communion.

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  16. I have heard that there is a substance in wine--not the alcohol--that kills microbes (bacteria? viruses?) God knows what He is doing. :o)

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  17. Does it matter?

    Prior to Copernicus, Kepler and Galileo, people inevitably thought of God as a supernatural presence over the natural world. Before Isaac Newton, they thought of God as setting aside the laws of the universe to do miracles or to answer prayers. Before Darwin and Freud, they thought of God as the external creator and portrayed God as a heavenly parent. Prior to Einstein, they assumed that these perceptions were objectively true and not subject to the relativity in which all human thought dwells since both the time in which we live and the space we occupy are relative, not absolute . . . every human attempt to define God is nothing more than a human attempt to define the human experience of the divine. We can never tell who God is or who God is not. We can only tell another of what we believe our experience of God has been. Even then we have to face the possibility that all of our God talk may be delusional.

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  18. Many Trails Home8/23/2006 08:45:00 PM

    Anon "Does it matter": you speak my language. (How about creating a pseudonym for yourself so we know if you come back?) So is God an old man with a beard touching Adam's finger or is God "creative principle" (per Joel Goldsmith) or is God simply the unknowable, indefinable, and unnamable? I rather like the last, myself. And I would expand on what you say and suggest that the ONLY understanding of God that makes any difference at all is that which WE HAVE EXPERIENCED. So we can yammer on and on from our intellects and read everything ever written about God and none of it means a whit beside our OWN EXPERIENCE. . . which we know, beyond a doubt, when we have our own powerful experience(s) of God.
    Many blessings to you, Anon. MTH

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  19. The wiki entry on the Eucharist is really worth reading. Who knew that Fellowship Hour is a revival of the early Christian Agape Feast? (If you haven't experienced a Danish Lutheran Agape Feast, let me tell you, it is a particularly toothsome combo of carbs and caffeine. A weight watcher's nightmare.)

    Also interesting is this guide to a Christian Seder. Have you hosted one? Been to one?

    exoalc, I too dreaded the l-o-n-g services on Communion Sundays in the OALC. I spent the time comparing sartorial statements and imagined that I could detect a woman's character by the height of her bun and the size, material, and angle of her scarf. Meow.

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  20. This has been a great discussion, even Stylux's tongue in cheek shot at being serious, sarcastic, and sacrilegious, all in one post. Stylux, you crack me up almost as much as I crack myself up sometimes! Drive through communion!

    Anonymous, Because of my personal belief, yes it does matter -- to me. It's been interesting to see where we all differ a bit in our beliefs, with some not placing much emphasis on this and others finding it to be a fundamental building block of their faith. Your last comment made me chuckle as it brought to mind Blaise Pascal's wager about the existence of God. It's really a three part discussion and hence could be three "wagers", but the gist is basically if we "bet" there is a God, we can gain everything, and if it turns out there is no God, then we have lost nothing -- hence it would be foolish to bet there is no God -- where you neither win or lose anything.

    Lord love a duck, I do like mathematical reasoning. :-)

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  21. BTW Free, that was a true "meow"! Thanks for the chuckle.

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  22. CVOW, in reference to Pascal's Wager, what if the one true God suffers from agoraphobia and doesn't want attention? Then what happens to all those believers who've been talking to him non-stop for thousands of years? ;)

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  23. Nyuk. Or xenophobic and can't stand mortals? Or ideologophobic and prefers questioners over believers? Okay, I'll stop.

    It's worth reading the whole wiki entry on Pascal's Wager . (Hell insurance, indeed!)

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  24. LLLreader: OK, I can't help myself. What does an insomniac, agnostic, dyslectic do? He stays awake at night wondering if there really is a Dog.

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  25. dont have much of an opinioin either way on this one, but wanted to say:

    wow you are all so great!! I feel like I have a gathering of friends right in my living room, and its wonderful! Gods blessings to you all :)

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  26. And to you, hp3. I'm very grateful for this place where we can talk about our experiences and ideas and learn from one another, with all our differences.

    So hp3, thanks for posting. And hey, are we related? Drop me a line at extoot (at symbol) earthlink.net!

    If anyone is still following this thread, I'd like to ask: what is your response to the person offering the host? Do you stay silent or say amen?

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  27. In the RC church, we say "Amen" as the Eucharistic Minister presents the host saying "the Body of Christ" or the wine, saying "the Blood of Christ". "Amen" is a statement of affirmation, and basically is saying "I believe".

    ...and to think of all those years when I thought "Amen" just meant "Whew, that's over, now let's get outa here!"

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  28. I just got back from a trip to Greece that included a pilgrimage to the holy island of Patmos and the cave in which St. John the Baptist received and dictated the Revelation. It'll take some time to read all the posts, but I'd like to comment on a few things under this thread.

    Free2tobeme said she had heard the Orthodox and the Catholic differ on what changes the bread and wine. Well, yes, a certain difference could be seen in two regards. For the first, the Catholics have a very detailed doctrine about how the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ (=transsubstantiation), while the Orthodox say its a mystery how it happens and thus cannot be explained. According to the Orthodox, what really matters is that the bread and wine really become the true body and blood of Christ, not the way how it happens. And for the second, the Catholic emphasize the words of institution ("this is my body etc."), while the Orthodox emphasize the invocation of the Holy Spirit to make the bread and wine the body and blood of Christ. In the Orthodox liturgy this is illustrated by the fact that we only cross ourselves and make a slight bow during the words of institution, but after the prayer that asks the Holy Spirit to make the bread and wine the body and blood of Christ we prostrate, sort of like the muslims do (they copied it from the Christians), kneeling and touching the floor with your forehead.

    As for kneeling after partaking of the body and blood of Christ, the Orthodox follow the same principle as the Catholic priest cvow talked about - we are not to kneel the whole day after receiving communion because we have received Christ.

    Cvow also mentioned confessing and reconciling before communion. The same applies pretty to the Orthodox church too, but once again, the Orthodox church is not so detailed as the Catholic church is. And as it is not so detailed and to make sure you don't receive it unto condemnation, some local churches, like the Church of Russia, expect the communicants to confess every time before communion, either the same morning or the day before. Whereas other local churches don't require it if you go to communion regularly. If you feel the need you should confess, but the Orthodox church doesn't define any "mortal sins" that would automatically make you receive the communion unto condemnation. The main thing is to approach the chalice in repentance.

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  29. What I said above about kneeling and prostrating only applies to some Orthodox local churches and traditions. At least the Greeks do it the same way as the Catholics, i.e. just kneel for the whole thing and don't touch the floor with their foreheads like we do here (and in Russia).

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  30. "I've got a hunk of Christ stuck in my tooth!"

    It's a good thing I wasn't partaking of Holy Communion when I read this, or Jesus' blood would be sprayed all over the altar...

    I have heard it explained that it is in the serving and partaking that bread and wine are consecrated and become the true body and blood of Jesus Christ. Any bread or wine not served remains bread and wine. This of course is man's interpretation; the Gospel writers, along with Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, in recording the Last Supper are unclear on how the bread and wine become the body.

    It is interesting to note a couple of things:

    1. Jesus vowed that he would drink of no wine until his ascension: Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God. --Mark 14:25; see also Matthew 26:29

    2. When Jesus was struck in the side (after he gave up the ghost), clear water flowed from the wound. This seems to indicate that there was no natural blod in him: where could it have gone if not consumed at the last supper? (See John 19:34)

    Ilmarinen says, "but I don't see how one benefits from thinking they're actually chomping and slurping down the Lord."

    I think this is answered in Matthew 26:27-28: And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

    I take this to mean that it is by the blood of Christ that our sins are washed away; and by partaking of the blood of Christ our sins are being washed away. There is a warning, however: Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. -I Cor. 11:27,29

    With an understanding that the bread and wine are the body and blood, not representative of the body and blood, the man who rejects the bread and wine also rejects the body and blood of Jesus Christ; and without the body and blood there is no salvation.

    Ouch.

    ~Floater

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  31. An anonymous contributor typed, "I have heard that there is a substance in wine--not the alcohol--that kills microbes."

    While it just may be true that wine has certain disinfectant properties, one must understand that disinfectants do not work instantly. Short of fire, it takes time for the pathogens to be destroyed. Sanitation rules for commercial kitchens state that liquid disinfectants must remain wet on a surface for no less than ten minutes (read the instructions on a can of Lysol or bottle of Formula 409). For dishwashing, dishes must be fully immersed or continually washed in a disinfectant solution for no less than two minutes typically at 150 degrees Fahrenheit (heat makes the disinfectant more effective). Even my bottle of chlorine bleach -- the strongest, most effective disinfectant available to the average consumer -- states a minimum of five minutes contact time for disinfection.

    I seriously doubt that the few seconds between communicants is long enough for the wine to effectively disinfect a common chalise!

    ~Floater

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