30 March 2010

Holy Week Refresher 2

Again, for any who might want a brief break this day.

"Tradition is given to teach us how to think about theology, not so that we might do theology without thinking."

Thoughts? Is this accurate?

29 March 2010

Cultural or Theological

Sometimes, in the middle of a busy week, one needs to take an intellectually stimulating break - to have one's mind think about some query or quandry that isn't the main focus of work - and so, should any of you wish for that, here I provide a question. Is this me playing Devil's Advocate, or simply being reflective -- I don't know, but here it goes.

Why are so many folks disdainful of individual cups when they have little to no problem with individual hosts?

I would think it is safe to assume that most of the folks on this blog prefer common cup -- highly, highly prefer common cup. I've even seen theological arguments that way - references to the fact that Scripture speaks to the "cup".

Okay- St. Paul also says, "Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread." Why the disdain for one "individual" method of distribution for one kind but not for the other? Is it really a theological objection, or is it more of a cultural objection - that we end up reacting against the types of of thoughts that drive and push the individual cups?

Behold - there is your semi-escapist-but-still-keep-thinking-theologically break for the day. What think you?

22 March 2010

Elders, mine are the elected variety not the ordained type, what should they be allowed to do?

I like many of you brothers have a board of Elders. They are men from the congregation with no special training or even aptitude for any of the various functions of the pastoral office. Yet, from somewhere in the past, this board was formed to assist the pastor. Among their functions according to the Constitution and bylaws of the congregation they are to pray for the pastor, ensure his family is cared for and that he has appropriate time off. Additionally they are to determine along with the pastor the worship practice of the congregation, approve worship resources. They were, by the time I arrived, assisting with the distribution of the elements in the Holy Communion.

The previous pastor had them distribute the host and the individual cups and he would distribute the Blood of Christ. I changed that to my distribution of the Host as only the pastor can admit to the Holy Supper and with the Host coming first, it seemed logical for the pastor to go first.

I have had a field worker now vicar for the past 4 years and I have had him distribute the Chalice and I have been down to one elder from previously having two, (one for the chalice, one for the individual cups). At the mid-week services I have not had an Elder serve as the vicar and I do it all. I first bring the host, then I bring the Chalice and the vicar follows with the individual cups. (no complaints on time here as there are many fewer in attendance so the service does not go "too long".)

Although I am not one concerned with the length of the service, (Divine service every Sunday is about 1 hr and 10-15 minutes) I know that when the vicar leaves, I would like to continue to bring the host and the chalice and only have an Elder bring the individual cups, (ideally we would do away the individual cups or I would bring them as well but I do not live in the ideal world).

How do you do what you do? Have any of you had my situation and gotten away from it and if so how did you do it? Have you been able to get rid of the individual cups and how? Do you have your elders at least wear some sort of robe for their part when they enter the chancel? Looking for some historic and practical help here. Thanks brothers.

19 March 2010

Speaker Pelosi Invokes St. Joseph

Today the Church honors St. Joseph, who is not only the patron saint of workers, but is also the stepfather and guardian of our Lord Jesus Christ and the protector and husband of His blessed mother. When the corrupt government of St. Joseph's day was committing infanticide and sought to remove Jesus from the public life of the people - St. Joseph expatriated his family in order to protect them from the murderous Herod and his henchpersons.

Madame Speaker was recently admonished by another Joseph (known to the world as Benedict) for her advocacy of infanticide. She is on record of supporting the use of public monies for infanticide - presumably in the very bill she is praying to St. Joseph for help in passing it.

Today is St. Joseph's feast, but it is also the season of Lent. I would urge Mrs. Pelosi to repent and become a protector and defender of children, as St. Joseph was to his holy Stepchild.

--- Rev. Larry Beane

17 March 2010

To Offer, or Not to Offer, the Sacrament at Easter Vigil

The Holy Saturday Vigil of Easter has the option of offering the Sacrament as the conclusion of the Service. Are there good reasons for or against this practice? In the past I have offered this Service at around 7 p.m. on Holy Saturday, and have always offered the Sacrament. It seems strange, however, to do so when the culmination of the Easter celebration is on Sunday morning in the Chief Service. It feels like I am "jumping the gun." Not that I am ever opposed to offering the Lord's Supper (this is why I am not a fan of options in the Divine Service--I'm too indecisive!). Can we hear from some of the other Blackbirds concerning this? What would be the most proper way to do this service? I don't know if it helps or not, but we have an Easter sunrise service, breakfast, and then the main Communion Service. I had planned on just having an Easter Matins service for sunrise, and then the Communion offered at our usual time.

14 March 2010

Admission to the Holy Supper

A Lutheran church body (not the LCMS or the ELCA) has the following statement on admission to the Sacrament of the Altar:

Do you practice open or closed communion?

We practice “responsible communion,” which is neither open nor closed. That is, according to the Bible we have a responsibility to tell people what we believe (“we receive the body and blood of Jesus Christ with the bread and wine, for the forgiveness of sins”), based on Matthew 26:26-28, Mark 14:22-24, Luke 22:19-20, 1 Corinthians 10:16-17, 1 Corinthians 11:23-28. The person has the responsibility to check with the Bible to ensure that it does teach that, and that the person agrees with that. Administration is left with the local pastor as part of his pastoral care.

This strikes me as a lot of bureaucratic gibberish designed to evade an uncomfortable question. Am I misreading this? Is this statement in accordance with what we confess in the LCMS? How about LCMS practice?

--- Rev. Larry Beane