Eucharistic Sharing at Valpo

Started by JEdwards, February 18, 2024, 09:10:40 PM

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JEdwards

I worshipped at the Chapel of the Resurrection this morning for the first time in nearly 3 years. I was struck by a couple statements in the bulletin that seem to mark a change in Eucharistic practice. First, the directions to prospective communicants seemed to reflect a more "open" table. There was an acknowledgment that some might choose to refrain from Communion due to "personal convictions" or the "rules of [their] church body"; such persons were invited to come forward for a blessing. There was no admonition (as there was previously) that not sharing the same faith precludes Eucharistic sharing.

On the flip side, there was also a notice that the pastors of the Chapel had "suspended" their practice of communing each other "at the request of" the President of the Indiana District "in view of his ecclesiastical authority over the ministry of" the LCMS pastor. There was a further notice that the "suspension" would be reviewed at the end of the 23-24 academic year "in light of the ecumenical situation."

Any insight into this change?  Was it in response to anything specific?  New DP with a new perspective?  Or just another sad marker of the ongoing drifting apart of the ELCA and LCMS?

Peace,
Jon


Charles Austin

Huh? What is the problem of the ordained communing each other? As a solo presider, I communed myself.
ELCA PASTOR. Iowa born and raised. Former journalist. Former news director and spokesman for the LCA. Former LWF staff in Geneva, Switzerland.  Parishes in Iowa. New Jersey and New York.  Retired in Minneapolis.

John Mundinger

Based on Luther's Large Catechism, I suggest that the following, or something similar, ought to be boiler plate in the bulletin of every Lutheran church, irrespective of denomination. 

Jesus Christ is present in the Sacrament.  The Sacrament is Christ's body and blood, given and shed for the forgiveness of sins.  Everyone who believes the promise that our Lord fulfills in the Sacrament is welcome and encouraged to receive the Sacrament.
Lifelong Evangelical Lutheran layman

Whoever, then, thinks that he understands the Holy Scriptures, or any part of them, but puts such an interpretation upon them as does not tend to build up this twofold love of God and our neighbour, does not yet understand them as he ought.  St. Augustine

JEdwards

Quote from: Charles Austin on February 18, 2024, 09:47:29 PMHuh? What is the problem of the ordained communing each other? As a solo presider, I communed myself.
I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that it's probably that one is LCMS and the other is ELCA (and female to boot).
Peace,
Jon

Charles Austin

But an LCMS pastor would (probably) not be at the altar with an ELCA pastor.
ELCA PASTOR. Iowa born and raised. Former journalist. Former news director and spokesman for the LCA. Former LWF staff in Geneva, Switzerland.  Parishes in Iowa. New Jersey and New York.  Retired in Minneapolis.

John Mundinger

#5
Quote from: JEdwards on February 18, 2024, 10:11:41 PM
Quote from: Charles Austin on February 18, 2024, 09:47:29 PMHuh? What is the problem of the ordained communing each other? As a solo presider, I communed myself.
I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that it's probably that one is LCMS and the other is ELCA (and female to boot).
Peace,
Jon

The information in your initial post suggests that, even though one pastor is an LCMS man and the other an ELCA woman, the two pastors had been communing each other prior to the recent change.

The Eucharist is the Lord's Table.  Christ is present in bread and wine.  The Sacrament is Christ's body and blood, given and shed for the forgiveness of sins.  This is true regardless of which of the two pastors spoke the words of institution and regardless of which of the two pastors is distributing the elements.
Lifelong Evangelical Lutheran layman

Whoever, then, thinks that he understands the Holy Scriptures, or any part of them, but puts such an interpretation upon them as does not tend to build up this twofold love of God and our neighbour, does not yet understand them as he ought.  St. Augustine

pearson

Quote from: John Mundinger on February 18, 2024, 09:50:12 PMEveryone who believes the promise that our Lord fulfills in the Sacrament is welcome and encouraged to receive the Sacrament.


I'm sure you meant that the language you recommend in the bulletin should read:

"Everyone who is baptized and believes the promise that our Lord fulfills in the Sacrament is welcome and encouraged to receive the Sacrament."

Tom Pearson

John Mundinger

Quote from: pearson on February 19, 2024, 08:33:32 AM
Quote from: John Mundinger on February 18, 2024, 09:50:12 PMEveryone who believes the promise that our Lord fulfills in the Sacrament is welcome and encouraged to receive the Sacrament.


I'm sure you meant that the language you recommend in the bulletin should read:

"Everyone who is baptized and believes the promise that our Lord fulfills in the Sacrament is welcome and encouraged to receive the Sacrament."

Tom Pearson

Thanks for the suggested edit.
Lifelong Evangelical Lutheran layman

Whoever, then, thinks that he understands the Holy Scriptures, or any part of them, but puts such an interpretation upon them as does not tend to build up this twofold love of God and our neighbour, does not yet understand them as he ought.  St. Augustine

Charles Austin

There are many stories of people seeking baptism after experiencing the sacrament of holy communion.
ELCA PASTOR. Iowa born and raised. Former journalist. Former news director and spokesman for the LCA. Former LWF staff in Geneva, Switzerland.  Parishes in Iowa. New Jersey and New York.  Retired in Minneapolis.

John Mundinger

Quote from: Charles Austin on February 19, 2024, 09:09:40 AMThere are many stories of people seeking baptism after experiencing the sacrament of holy communion.

Based on the Large Catechism, the unbaptized person who has "faith in these words" receives the blessing offered in the Sacrament.  The baptized person who does not have "faith in these words" would not.
Lifelong Evangelical Lutheran layman

Whoever, then, thinks that he understands the Holy Scriptures, or any part of them, but puts such an interpretation upon them as does not tend to build up this twofold love of God and our neighbour, does not yet understand them as he ought.  St. Augustine

pearson

Quote from: John Mundinger on February 19, 2024, 09:27:18 AMBased on the Large Catechism, the unbaptized person who has "faith in these words" receives the blessing offered in the Sacrament.  The baptized person who does not have "faith in these words" would not.


But this would place the emphasis on the psychological state ("faith") of the recipient, rather than on the sacramental promise, wouldn't it?  And because of original sin, wouldn't any such psychological state in the recipient be fragmented and uncertain?

Tom Pearson

John Mundinger

Quote from: pearson on February 19, 2024, 09:48:45 AM
Quote from: John Mundinger on February 19, 2024, 09:27:18 AMBased on the Large Catechism, the unbaptized person who has "faith in these words" receives the blessing offered in the Sacrament.  The baptized person who does not have "faith in these words" would not.


But this would place the emphasis on the psychological state ("faith") of the recipient, rather than on the sacramental promise, wouldn't it?  And because of original sin, wouldn't any such psychological state in the recipient be fragmented and uncertain?

Tom Pearson

Faith is the gift that we receive from the Holy Spirit.  It is not a psychological state.
Lifelong Evangelical Lutheran layman

Whoever, then, thinks that he understands the Holy Scriptures, or any part of them, but puts such an interpretation upon them as does not tend to build up this twofold love of God and our neighbour, does not yet understand them as he ought.  St. Augustine

Dan Fienen

Quote from: Charles Austin on February 19, 2024, 09:09:40 AMThere are many stories of people seeking baptism after experiencing the sacrament of holy communion.
This is an area, communion hospitality, where we will respectfully (I hope) disagree. Anecdotes are evidence but rarely proof. We have stated our reasons for the understanding and policies that we have. I'm not inclined to try to restate them all again, what would be the point? You disagree and have stated your reasons for your disagreement. Fine, I recognize your reasoning, but still disagree. Can we still respect each other's reasoning and act accordingly? Or is it that in order to show you respect, we have to agree with you? That disagreement is rank disrespect when it applies to you?

When I worship at an ELCA church, which I do very occasionally, I respectfully decline to commune. I do not make a big issue of it; I do not make a scene to show my disagreement. But I follow the policy of the church body to which I belong and honor the agreements that I've made when I joined the LCMS. Am I dishonorable for fulfilling my commitments because you disagree with what I am committed to?

Valpo was established as a pan-Lutheran institution, a position that over the years has become increasingly difficult to maintain as the major American Lutheran bodies have moved in increasingly different positions. Increasingly, Valpo has de facto become increasingly aligned with the ELCA with the LCMS side becoming more and more the minority position to be tolerated so long as it's not too much of a problem. Communing together across denominational lines, whether it be students who belong to churches back home from different Lutheran denominations or chapel pastors who belong to different church bodies not in mutual fellowship is a problem. Should students or pastors from the LCMS only be welcome at chapel services if they are willing to be disobedient to the policies of their home churches, or in the case of pastors be willing to dishonor their commitments as members of their church bodies? Should the religious life of Valpo be de facto governed by the ELCA with LCMS tolerated so long as they abide by ELCA policies and ignore those of their own churches? What would be pan-Lutheran about that?
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

pearson

Quote from: John Mundinger on February 19, 2024, 09:50:04 AMFaith is the gift that we receive from the Holy Spirit.  It is not a psychological state.


This is curious.  How is faith, as a gift of the Holy Spirit, received by the individual?  If it is not a psychological state, what is it?  How should we understand "Lord I believe, help my unbelief" (Mark 9:24)?

Tom Pearson

Brian Stoffregen

Quote from: pearson on February 19, 2024, 08:33:32 AM
Quote from: John Mundinger on February 18, 2024, 09:50:12 PMEveryone who believes the promise that our Lord fulfills in the Sacrament is welcome and encouraged to receive the Sacrament.


I'm sure you meant that the language you recommend in the bulletin should read:

"Everyone who is baptized and believes the promise that our Lord fulfills in the Sacrament is welcome and encouraged to receive the Sacrament."

Tom Pearson
The language in the Small Catechism about communion doesn't include baptism.
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

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