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ALPB => Your Turn => Topic started by: Rob Morris on March 20, 2020, 02:00:54 PM

Title: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Rob Morris on March 20, 2020, 02:00:54 PM
(After a very long hiatus from these parts)

I am genuinely looking for input here: links to articles are just as helpful as personal comments...

During this time of crisis, everyone agrees with unanimity that we can livestream worship. But the idea of an at-home parishioner preparing elements for communion which are then blessed by the pastor is considered incorrect.

My question (and note the specificity): on the basis of Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions, why can't elements be consecrated remotely?

I have a lot of thoughts, but I am curious what others think.

NOTE: I know there are many here of other confessions - what your church bodies have decided and why would be helpful, too, but isn't my primary aim with the question.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Rob Morris on March 20, 2020, 02:04:36 PM
For context:

After consultation with my elders, our intention is that we will not now, or ever, close our doors while worship is occurring. However, we are trying to make every other possible concession. Which led to the question of communing remotely - with the full acknowledgment that it is neither a long-term plan nor does it subsitute for the unity shown by communing together.

And if you want to help my meager YouTube stats - our daily noon prayer services, Wednesday Evening Prayer services, and Sunday service are all livestreamed - with video links and links to bulletins on the church webpage at www.ctklutherannewtown.org
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: peter_speckhard on March 20, 2020, 03:03:13 PM
My own thoughts would be that normally the celebrant knows what he is a referring to when he says "this" in the Words of Institution. He has no idea what he is referring to in the Words of Institution if he is saying them in a room by himself with an unknown number of people streaming his words.

I don't think it is a distance thing. It is a mutual knowledge thing. I suppose if the service were more like a video-conference, in which the pastor could see on screens who he was talking to and the elements they had in front of them, it might be a totally different story. But just having the pastor say the Words of Institution without knowing what elements he is talking about or to whom he is talking renders the whole thing extremely questionable.

For example, why would it work live-streaming but not as a delayed podcast? Especially since the person watching may not know. Could I keep a handy podcast of my pastor consecrating the elements and use it for communion on business trips? I don't think so, and for the same reason as above-- the celebrant needs to know what he is referring to.

And these objections don't even address the issue of closed communion. 
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Rob Morris on March 20, 2020, 03:17:29 PM
I was sent the following link by private message. I think it should be shared here - it is a CTCR ruling on a church's practice of prerecording the words of institution to allow for some sort of "Upper Room" seder-ish service.

https://files.lcms.org/wl/?id=7ZiqCqGn3FiMMtQcbrcFQuPjjfn9AoMQ

The answers still leave questions in my mind.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Rob Morris on March 20, 2020, 03:26:40 PM
To Peter:

Thanks for the thoughts.

In your mind, would a phone call with the pastor before the live-streamed service, in addition to an announcement during the service alleviate those concerns?

Something like: if you intend to partake of communion in this way, please use unleavened bread and red wine and please contact the pastor if you are not a member of the congregation, as communing at this altar (even remotely) is a sign of both heavenly gift and earthly unity.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: peter_speckhard on March 20, 2020, 03:55:24 PM
To Peter:

Thanks for the thoughts.

In your mind, would a phone call with the pastor before the live-streamed service, in addition to an announcement during the service alleviate those concerns?

Something like: if you intend to partake of communion in this way, please use unleavened bread and red wine and please contact the pastor if you are not a member of the congregation, as communing at this altar (even remotely) is a sign of both heavenly gift and earthly unity.
I still think the celebrant needs to know what elements he is consecrating. Even if he knew (and he could only be going on assumptions) who was really participating, he wouldn't be referring to specific bread and mind. The word "this" would have a very indeterminate referent.

Also, we believe that even unbelievers receive the true body and blood of Christ if they consume the elements. Would that also apply to remotely consecrated elements? By what distinction would we say that not all the bread and wine in the house was consecrated? It would have to be the specific bread and wine intended for that use by the communicant. But that changes the efficacy of the sacrament from the Word of Christ spoken through the Servant of the Word to stemming from the intention of the communicant.

Obviously I don't have it all worked out because it is something I never considered anyone doing until this week, but taking off my pastor hat and considering it strictly as a communicant, I would not partake of remotely consecrated elements. I would just be grateful for a good Service of the Word and look forward to the day I could commune in person.   
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 20, 2020, 04:00:36 PM
(After a very long hiatus from these parts)

I am genuinely looking for input here: links to articles are just as helpful as personal comments...

During this time of crisis, everyone agrees with unanimity that we can livestream worship. But the idea of an at-home parishioner preparing elements for communion which are then blessed by the pastor is considered incorrect.

My question (and note the specificity): on the basis of Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions, why can't elements be consecrated remotely?

I have a lot of thoughts, but I am curious what others think.

NOTE: I know there are many here of other confessions - what your church bodies have decided and why would be helpful, too, but isn't my primary aim with the question.


I've stated this before, but what was consecrated in the Upper Room was a loaf of bread and a cup. The people ate from the one loaf and drank from the one cup. That can't happen with remote communion; unless, like the early church, deacons take portions from the loaf and cup and distribute them to those who could not gather for the corporate worship.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Mark Brown on March 20, 2020, 04:00:49 PM
The body of Christ we are told to recognize is both that under the bread and wine, and the one that gathers around that bread and wine.  The body of Christ is always an incarnational reality.  Doing so virtually you literally can't recognize the body of Christ.  And that is more a statement about those you are communing with than the bread and wine.

I also like the Roman Catholic distinction between a sacrament and a sacramental.  I would tend to think that any streamed worship is at best a sacramental.  It can be an act of piety that confirms and strengthens faith. But it is not the sacramental reality of the body of Christ gathered around word and sacrament.  The Holy Spirit Calls and Gathers prior to enlightening and sanctifying.  Where two or three are gathered...

That would be my quick reasoning.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: readselerttoo on March 20, 2020, 04:01:26 PM
For context:

After consultation with my elders, our intention is that we will not now, or ever, close our doors while worship is occurring. However, we are trying to make every other possible concession. Which led to the question of communing remotely - with the full acknowledgment that it is neither a long-term plan nor does it subsitute for the unity shown by communing together.

And if you want to help my meager YouTube stats - our daily noon prayer services, Wednesday Evening Prayer services, and Sunday service are all livestreamed - with video links and links to bulletins on the church webpage at www.ctklutherannewtown.org

Check it out:  drive-by communion (sounds dangerous, eh?  :)  8) http://shepherdlutheran.com/drive-up-communion/ or  https://www.shepherdlutheran.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/20200319-Drive-up-Communion.pdf
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Richard Johnson on March 20, 2020, 04:07:43 PM
I agree with Peter. I know we're in an extraordinary time. But we have to think things through theologically and liturgically. I like what Peter says about the pastor "not knowing" what he's consecrating. Additionally, if the Words of Institution (or the Epiclesis, or whatever we say "effects" the consecration) can do that remotely, how do we explain why they don't just consecrate the bottle of wine in the cupboard or the bread in the toaster? These things are hard to be precise about, I know, but we need to have some sense of how we think God works here, or we are asking for trouble down the line when the situation is different.

No one hungers for the Eucharist more than I do. But if I have to forgo it for a season, there are many other ways that Christ gives me sustenance. The Roman Catholics speak of a "spiritual communion" that can be undertaken when one, for whatever reason, is unable to receive the Eucharist. It involves a prayer something like this:

My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Richard Johnson on March 20, 2020, 04:09:44 PM
For context:

After consultation with my elders, our intention is that we will not now, or ever, close our doors while worship is occurring. However, we are trying to make every other possible concession. Which led to the question of communing remotely - with the full acknowledgment that it is neither a long-term plan nor does it subsitute for the unity shown by communing together.

And if you want to help my meager YouTube stats - our daily noon prayer services, Wednesday Evening Prayer services, and Sunday service are all livestreamed - with video links and links to bulletins on the church webpage at www.ctklutherannewtown.org

Check it out:  drive-by communion (sounds dangerous, eh?  :)  8) http://shepherdlutheran.com/drive-up-communion/ or  https://www.shepherdlutheran.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/20200319-Drive-up-Communion.pdf

They forgot Station 6: Here I go looking for another church.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: peter_speckhard on March 20, 2020, 04:10:25 PM
In a word, I'm not that interested in the Virtually Real Presence of Our Lord. If anything can maintain the distinction between reality and virtual reality, spiritual things, most crucially communion, should be that thing.

I mean that very deliberately-- I can't say I've thought it through enough to start issuing dogmatically certain teachings on this. I can say with certainty that I'm not interested. If the world goes on in this direction, I suspect I will be steadfastly curmudgeonly and just go find an old school church.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: readselerttoo on March 20, 2020, 04:12:24 PM
For context:

After consultation with my elders, our intention is that we will not now, or ever, close our doors while worship is occurring. However, we are trying to make every other possible concession. Which led to the question of communing remotely - with the full acknowledgment that it is neither a long-term plan nor does it subsitute for the unity shown by communing together.

And if you want to help my meager YouTube stats - our daily noon prayer services, Wednesday Evening Prayer services, and Sunday service are all livestreamed - with video links and links to bulletins on the church webpage at www.ctklutherannewtown.org

Check it out:  drive-by communion (sounds dangerous, eh?  :)  8) http://shepherdlutheran.com/drive-up-communion/ or  https://www.shepherdlutheran.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/20200319-Drive-up-Communion.pdf

They forgot Station 6: Here I go looking for another church.

 ;D
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on March 20, 2020, 04:18:29 PM
Communion can be livestreamed.  EWTN does it daily. 

The Body and Blood of Christ is another matter.

Literally.


How do I bless (consecrate) something not in my presence? 

Pax, Steven+

Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Charles Austin on March 20, 2020, 05:19:33 PM
That San Antonio church “plan“ sounds to me as if it would be simply atrocious.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Steven W Bohler on March 20, 2020, 05:34:57 PM
That San Antonio church “plan“ sounds to me as if it would be simply atrocious.

Don't say we never agree.  Because I am right there with you on this one.  And, according to the church's pastor, all this has been sanctioned by the district!  So, it is not some rogue dude going all "Lone Ranger" on us. 
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Rob Morris on March 20, 2020, 07:00:16 PM
I agree with a lot of what’s been said, so in some ways I’m playing devil’s advocate and really pushing at the edges of our thought. But at the same time…

Our confessions are extremely clear that it is not the bread and wine themselves but the word of God and the faith that receives that word: these are the things that make communion communion. Our confessions are also explicit that it is not the pastor or his right life or understanding that make communion communion. It is God’s word.

To push back on some thoughtful answers, answers I genuinely appreciate: I don’t understand exactly what the wafers are that I normally consecrate. But I do believe that God delivers his real presence through them. I don’t see how the pastor’s understanding of the elements becomes a sine qua non for communion.

And if the Pastor has to be present with the elements in order for the word to consecrate them, how close is close enough?

If the answer is that God can give the same benefits by other means, why can’t that argument be used for refraining from the sacrament at any time? Or for only offering them once a month, or once a year?

If the reason is that it fails to recognize the body gather together, wouldn’t that rule out private communion in hospitals or for shut-ins?

I know that we are talking about mysteries here. But I also wonder how often we equate those mysteries with our own preferred practices.

I genuinely am not trying to be argumentative. My own feeling is that elements consecrated through a live stream would not constitute communion. But I still don’t feel like I can clearly answer - from Scripture or the confessions - why not?

And it isn’t just posturing. I am live streaming every service. If I am to tell people not to commune from home, I would sure like to know it wasn’t just my opinion, but God’s instruction. Especially since no one knows how long this time of restriction will last.

I really appreciate everyone’s input and I truly hope none of this comes across as argumentative.

God be with you all in these trying times.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: readselerttoo on March 20, 2020, 07:08:43 PM
That San Antonio church “plan“ sounds to me as if it would be simply atrocious.

Don't say we never agree.  Because I am right there with you on this one.  And, according to the church's pastor, all this has been sanctioned by the district!  So, it is not some rogue dude going all "Lone Ranger" on us.

And yet it is a way to go about it.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: peter_speckhard on March 20, 2020, 07:39:04 PM
I agree with a lot of what’s been said, so in some ways I’m playing devil’s advocate and really pushing at the edges of our thought. But at the same time…

Our confessions are extremely clear that it is not the bread and wine themselves but the word of God and the faith that receives that word: these are the things that make communion communion. Our confessions are also explicit that it is not the pastor or his right life or understanding that make communion communion. It is God’s word.

To push back on some thoughtful answers, answers I genuinely appreciate: I don’t understand exactly what the wafers are that I normally consecrate. But I do believe that God delivers his real presence through them. I don’t see how the pastor’s understanding of the elements becomes a sine qua non for communion.

And if the Pastor has to be present with the elements in order for the word to consecrate them, how close is close enough?

If the answer is that God can give the same benefits by other means, why can’t that argument be used for refraining from the sacrament at any time? Or for only offering them once a month, or once a year?

If the reason is that it fails to recognize the body gather together, wouldn’t that rule out private communion in hospitals or for shut-ins?

I know that we are talking about mysteries here. But I also wonder how often we equate those mysteries with our own preferred practices.

I genuinely am not trying to be argumentative. My own feeling is that elements consecrated through a live stream would not constitute communion. But I still don’t feel like I can clearly answer - from Scripture or the confessions - why not?

And it isn’t just posturing. I am live streaming every service. If I am to tell people not to commune from home, I would sure like to know it wasn’t just my opinion, but God’s instruction. Especially since no one knows how long this time of restriction will last.

I really appreciate everyone’s input and I truly hope none of this comes across as argumentative.

God be with you all in these trying times.
I think it is a tad simpler. It boils down to the difference between sounds and words. If it is unclear what the words refer to, they revert to sounds. I think we would all agree that somebody saying the Words of Institution in a foreign language without knowing it would not really be unknowingly consecrating the elements. Or somebody unaware that there was bread and wine in a cabinet nearby does not unknowingly consecrate them. In short, I would submit that the whole idea of the possibility of unknowingly consecrating the elements introduces a Harry Potterish element of magic and superstition to the sacrament.

The pastor does not effect the sacrament, God's Word does, but God's Word has to be in word form, which hinges not upon the faith or sanctity of the pastor, but does hinge on his ability to mean things when he speaks. A bad pastor can consecrate the elements, but an insane pastor shouting gibberish cannot, even if he makes the right sounds. The pastor has to know what he means when he says the words, and when he uses a pronoun, he has to know what it refers to.

Pronouns are shortcuts. If you're going to use pronouns, you have to be able to replace them with full noun if a question arises. In a normal service, the celebrant knows exactly what he means by "this." He doesn't mean every loaf in the grocery store next store, even it that bread is mere feet away. He doesn't mean the wine in the flask of the wino in the front row. But in streaming communion, he can't know. And if he can't know, there is no way the listener can know. There are just too many unanswerable questions that work against the point of the Sacrament. 
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Rob Morris on March 20, 2020, 08:46:18 PM
This isn’t intended as pushback, I am trying to see if I have understood you properly.

What you are saying is that the word of God enables/empowers bread and wine to be a means of grace. But the word of God can’t be the word of God if we don’t know what the “this” stands for. The Word is rendered gibberish because the antecedent is missing in the understanding of the celebrant.

Have I understood your line of reasoning properly?

I will point out one flaw in your analogy: absolutely no one intends the bread in the cabinet nor the wino’s flask of wine to be received as Jesus’ body and blood. There is neither celebrant nor communicant in your scenario. Neither word nor faith receiving it.

Could I ask the question a different way: an immunosuppressed parishioner plans to watch the live stream. She asks if she can respectfully prepare a small bite of bread and a small sip of wine to be her communion only until she can return to church. I assume many here would answer no. But what reason would you give? How would you say it to her?

Again, not trying to argue. Trying to understand.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: aletheist on March 20, 2020, 09:02:21 PM
My own feeling is that elements consecrated through a live stream would not constitute communion. But I still don’t feel like I can clearly answer - from Scripture or the confessions - why not?
With sincere respect, this whole approach seems backwards.  We believe, teach, and confess that the true body and blood of Christ are really present in, with, and under the bread and wine whenever the Sacrament is administered in accordance with His institution.  Jesus was in the same room with His disciples on that occasion, and the person presiding at the Sacrament has typically been physically present with those who have received it for the two thousand years since.  Consequently, we can clearly affirm on the basis of Scripture and tradition that elements consecrated in person constitute Holy Communion, but we cannot say the same of elements consecrated through a live stream.  It is always the innovation that requires justification, not the maintenance of established practice, especially when the latter is ancient and well-attested.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: peter_speckhard on March 20, 2020, 10:36:45 PM
This isn’t intended as pushback, I am trying to see if I have understood you properly.

What you are saying is that the word of God enables/empowers bread and wine to be a means of grace. But the word of God can’t be the word of God if we don’t know what the “this” stands for. The Word is rendered gibberish because the antecedent is missing in the understanding of the celebrant.

Have I understood your line of reasoning properly?

I will point out one flaw in your analogy: absolutely no one intends the bread in the cabinet nor the wino’s flask of wine to be received as Jesus’ body and blood. There is neither celebrant nor communicant in your scenario. Neither word nor faith receiving it.

Could I ask the question a different way: an immunosuppressed parishioner plans to watch the live stream. She asks if she can respectfully prepare a small bite of bread and a small sip of wine to be her communion only until she can return to church. I assume many here would answer no. But what reason would you give? How would you say it to her?

Again, not trying to argue. Trying to understand.
In my analogy there is the Word. The celebrant is consecrating the elements, and the question is whether the bread behind the wall is thereby consecrated. I say no because there is no question of whether the celebrant was referring to that bread when he said, "Take eat, this is my body." He wasn't. This goes along with the discussion elsewhere on whether bread brought out from the sacristy to cover a shortage during distribution needs to be consecrated; I say it does, because it was not included in the original consecration.

The wino might be intending his wine to become the Blood of Christ. He might have brought it specifically to have it "blessed" on some superstition that then it wouldn't make him drunk, or would bring him good luck, or to sell it to an occultist. It would be wine in the presence of a valid consecration. But since the celebrant wasn't referring to it when he consecrated the elements, it is not consecrated, regardless of whether the listener thinks it was.

I think the error of approach is in trying to have it both ways. It makes sense to endure without the Sacrament when absolutely necessary, or to make the effort to have it in difficult (perhaps even forbidden) circumstances. But trying to have it both ways by consecrating elements all over the world via live -stream or podcast (Would it have to be live-streamed, or could it be prerecorded? Why or why not?) simply renders questionable what is intended, in part, as an assurance.   
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Rob Morris on March 20, 2020, 11:20:17 PM
My own feeling is that elements consecrated through a live stream would not constitute communion. But I still don’t feel like I can clearly answer - from Scripture or the confessions - why not?
With sincere respect, this whole approach seems backwards.  We believe, teach, and confess that the true body and blood of Christ are really present in, with, and under the bread and wine whenever the Sacrament is administered in accordance with His institution.  Jesus was in the same room with His disciples on that occasion, and the person presiding at the Sacrament has typically been physically present with those who have received it for the two thousand years since.  Consequently, we can clearly affirm on the basis of Scripture and tradition that elements consecrated in person constitute Holy Communion, but we cannot say the same of elements consecrated through a live stream.  It is always the innovation that requires justification, not the maintenance of established practice, especially when the latter is ancient and well-attested.

Fair points all - only I am not questioning in the least whether the traditional practice should be maintained. As I said upstream, I am maintaining it and will continue to do so, regardless of executive orders. I am asking why the innovation cannot be justified... more in a moment...
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Rob Morris on March 20, 2020, 11:31:19 PM
In my analogy there is the Word. The celebrant is consecrating the elements, and the question is whether the bread behind the wall is thereby consecrated. I say no because there is no question of whether the celebrant was referring to that bread when he said, "Take eat, this is my body." He wasn't. This goes along with the discussion elsewhere on whether bread brought out from the sacristy to cover a shortage during distribution needs to be consecrated; I say it does, because it was not included in the original consecration.

The wino might be intending his wine to become the Blood of Christ. He might have brought it specifically to have it "blessed" on some superstition that then it wouldn't make him drunk, or would bring him good luck, or to sell it to an occultist. It would be wine in the presence of a valid consecration. But since the celebrant wasn't referring to it when he consecrated the elements, it is not consecrated, regardless of whether the listener thinks it was.

I think the error of approach is in trying to have it both ways. It makes sense to endure without the Sacrament when absolutely necessary, or to make the effort to have it in difficult (perhaps even forbidden) circumstances. But trying to have it both ways by consecrating elements all over the world via live -stream or podcast (Would it have to be live-streamed, or could it be prerecorded? Why or why not?) simply renders questionable what is intended, in part, as an assurance.

No offense, but can we leave aside the wino scenario?

I am still interested in your, or other commenters, answer to this:

Quote
Could I ask the question a different way: an immunosuppressed parishioner plans to watch the live stream. She asks if she can respectfully prepare a small bite of bread and a small sip of wine to be her communion only until she can return to church. I assume many here would answer no. But what reason would you give? How would you say it to her?

This is not a wino, not someone trying to re-invent the church for some relevant hipster whatever. This is an anxious woman during this time that her government, her physician, and her family have all asked her to shelter in place. She is seeking the comfort of receiving Christ's body and blood with the church she longs to attend in person. She says (for she memorized the catechism like so many her age) that the word is there, and the faith is there, and she would be there in person if she could...

My answer is: No, because I don't know what kind of bread and wine you're using? No, because I am not near enough to the elements? No, because Jesus didn't livestream? These seem like the right pastoral answer?

Recall I asked (with specificity) what the Biblical and Confessional reasons are to not do so. Not a lot of Biblical and Confessional references happening thus far. 

I will fully grant... Something about the idea seems off, but can we be sure that isn't personal preference masquerading as orthodoxy?

So, what would the pastoral answer to her request be?
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Charles Austin on March 21, 2020, 12:13:01 AM
The sacraments are delivered by the Church. A Single faithful person or a small group of persons are not necessarily Church as we understand it. And it is the Church By which the sacraments delivered, not individual Christian, not groups of Christian, not pastors who can’t get to their people and delegate their duty to someone else. It is the Church - both eternal and/or temporal - that determines how the sacraments are to be delivered.
“Telecommunion”? No. A Ritual, however pious, without the one who represents the whole church? No.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on March 21, 2020, 12:20:09 AM
In the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America there are to be NO public church services until further notice.

However, the Metropolitan Archbishop has directed that all churches are to be open at reasonable hours so that the faithful may enter, light candles, and pray on their own.

At least one parish, St. George's in Cicero, Illinois, has advertised that during those hours the clergy will be available for the Sacrament of Confession and, with advance notice, to give the faithful Communion from the reserved Sacrament.

"Shelter in place", in every state thus far, has allowed for venturing outside for food and for medicine.

Surely the Eucharist constitutes food even if the increasingly UNcivil authorities fail to understand much less appreciate +Ignatius of Antioch's description of the Sacrament as the "medicine of immortality".
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: peter_speckhard on March 21, 2020, 12:28:30 AM
In the scenario in which an anxious woman asks if she can respectfully participate in communion remotely via livestream with elements she provides, what is the only reason one might say yes? Her anxiety. But does that yes actually help her anxiety unless the pastor can assure her that she is eating and drinking the Sacrament? And can he?

It might be different if it she were the only one the pastor was working with over some distance. Say she had to live in a plastic bubble or behind prison glass. But in live-streaming a service, anyone can log in. The question is whether anyone who logs into the feed and has bread and wine and wants to partake is thereby partaking. If I have a tray with elements and I live-stream a communion service (and there are countless available) can I consider those elements consecrated for having been in the presence of the computer screen that was streaming a service? The Word was there. The intent to consecrate was there. The elements were there. The intent to commune was there, and faith in Christ. But those elements were not what the celebrant was referring to when he “took bread” and said “this.” I think that makes a very key difference when we’re talking about attaching the Word to a visible element.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Rob Morris on March 21, 2020, 08:32:32 AM
Again, I personally agree with the unease... BUT...

To Charles: "Wherever two or more are gathered in my name..." is now "Wherever two or more are gathered in my name and at least one of them is a pastor..."

To Peter: "Is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ..." is now " Is not the bread that we break, as long as the pastor holds it and knows what it is, a participation in the body of Christ... "

How can we be sure, on the basis of Scripture and the confessions, that we are teaching the truth (no matter how uncomfortable) and not our preference (no matter how assuring)?

Especially if public officials intend to continue to follow the current mitigation model, which could involve a pattern of isolation lasting until nearly Christmas of 2021.

Not to be a broken record, but how would you explain it to the parishioner... Not to me, but to her and her genuine request?
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: peter_speckhard on March 21, 2020, 08:36:05 AM
In the scenario in which an anxious woman asks if she can respectfully participate in communion remotely via livestream with elements she provides, what is the only reason one might say yes? Her anxiety. But does that yes actually help her anxiety unless the pastor can assure her that she is eating and drinking the Sacrament? And can he?

It might be different if it she were the only one the pastor was working with over some distance. Say she had to live in a plastic bubble or behind prison glass. But in live-streaming a service, anyone can log in. The question is whether anyone who logs into the feed and has bread and wine and wants to partake is thereby partaking. If I have a tray with elements and I live-stream a communion service (and there are countless available) can I consider those elements consecrated for having been in the presence of the computer screen that was streaming a service? The Word was there. The intent to consecrate was there. The elements were there. The intent to commune was there, and faith in Christ. But those elements were not what the celebrant was referring to when he “took bread” and said “this.” I think that makes a very key difference when we’re talking about attaching the Word to a visible element.
Just to further the point. If we say Jane Doe can respectfully partake of communion via live-stream, then anyone with bread and wine, a desire to commune, and access to a live feed of a church service can commune via that service (and this doesn't even address the question of whether the live-stream is live or prerecorded.) And anyone else who happens to be in Jane Doe's house, regardless of their faith or intent, would be consuming the body and blood of Christ if they took any of the thus consecrated bread and wine. After all, tat is what is true of the elements in a regular church service.

If I were to commune at a normal Orthodox or Roman Catholic service, I would still be receiving the body and blood of Christ. The reason I don't do that is that a) I'm not invited; and b) doing so would give false public witness about my unity with that church. As I've said many times before, one communes where one accepts correction of one's faith and life. But that is another issue. The point here is that if live-streaming communion is efficacious, I could commune by bringing elements to my private viewing of a Mass on EWTN without any false public witness whatsoever; nobody would know but me. And there is no theologically sound way to say that Catholics watching the feed with bread and wine in their own homes would receive the body and blood of Christ, but I would not.

The celebrant has to be aware of whom he is talking to and what elements he is talking about for communion to be done as instituted. Otherwise his words don't refer to the proper realities and thus lose meaning. Now, if Jane and he worked it out so that it was a two-way thing, like a video conference in which he could see her and her bread and wine, and any other participants could see who they were communing with and what elements were "in play" to so speak, I would think it would be a different case. The pastor would know who he was talking to and what elements he was talking about. There would be mutual participation over a distance, which would be different than a one-way, open-ended consecration of any elements that happened to be out there. It still might be problematic, but in a different way than the issue I have with live-streaming communion into people's homes.

Granted, if one really wants to push the boundaries of what makes the sacrament efficacious, there is no proving it. You can't really test any hypothesis, as in, "Jane, let's try it via ham radio and you report back to me whether your bread and wine contained the body and blood of Christ." So nobody or anybody can declare by fiat what the boundaries are, and there is little anyone can do about it if people want to innovate. All I can say is what I will do, and I will not live-stream communion into my parishioners' homes even though others apparently are trying it.   
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: peter_speckhard on March 21, 2020, 08:58:35 AM


To Peter: "Is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ..." is now " Is not the bread that we break, as long as the pastor holds it and knows what it is, a participation in the body of Christ... "

How can we be sure, on the basis of Scripture and the confessions, that we are teaching the truth (no matter how uncomfortable) and not our preference (no matter how assuring)?

Especially if public officials intend to continue to follow the current mitigation model, which could involve a pattern of isolation lasting until nearly Christmas of 2021.

Not to be a broken record, but how would you explain it to the parishioner... Not to me, but to her and her genuine request?
As for St. Paul, when he writes "Is not the bread we break..." it is a rhetorical question with a clearly implicit " in worship according to Christ's institution." It isn't referring to any bread anyone in the congregation happens to eat, though that is not explicitly stated. Again, it is all about what the words refer to, in this case in Paul's letter. And when St. Paul specifies what bread he talking about, the bread "that we break" he puts it into the context of the sacrament in which (again, presumably, but I think somewhat obviously) they all mutually know what people are "we" and what bread they're breaking.

To a parishioner who is anxious about not having communion over a long period of time, I would bring her the Sacrament if at all possible, and assure her of God's grace and forgiveness via other available means if not possible. And if for whatever hypothetical reason I had to offer her communion remotely, I would do it via something like Facetime where I could see her and the elements and she could see and hear me, and we could watch each other commune "together." At least then every word I spoke would correspond to a known reality and not just be hocus pocus. As for why I would counsel against bringing elements to a viewing of a live-streamed service, I would say that I wouldn't have any assurance that I knew what I was doing, much less whether it "worked" or not, and without such assurance, what is the point of the Sacrament?   
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dave Benke on March 21, 2020, 09:48:09 AM
Again, I personally agree with the unease... BUT...

To Charles: "Wherever two or more are gathered in my name..." is now "Wherever two or more are gathered in my name and at least one of them is a pastor..."

To Peter: "Is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ..." is now " Is not the bread that we break, as long as the pastor holds it and knows what it is, a participation in the body of Christ... "

How can we be sure, on the basis of Scripture and the confessions, that we are teaching the truth (no matter how uncomfortable) and not our preference (no matter how assuring)?

Especially if public officials intend to continue to follow the current mitigation model, which could involve a pattern of isolation lasting until nearly Christmas of 2021.

Not to be a broken record, but how would you explain it to the parishioner... Not to me, but to her and her genuine request?

Let's say what emerges is a "pattern of isolation" in which larger gatherings of people including church gatherings cannot be accomplished for six months to a year.  The concept then of consecrated elements being delivered to homes along with other materials - bible studies, bibles and hymnals, worship materials, etc., make it a long list of potential materials - could be done by those so designated on what they now call a "grab and go" basis.  The deliverers could be parish elders, pastors, leaders.  They could interact if possible at the doorway of the house and have a prepared brief liturgy stating that the Eucharist consecrated at St. Peter's altar with these words (of institution) is now being shared with Mrs. X.  This could be done let's say once a month.  If the visitor couldn't enter but just drop off the materials, that same liturgy could be read by the recipient(s).  The consecration and the service would be available online or given as an audio/video tape to those who didn't have internet. 

This would be considered an "essential service", in conjunction with checking on people's health and social well-being, as spiritual well-being.  If and as many are left without employment and are stranded, there would be more folks available to organize for this "distribution."

What folks are already stating to us in NYC is that it's the social isolation that is spiritually detrimental - they're lonely and want company, want to talk through the issues of their lives.  That can be done by frequent pastoral/leader phone calls; the Eucharist is a joining with Christ to receive forgiveness and strength.

Dave Benke

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dave Benke on March 21, 2020, 10:00:10 AM
I just received an email from the Michigan District, LCMS, with this article written by the LCMS Commission on Theology on March 20:  Here it is -

Communion and Covid-19 The current crisis caused by the coronavirus or Covid-19 pandemic is disrupting every facet of life for our entire continent and for most of the world. Increasing restrictions on social ties and connections—“social distancing”—while endorsed by most medical authorities are now also being mandated increasingly by governing authorities. Among the practices of social distancing is the avoidance of group settings—settings such as Christian worship.  A growing number of LCMS churches are suspending services temporarily because of Covid-19. This presents significant challenges for Christian life and the church’s well-being. Christians treasure his Word and Sacraments and so we treasure regular corporate worship. Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly...” Similarly, we treasure fellowship with one another and know that the Word tells us not to forsake meeting together so that we can continue to encourage each other (Hebrew 10:25).   

The Small Catechism summarizes the Lutheran understanding of the importance of public worship in its teaching on the third commandment: “We should fear and love God so that we do not despise preaching and His Word, but hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it.” As a consequence, we hold services each Lord’s Day and at other times, and encourage all members to attend regularly in order to receive the gifts of Christ in Word and Sacrament. At the same time we have not made a law of Sunday worship. We know that our services are not something we are doing to earn a place with God. Jesus tells us that “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27). There are times when the obligations of Christian love may lead individuals not to worship with a congregation. A church member with a bad cold, flu, or another contagious disease will generally refrain from attending services lest he or she infect others. Congregations have canceled services entirely in order to protect their members during inclement weather.

Understandably, then, in the current circumstance, many LCMS congregations have again determined that they should suspend services for a time out of love for those who might contract the deadly Covid-19 virus.  Such churches are able to find various ways to help members to hear the Word of Christ richly. From telephone calls to emails to website messaging to instant messaging to sermon streaming, the Word is being heard and received in the midst of the coronavirus. But what of the Sacrament of the Altar? The forgiveness of sins is not prevented when one cannot commune, for it is delivered by the Gospel as it is read and preached and spoken by the royal priesthood and also in the sacraments of Baptism and the Holy Supper as well as in Absolution. But it is only in the Lord’s Supper that we eat and drink Christ’s very body and blood. It thereby offers a special assurance that is proper only to it, just as Baptism has its own assurances. The inability to commune is therefore no small matter, but a true hardship! 

We know, however, that the church has known this hardship at other times and not only in our own time. During the early years of colonial America, Lutherans often went weeks or months without the Supper. Congregations without a pastor are often unable to receive the Lord’s Supper in their services because supply pastors are unavailable—sometimes for lengthy time periods. And, in the early 20th century during the great influenza epidemic of 1918-1919, many Missouri Synod churches were not able to meet for any services during a period of time. We are not in uncharted territory. 

Some unsatisfactory solutions to the unavailability of the Sacrament have been suggested at the present time. One is that a pastor speak the words of institution from the church during a streaming service while everyone communes at home. Another is to have the pastor consecrate elements in the presence of elders or deacons who would in turn administer them to members. While the hunger and thirst for the Lord’s Supper that leads to such measures is both understandable and commendable, the solutions are nevertheless faulty.  A video streaming “consecration” with words spoken by the pastor remotely and communion elements in member homes is almost identical to an approach that the CTCR addressed in 20061in which the Commission said:  1.The Lord’s Supper was instituted by Jesus with words and actions spoken and carried out by him in the direct presence of his disciples (Matt. 26:26-28). Throughout history, the church has sought to be faithful to Christ’s practice in this regard. Pastors speak the words of institution in the presence of the assembled congregation, thereby giving assurance that we are “doing this” as our Lord has instructed us to do (Luke 22:19). Whenever the actual words and actions of the celebrant in consecrating the elements are intentionally separated (by time, distance, or technological means) from the distribution and reception, no assurance can be given that our Lord’s instructions are being heeded and that the body and blood of Christ are actually being given and received for the forgiveness of sins and the strengthening of faith (cf. fn. 15 of the CTCR’s 1983 report Theology and Practice of the Lord’s Supper [TPLS]).

Moreover, this approach turns the words spoken by the pastor from a proclamation into an incantation of sorts. This, too, was addressed by the CTCR:  2.This practice lends itself to the unscriptural notion that the body and blood of Christ in the Lord’s Supper are present by virtue of the “incantation” of the pastor in some way,  The CTCR responded to a question about DVD consecration. While there certainly are some dissimilarities 1between the question at that time and the present question about a video streaming consecration, the similarities are so strong that we are referencing the 2006 opinion extensively here. See CTCR, “Opinion on DVD Consecration (2006) at https://files.lcms.org/wl/?id=7ZiqCqGn3FiMMtQcbrcFQuPjjfn9AoMQ.
shape or form, rather than by the gracious power of Christ and his Word. “Concerning the consecration,” says the Formula of Concord, “we believe, teach, and confess that no man’s work nor the recitation of the minister effect this presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Holy Supper, but it is to be ascribed solely and alone to the almighty power of our Lord Jesus Christ” (FC Ep VII, 8; quoted in TPLS, 15). While it is true that “the regularly called and ordained pastors of the church are to officiate at the administration of Holy Communion” (TPLS, 17-18), it is only “through Christ’s word and its power”—not through the mere “sound” or “recording” of the voice of the pastor—“that Christ’s body and blood are present in the bread and wine” (TPLS, 14).  Novelties such as these in the practice of the Lord’s Supper will inevitably lead away from the Sacrament itself as instituted by Christ to humanly-instituted techniques by which the Sacrament is purportedly being given. Note the third point raised by the CTCR in 2006:  3.As emphasized above, the focus in our celebration of the Lord’s Supper must always be on the gracious word of Christ—the word that gives assurance to hearts weighed down by guilt, doubt and fear that the great gifts promised here are truly given and received. The Commission says: “To...insert some personal idiosyncrasy into the consecration is to detract the people’s attention from the Sacrament. The congregation’s focus is to be on Christ’s word and invitation. The celebrant is a servant to sharpen that focus” (TPLS, 15). The Lord’s Supper is intended to strengthen faith in God’s forgiving grace, a faith which counts on the Word of Christ’s promise that the bread and wine are His body and blood. To introduce doubts or uncertainty about the Sacrament negates this purpose. We can be thankful that God in His mercy has not given the Lord’s Supper as the only “means of grace.” Instead, he showers us with His grace. The Gospel is not silenced, forgiveness is proclaimed, Baptism will be administered even in emergencies, and Baptism is lived out daily by means of repentance and the new life that God’s Spirit enables us to live in any and all circumstances. 

We also cannot support the suggestion that a pastor may consecrate elements with the elders or deacons, who would then administer them to members. The CTCR counseled against this practice on theological grounds in Theology and Practice of the Lord’s Supper, pages 26-27 (see also page 13 which opposes distribution without the Verba).  Moreover, given the clear guidance 2of medical and governing authorities regarding behavior that best minimizes the spread of infection, we note that this suggested practice introduces two potential opportunities for the transmission of Covid-19. The first is the interaction between the pastor and the elders/deacons. The second is the interaction of the individual elder or deacon with the communicant(s) in the home.     CTCR (1983), http://www.lcms.org/Document.fdoc?src=lcm&id=421. 2

As great as the hardship is when we cannot receive Christ’s body and blood, the hardship ought not be “resolved” in ways that promise an uncertain “sacrament” without the absolute assurance that Christ intends. It is better humbly and repentantly to ask the Lord for the regular administration of the Sacrament of the Altar to be restored to us, together with an end to the “deadly pestilence” that is killing thousands of souls who are precious to God, their Creator (see Psalm 91; Jonah 4:11).  In this uncertain time, let us encourage every baptized child of God to be fervent in seeking opportunities to hear the Word of God as it goes forth from written sermons, letters, websites, emails, streaming videos, and other means, to read the Word in their homes, to implore God to end this plague and preserve His church, and—as His royal priesthood—to “proclaim the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Pet. 2:9).  In closing, we wish to echo the CTCR from 2006.  Finally, it is important to note that this response of the Commission is in no way intended to pass judgment on the motives of those involved. . . .

The sole purpose of this response is to promote and encourage the proper practice of the Lord’s Supper in faithfulness to the teaching and example of Christ, so that doubts and questions may be replaced by faith in Christ’s gracious word, promise, and presence. Rev. Dr. Lawrence R. Rast, Jr., Chairman of the CTCR Rev. Dr. Joel D. Lehenbauer, Executive Director of the CTCR Rev. Larry M. Vogel, Associate Executive Director of the CTCR Endorsed by the CTCR on March 20, 2020

I note that the difficulty expressed about elders or others taking the consecrated elements to the home has to do with transmission, and not the theological premise.   

Worth reading and discussing.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Charles Austin on March 21, 2020, 10:12:28 AM
Rob Morris writes:
To Charles: "Wherever two or more are gathered in my name..." is now "Wherever two or more are gathered in my name and at least one of them is a pastor

I comment:
No. The Lord is present in the small gatherings, the issue at hand is whether the Lord is present Sacramentally in the elements in so far as we understand the theology of the sacrament. Perhaps this is a matter of ecclesiology and/or church order but it is something to think about.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: John_Hannah on March 21, 2020, 10:23:07 AM
"I note that the difficulty expressed about elders or others taking the consecrated elements to the home has to do with transmission, and not the theological premise.   

Worth reading and discussing.

Dave Benke"

INDEED! The practice of distributing the reserved host to sick shut-ins goes back to the 2nd century. (Didache) It would seem to be a good solution today if proper hygenic precautions could be maintained.

On another note, I will observe that concern about absence from Holy Communion among 21st century American Lutherans for only a couple of weeks (thus far) is healthy. As the CTCR encyclical notes in earlier times when circuit riding pastors served Lutherans there was a great span of time. We know as well that most American Lutheran congregations of the 19th and early 20th century celebrated only quarterly, leaving the Sacrament alone for 13 weeks or more.   :)  Among all of us, spirituality has improved.

Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: James J Eivan on March 21, 2020, 10:38:39 AM
That San Antonio church “plan“ sounds to me as if it would be simply atrocious.

Don't say we never agree.  Because I am right there with you on this one.  And, according to the church's pastor, all this has been sanctioned by the district!  So, it is not some rogue dude going all "Lone Ranger" on us. 
The Texas District President is a member of Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, San Antonio, Tx
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: peter_speckhard on March 21, 2020, 10:38:55 AM
I think the CTCR hit the right note here. Helpful document.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Rob Morris on March 21, 2020, 11:01:20 AM
Quote
Moreover, this approach turns the words spoken by the pastor from a proclamation into an incantation of sorts. This, too, was addressed by the CTCR:  2.This practice lends itself to the unscriptural notion that the body and blood of Christ in the Lord’s Supper are present by virtue of the “incantation” of the pastor in some way,  The CTCR responded to a question about DVD consecration. While there certainly are some dissimilarities 1between the question at that time and the present question about a video streaming consecration, the similarities are so strong that we are referencing the 2006 opinion extensively here. See CTCR, “Opinion on DVD Consecration (2006) at https://files.lcms.org/wl/?id=7ZiqCqGn3FiMMtQcbrcFQuPjjfn9AoMQ.
shape or form, rather than by the gracious power of Christ and his Word. “Concerning the consecration,” says the Formula of Concord, “we believe, teach, and confess that no man’s work nor the recitation of the minister effect this presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Holy Supper, but it is to be ascribed solely and alone to the almighty power of our Lord Jesus Christ” (FC Ep VII, 8; quoted in TPLS, 15). While it is true that “the regularly called and ordained pastors of the church are to officiate at the administration of Holy Communion” (TPLS, 17-18), it is only “through Christ’s word and its power”—not through the mere “sound” or “recording” of the voice of the pastor—“that Christ’s body and blood are present in the bread and wine” (TPLS, 14).  Novelties such as these in the practice of the Lord’s Supper will inevitably lead away from the Sacrament itself as instituted by Christ to humanly-instituted techniques by which the Sacrament is purportedly being given. Note the third point raised by the CTCR in 2006:  3.As emphasized above, the focus in our celebration of the Lord’s Supper must always be on the gracious word of Christ—the word that gives assurance to hearts weighed down by guilt, doubt and fear that the great gifts promised here are truly given and received. The Commission says: “To...insert some personal idiosyncrasy into the consecration is to detract the people’s attention from the Sacrament. The congregation’s focus is to be on Christ’s word and invitation. The celebrant is a servant to sharpen that focus” (TPLS, 15). The Lord’s Supper is intended to strengthen faith in God’s forgiving grace, a faith which counts on the Word of Christ’s promise that the bread and wine are His body and blood. To introduce doubts or uncertainty about the Sacrament negates this purpose. We can be thankful that God in His mercy has not given the Lord’s Supper as the only “means of grace.” Instead, he showers us with His grace. The Gospel is not silenced, forgiveness is proclaimed, Baptism will be administered even in emergencies, and Baptism is lived out daily by means of repentance and the new life that God’s Spirit enables us to live in any and all circumstances. 

Is there an online version of this somewhere? The formatting freaked out in the above paragraph, right in the guts of the argument they're making.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on March 21, 2020, 11:14:10 AM
"I note that the difficulty expressed about elders or others taking the consecrated elements to the home has to do with transmission, and not the theological premise.   

Worth reading and discussing.

Dave Benke"

INDEED! The practice of distributing the reserved host to sick shut-ins goes back to the 2nd century. (Didache) It would seem to be a good solution today if proper hygenic precautions could be maintained.

On another note, I will observe that concern about absence from Holy Communion among 21st century American Lutherans for only a couple of weeks (thus far) is healthy. As the CTCR encyclical notes in earlier times when circuit riding pastors served Lutherans there was a great span of time. We know as well that most American Lutheran congregations of the 19th and early 20th century celebrated only quarterly, leaving the Sacrament alone for 13 weeks or more.   :)  Among all of us, spirituality has improved.

Peace, JOHN

RE:  Distribution from the Reserved Sacrament - EXCELLENT reminder of the orthodoxy and catholicity of this historic practice.

Post-Reformation reservation about Reservation was a result of Roman abuses through which the adoration of the Host became more important to many of the faithful than Communion itself.   

RE:  Infrequent Communion due to frontier conditions - Because those conditions persisted so long in many areas the faithful began to consider infrequent Communion to be the norm.

We DARE NOT refer to this present emergency as a "new normal". 

It is, at best, a new ABNORMAL.

The moment we consider temporary measures to be an abiding pattern is the moment when we will need to fight to re-establish the centrality of the weekly Eucharist.

Many of us struggled valiantly to move congregations from "once a month" to other increments culminating in weekly celebration. Some of us endured harsh financial punishment from powerful congregants who disagreed vehemently and who wished to impose their own distaste for Communion on everyone.

We dare not "get used to" infrequent Communion.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: aletheist on March 21, 2020, 11:36:00 AM
I am asking why the innovation cannot be justified.
And I am suggesting that this is an invalid question--we have no obligation to justify our inability to justify an innovation.  This is a case where a perfectly adequate response is simply to say that the church throughout the ages has never done it that way.  Moreover, if the celebrant is not physically present with the elements when speaking the consecration, then the Sacrament is not being administered in accordance with Christ's institution.
Quote from: FC SD VII.83-84
However, this blessing, or the recitation of the words of institution of Christ alone does not make a sacrament if the entire action of the Supper, as it was instituted by Christ, is not observed (as when the consecrated bread is not distributed, received, and partaken of, but is enclosed, sacrificed, or carried about), but the command of Christ, "This do" (which embraces the entire action or administration in this Sacrament, that in an assembly of Christians bread and wine are taken, consecrated, distributed, received, eaten, drunk, and the Lord's death is shown forth at the same time) must be observed unseparated and inviolate, as also St. Paul places before our eyes the entire action of the breaking of bread or of distribution and reception, 1 Cor. 10:16.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dave Benke on March 21, 2020, 11:41:18 AM
Quote
Moreover, this approach turns the words spoken by the pastor from a proclamation into an incantation of sorts. This, too, was addressed by the CTCR:  2.This practice lends itself to the unscriptural notion that the body and blood of Christ in the Lord’s Supper are present by virtue of the “incantation” of the pastor in some way,  The CTCR responded to a question about DVD consecration. While there certainly are some dissimilarities 1between the question at that time and the present question about a video streaming consecration, the similarities are so strong that we are referencing the 2006 opinion extensively here. See CTCR, “Opinion on DVD Consecration (2006) at https://files.lcms.org/wl/?id=7ZiqCqGn3FiMMtQcbrcFQuPjjfn9AoMQ.
shape or form, rather than by the gracious power of Christ and his Word. “Concerning the consecration,” says the Formula of Concord, “we believe, teach, and confess that no man’s work nor the recitation of the minister effect this presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Holy Supper, but it is to be ascribed solely and alone to the almighty power of our Lord Jesus Christ” (FC Ep VII, 8; quoted in TPLS, 15). While it is true that “the regularly called and ordained pastors of the church are to officiate at the administration of Holy Communion” (TPLS, 17-18), it is only “through Christ’s word and its power”—not through the mere “sound” or “recording” of the voice of the pastor—“that Christ’s body and blood are present in the bread and wine” (TPLS, 14).  Novelties such as these in the practice of the Lord’s Supper will inevitably lead away from the Sacrament itself as instituted by Christ to humanly-instituted techniques by which the Sacrament is purportedly being given. Note the third point raised by the CTCR in 2006:  3.As emphasized above, the focus in our celebration of the Lord’s Supper must always be on the gracious word of Christ—the word that gives assurance to hearts weighed down by guilt, doubt and fear that the great gifts promised here are truly given and received. The Commission says: “To...insert some personal idiosyncrasy into the consecration is to detract the people’s attention from the Sacrament. The congregation’s focus is to be on Christ’s word and invitation. The celebrant is a servant to sharpen that focus” (TPLS, 15). The Lord’s Supper is intended to strengthen faith in God’s forgiving grace, a faith which counts on the Word of Christ’s promise that the bread and wine are His body and blood. To introduce doubts or uncertainty about the Sacrament negates this purpose. We can be thankful that God in His mercy has not given the Lord’s Supper as the only “means of grace.” Instead, he showers us with His grace. The Gospel is not silenced, forgiveness is proclaimed, Baptism will be administered even in emergencies, and Baptism is lived out daily by means of repentance and the new life that God’s Spirit enables us to live in any and all circumstances. 

Is there an online version of this somewhere? The formatting freaked out in the above paragraph, right in the guts of the argument they're making.

I couldn't save the article to my computer so just highlighted it and copied, which is problematic.  You can find this at the Michigan District website with a video from President Dave Meier.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dave Benke on March 21, 2020, 11:46:42 AM
"I note that the difficulty expressed about elders or others taking the consecrated elements to the home has to do with transmission, and not the theological premise.   

Worth reading and discussing.

Dave Benke"

INDEED! The practice of distributing the reserved host to sick shut-ins goes back to the 2nd century. (Didache) It would seem to be a good solution today if proper hygenic precautions could be maintained.

On another note, I will observe that concern about absence from Holy Communion among 21st century American Lutherans for only a couple of weeks (thus far) is healthy. As the CTCR encyclical notes in earlier times when circuit riding pastors served Lutherans there was a great span of time. We know as well that most American Lutheran congregations of the 19th and early 20th century celebrated only quarterly, leaving the Sacrament alone for 13 weeks or more.   :)  Among all of us, spirituality has improved.

Peace, JOHN

Yes to both comments John.

I think the CTCR letter waffled when it came to distribution of the reserved host, because there is no scriptural proscription.  Rather it's not our denominational custom or habit, except in the far-flung precincts.  I believe it's a valid option and a valuable option, and further think there are ways to "secure" the elements from contamination which were not explored at all in the letter - if they were positive toward the distribution of the reserved host they would have had some of those securing options listed.

But - our people dearly miss, need and desire to receive the Eucharist.  That custom has changed and changed pretty dramatically in the past decades.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Richard Johnson on March 21, 2020, 12:06:26 PM
My rector asked me to write something about being without the Eucharist for the parish paper. Here's what I wrote:

I received my first communion when I was perhaps 8 or 9 years old in my grandparents’ Methodist Church. We didn’t really go to church much in my family—Sunday School off and on, but not church. I was vaguely familiar, perhaps, with the story of the Last Supper, but didn’t know anything about its reflection in Holy Communion. But it was Holy Week, school was out, and we were visiting my grandparents for the week. It was Maundy Thursday, and church was on the agenda that night. My grandmother was appalled when she discovered I didn’t know anything about the Sacrament, but she wasn’t really equipped to explain much, so that task passed to my cousin, 18 months older than I. I don’t really remember a lot about the service itself, except that I liked it. It touched me in some deep place.

As I got into adolescence, I started going to church regularly—again a Methodist congregation, where we had gone to Sunday School. It was a university town and we were, I suppose, what passed for “high church Methodists,” which is to say it had Communion monthly rather than quarterly. I always looked forward to the first Sunday of the month; to this day I can’t smell grape juice without a nostalgic wave of Eucharistic piety washing over me.
 
I suppose many of you, at least those of you in my age bracket or older, also grew up in a time when even the Episcopal Church didn’t celebrate the Eucharist weekly. To my thinking, the movement over the last few decades in many churches toward a more central place for Holy Communion has been a wonderful blessing. At the discussion during our Lenten class on the sacraments, Deacon Gary asked us to reflect on how we experience the Eucharist, and my response was that for me it is like a hunger or thirst—I long to receive it. It is almost visceral.

That makes this time when we cannot gather because of the public health threat particularly challenging, at least for me. I’m fine not going shopping or to the movies. But missing Holy Communion? That seems particularly cruel to me.

Some in this season are also thinking of this as something like an extended “Eucharistic fast.” An ancient tradition required fasting prior to receiving communion on Sunday. The idea is that a voluntary fast can increase our joy when at last the fast is broken. Perhaps we could think of this time as something like that. It is beginning to appear that we won’t be able to gather even at Easter this year. But we can be certain that someday soon we will come together to celebrate the Eucharist, the “Feast of Victory for our God.” And when we do, the joy will be overwhelming.

In the meantime, we need to remember that Christ comes to us in many ways. We may not be able to receive him in the Sacrament of his Body and Blood, but we can receive the Bread of Life in his Holy Word—and we should! Make this challenging time an opportunity to read the Scripture regularly, every day. Join us, if you can, in our “Zoom” Bible studies—it’s not that hard to access, and we’re here to help you if you are technologically challenged. Join us as well for our livestreamed Sunday service, where we hear the Word read and proclaimed. Links for all these opportunities are available on our web site, emmanuelgv.org.

We might also take a lesson here from our Roman Catholic friends, who teach about “spiritual communion.” This is a spiritual exercise that one might use whenever one is prevented—for any reason—from receiving the Eucharist. It is essentially a prayer, confessing our hunger for, our desire for the joy of Holy Communion, and asking the Lord to honor that desire even though we cannot receive his Body and Blood at present. One prayer uses these words: My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.

I look forward to the time (soon!) when we can come together to the Table of our Lord.
                  --Fr. Richard Johnson





Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Charles Austin on March 21, 2020, 12:11:25 PM
Good words, Richard.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: readselerttoo on March 21, 2020, 12:27:48 PM
Rob Morris writes:
To Charles: "Wherever two or more are gathered in my name..." is now "Wherever two or more are gathered in my name and at least one of them is a pastor

I comment:
No. The Lord is present in the small gatherings, the issue at hand is whether the Lord is present Sacramentally in the elements in so far as we understand the theology of the sacrament. Perhaps this is a matter of ecclesiology and/or church order but it is something to think about.


Your "...something to think about" is atrocious.  Jesus' words do what He says.  You choose to be duplicitous when it come to wonderment about the Lord's presence in the sacrament.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Charles Austin on March 21, 2020, 12:53:02 PM
For heaven sake! I am the one stressing the literalness of the statements.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Richard Johnson on March 22, 2020, 02:42:32 PM
Some helpful reflections from James Farwell, liturgics prof at Virginia Theological Seminary (Episcopalian):

I invite you, under the conditions of quarantine, to think on these things. I certainly am thinking on them myself. They are offered especially for Anglicans, Episcopalians in particular, Episcopal clergy particularly in particular, leaders of a church that has been thirsty for the “innovative” of late, and are therefore ready to leap into all manner of peculiar practices to get the Eucharistic elements to people, especially eager to do so as Sars-CoV-2 puts a hold on gathering together in shared space.
1. I am a great proponent of the Eucharistic recovery of the 20th century liturgical movement. No one is more supportive of the Eucharistic center of the Lord’s Day than I am. No one. My own spirituality, Incarnational to the core, is eucharistically centered. I lean to the Catholic end of “Catholic and Reformed.” That said... the Anglican commitment to Christ’s presence to us in Word and Sacrament is worth pondering in this moment. The Eucharist is Word and Sacrament. Let me say that again. The Eucharist is Word and Sacrament. WORD. And Sacrament. Beware the fetishization of the Sacrament. Must we suddenly violate all principles of sacramental theology or canonical and rubrical order to make the Sacrament available to everyone in peculiar ways under quarantine? Are we wholly deprived because the Word alone is available to us for a time? I think you know the answer. (For those of you who are really liturgical nerds, imagine applying the doctrine of concomitance, in which we affirm the full presence of Christ in either bread or wine, to the Eucharist itself, in which the full presence of Christ is available in both Word and Sacrament....)
2. The sacrament is crucially a gathering of the social assembly, bodily, around material things. We priests do not consecrate the Eucharist alone. Nor is Eucharist consecrated or received virtually. The loss of the Eucharistic assembly for a time is a real loss to all of us. Imagine the celebration when we can gather again! But... do we serve the sacrament by gathering two or three people to fulfill the letter of the law as others watch online? (Yes, “where two or three are gathered” but that’s not the point here.) Or by distributing that consecrated bread and wine to be consumed privately by an individual or a family unit? (Remembering that the family constituted by the celebration of the sacrament is not the biological family....) Might the Offices, not to mention many other devotional and meditative practices, suffice for a time? Are we suddenly not ourselves, the Body of Christ, because we cannot receive the Body of Christ in the sacrament? (I do believe we are still baptized, still the Body of Christ....)
3. Related to the foregoing. God’s converting work in us, as Augustine and Gregory Nyssen and many others knew, is the conversion and reorientation of our desires. Might we embrace our Eucharistic desire, during this period under quarantine when we cannot gather, as a motivation for our prayer, an incitement of our longing for God? Might this opportunity to cultivate our longing for God be a gain that emerges from the loss of the Sacrament for a time? Might we sit with that longing, meet God in that longing? (In the ancient wisdom: that which we are seeking is causing us to seek...) Sounds suspiciously like the work of a God who’s always in the business of bringing resurrection out of death.... But maybe I’m wrong.
4. The eminent Robert Taft, S.J., Byzantine Rite Roman Catholic Archimandrite, of blessed memory, one of my mentors, I paraphrase as follows. Because I am on an airplane and don’t have the book in front of me. (All is not lost: I have a delicious beverage - speculate as you will - and a bottle of hand sanitizer.) Taft: The point of the Eucharist is not the changing of bread and wine but the changing of you and me. Is God unable to change us WITHOUT the bread and wine? Might God be able to work in us through a period of sacramental deprivation? Even through it? (See #3.)
5. For years I have tried to teach students that you do not understand the sacraments if you cannot think BOTH/AND. The Eucharistic table is a table like no other table. AND the Eucharistic table is like every other table. The Eucharistic elements are special and singular in that there above all other places and times, we see what God is doing in ALL places and times. Here’s the question, then: do you think if we do not gather at the Eucharistic table like no other table that God is no longer at present at all other tables, i.e., at all other places and times? Is it not the case that God’s presence to all places and times is the non-binary anchor of this non-binary relationship between the Eucharistic table and every other table, actual and metaphorical? (Hint. Revelation 21: 21-23. Another hint: Meister Eckhart’s prayer, “Oh God, deliver me from God....”)
Think on these things. May we gather again around the Holy Table very soon. In the meantime, look for the Tables around you and among you. God is still at the Table that is spread among us in our hearts, in our prayers, in our service. Welcome to the Feast that does not end, the love of God from which and from whom we are never separated, even without the Sacrament.

Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: mj4 on March 22, 2020, 04:49:47 PM
Thank you Pr. Johnson. I am reminded of the Apostle Paul in prison likely deprived of the sacrament and yet the Word spoke to him and through him to the whole church.

(btw, I knew Farwell when he was a student many years ago)
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on March 22, 2020, 06:09:48 PM
I am asking why the innovation cannot be justified.
And I am suggesting that this is an invalid question--we have no obligation to justify our inability to justify an innovation.  This is a case where a perfectly adequate response is simply to say that the church throughout the ages has never done it that way. 

"[W]e have stated these subjects only, which we have considered as necessary to refer to and to mention, in order that it might be the more clearly perceived, that by us nothing is received either in doctrine or ceremonies, which might be contrary to the holy Scripture, or opposed to the universal Christian church. For it is clear, indeed, and evident, that with the greatest vigilance, by the help of God, (without boasting) we have been careful that no new and ungodly doctrine insinuate itself, spread, and prevail in our churches."

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: MEKoch on March 22, 2020, 06:49:15 PM
The ELCA theologian, Timothy Wengert, produced sound advice on communion.  I add that document as attachment.     Michael Koch

Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Pr. Luke Zimmerman on March 22, 2020, 07:44:06 PM
Quote
Moreover, this approach turns the words spoken by the pastor from a proclamation into an incantation of sorts. This, too, was addressed by the CTCR:  2.This practice lends itself to the unscriptural notion that the body and blood of Christ in the Lord’s Supper are present by virtue of the “incantation” of the pastor in some way,  The CTCR responded to a question about DVD consecration. While there certainly are some dissimilarities 1between the question at that time and the present question about a video streaming consecration, the similarities are so strong that we are referencing the 2006 opinion extensively here. See CTCR, “Opinion on DVD Consecration (2006) at https://files.lcms.org/wl/?id=7ZiqCqGn3FiMMtQcbrcFQuPjjfn9AoMQ.
shape or form, rather than by the gracious power of Christ and his Word. “Concerning the consecration,” says the Formula of Concord, “we believe, teach, and confess that no man’s work nor the recitation of the minister effect this presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Holy Supper, but it is to be ascribed solely and alone to the almighty power of our Lord Jesus Christ” (FC Ep VII, 8; quoted in TPLS, 15). While it is true that “the regularly called and ordained pastors of the church are to officiate at the administration of Holy Communion” (TPLS, 17-18), it is only “through Christ’s word and its power”—not through the mere “sound” or “recording” of the voice of the pastor—“that Christ’s body and blood are present in the bread and wine” (TPLS, 14).  Novelties such as these in the practice of the Lord’s Supper will inevitably lead away from the Sacrament itself as instituted by Christ to humanly-instituted techniques by which the Sacrament is purportedly being given. Note the third point raised by the CTCR in 2006:  3.As emphasized above, the focus in our celebration of the Lord’s Supper must always be on the gracious word of Christ—the word that gives assurance to hearts weighed down by guilt, doubt and fear that the great gifts promised here are truly given and received. The Commission says: “To...insert some personal idiosyncrasy into the consecration is to detract the people’s attention from the Sacrament. The congregation’s focus is to be on Christ’s word and invitation. The celebrant is a servant to sharpen that focus” (TPLS, 15). The Lord’s Supper is intended to strengthen faith in God’s forgiving grace, a faith which counts on the Word of Christ’s promise that the bread and wine are His body and blood. To introduce doubts or uncertainty about the Sacrament negates this purpose. We can be thankful that God in His mercy has not given the Lord’s Supper as the only “means of grace.” Instead, he showers us with His grace. The Gospel is not silenced, forgiveness is proclaimed, Baptism will be administered even in emergencies, and Baptism is lived out daily by means of repentance and the new life that God’s Spirit enables us to live in any and all circumstances. 

Is there an online version of this somewhere? The formatting freaked out in the above paragraph, right in the guts of the argument they're making.

Pr. Morris:

You may have already found this on the Michigan District, but a direct URL to the document is below:
https://michigandistrict.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Communion-and-Covid-19-CTCR.pdf (https://michigandistrict.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Communion-and-Covid-19-CTCR.pdf)

I also tried attaching the PDF to this post.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Padre Emeritus on March 22, 2020, 08:48:50 PM
Of similar note, I was asked what I thought about congregations that have multiple sites with the Pastor alternating his physical presence between campuses.  The campus where he is physically broadcasts the service to the other campus.

Knowing that I am an advocate of celebrating the Eucharist at every Sunday gathering of the congregation and that I am a consecrationist (vs. a receptionist), he asked me if the Celebrant could "transfer" the Eucharistic Prayer to the altar of the satellite campus and have the Eucharist be valid on the other campus. 

This is different in that there is no "videotape" or now digital recording of the Pastor praying the EP over the elements, thereby assuring the congregation that Jesus' Body and Blood are truly present.

I answered that this practice is questionable for the same reasons discussed in these threads.  Why not a Deacon or Emeritus Pastor at the satellite campus to consecrate the elements there instead of doing the remote consecration. 

This question is much more common than the current crisis with COVID.

On another situation:  I offered to my Pastor "Communion on the Hour and Half-hour" where a small group, maintaining appropriate 6' spacing from one another, could congregate and then provide them a simple Holy Communion service with distribution.  I never heard from my Pastor, but I did receive a text from a brother Pastor who went with my idea, and he invited me and my wife to join him at 0945 (he was doing it q 15 minutes).  Hungering for the Medicine of Immortality, we accepted and received the Holy Sacrament this morning.  Since I am a "regular" there to give their Pastor adequate vacation time and time with his family, I often serve on Saturday evening or for the whole weekend, we were welcomed warmly. 

OK, enough moving parts to keep track of.  Blessings, dear sisters and brothers!
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: DCharlton on March 22, 2020, 09:56:23 PM
This is the story that I had heard about drive by communion:  https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/03/19/coronavirus-nashville-church-drive-thru-communion/2868306001/
 (https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/03/19/coronavirus-nashville-church-drive-thru-communion/2868306001/)
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Rob Morris on March 22, 2020, 10:47:01 PM
Thanks to all who replied. I was really looking for a place to hear some other voices and to push hard on some of the same answers I was thinking, but wanted to examine.

In the end, I have explained to my congregation much of what I have read from others here (and, like I said, was already thinking) and I will not be offering consecration via our live-streaming. That decision is made easier for me as I have every intention (with the elders' agreement) to keep our doors open during all our services. And I am there every day for noon prayer, so anyone seeking communion privately knows when and where to find me... And I am offering communion during visitation as I always do... And the gifts are also given by the Word and in absolution and in our baptism...

And, in the end, it is still a mystery exactly how our Lord does what He does in giving us His body and blood. The further we deviate from His clear Word and example, the less the assurance can be.

IOW, a lot of what was already written here, including some of what I was pushing back on. I don't trust my instincts unless I can examine them in the light of Scripture and the Confessions. Otherwise, how can I be sure it isn't just my preference masquerading as truth?

So, anyway - thanks for the input and the willingness to engage in the back-and-forth. Be well and God be with you in these challenging times!
Rob
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 23, 2020, 03:18:27 AM
Rob Morris writes:
To Charles: "Wherever two or more are gathered in my name..." is now "Wherever two or more are gathered in my name and at least one of them is a pastor

I comment:
No. The Lord is present in the small gatherings, the issue at hand is whether the Lord is present Sacramentally in the elements in so far as we understand the theology of the sacrament. Perhaps this is a matter of ecclesiology and/or church order but it is something to think about.


Your "...something to think about" is atrocious.  Jesus' words do what He says.  You choose to be duplicitous when it come to wonderment about the Lord's presence in the sacrament.


You might read Matthew 18:20 within its context. The presence of two or three appears a few times in that section. It is in reference to a specific situation.

15“If your brother or sister sins against you, go and correct them when you are alone together. If they listen to you, then you’ve won over your brother or sister. 16But if they won’t listen, take with you one or two others so that every word may be established by the mouth of two or three witnesses.[1] 17But if they still won’t pay attention, report it to the church. If they won’t pay attention even to the church, treat them as you would a Gentile and tax collector. 18I assure you that whatever you fasten on earth will be fastened in heaven. And whatever you loosen on earth will be loosened in heaven. 19Again I assure you that if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, then my Father who is in heaven will do it for you. 20For where two or three are gathered in my name, I’m there with them.”

[1] Matthew 18:16: Deuteronomy 19:15

The specific context of the verse is when a fellow Christian has sinned against another and one seeks forgiveness and reconciliation. It isn't about two or three Christians gathered at a football game or the bowling alley. When the two or three gather to confront a sinner with his/her sin against another believer, Christ is present. Christ seeks to have his followers forgive one another and be reconciled. Similarly, v. 19 about prayer doesn't say that if I can get two others to agree with me and pray for a motorcycle or protection from coronavirus, it will happen; but, within this context, when the sinner and the sinned-against come together and agree to pray for forgiveness and reconciliation, it will happen.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: David Garner on March 23, 2020, 07:52:41 AM
Something I would offer for consideration -- communion has almost been individualized to the point that we miss its horizontal aspects.  This is evident in the dispute over closed communion as one example (I do not wish to turn this thread into another discussion of that, however).  It is also evident in things like individual cups to a lesser extent.  I'm here to get my portion of Jesus, not yours or anyone else's.

Some of this may or may not be unique to Eastern Christian liturgics (I do not know enough about the variances of Western Christian liturgics to say), but the following is straight from our liturgies, referring to the gifts:

"Thine Own of Thine Own, we offer unto Thee, in behalf of all, and for all."
-- Divine Liturgy of John Chrysostom (also present in the Liturgy of St. Basil)


"We pray to You and call upon You, O Holy of Holies, that by the favor of Your goodness, Your Holy Spirit may come upon us and upon the gifts here presented, to bless, sanctify, and make this bread to be the precious Body of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ...........And this cup to be the precious Blood of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ, shed for the life of the world and its salvation."
-- Divine Liturgy of St. Basil (Anaphora)

I do understand the Lutheran distinction against private masses.  We, for what it's worth, hold the same view, though perhaps not as strictly.  We cannot offer a liturgy with no laity present -- the priest has to have someone besides himself to commune.  Each priest also cannot serve more than 1 liturgy per day.  But I would offer, and perhaps this is where we might find more common ground, that we still offer the Eucharist not only for ourselves, but "for the life of the world and its salvation" as St. Basil says.  We do believe communion of each person is normative, in fact, we center our worship around the Eucharist so tightly that I watch people who say "you can still have church at home with video" and I find it bordering on absurd.  We live stream our services to the faithful too, but we expect those who can attend to be present to receive the gifts.  We find the inability to gather as a family harmful and painful, as if a sick person could not obtain medicine.  But we also trust at such times that we are members of the Church, and it is the Church that is saved, not just me and Jesus holding hands.  So we also trust that the Eucharistic rite is offered for the salvation of the world, not merely of those who partake at our altar, nor even those who partake at any altar.

Christians are baptized and communed.  This is granted.  I do not think it necessary to go to absurd lengths in order to ensure everyone can receive every single time it is offered to the faithful.  We trust in the Lord, and He provides.  For that reason, some of our practices have changed in terms of who may come, how we distribute (we sanitized a set of pure silver spoons to serve as tongs this week, as one example, and we will rotate those as we have communion until this passes, sanitizing in between uses), etc.  But our liturgical rites have not changed, and we do not telecommune anyone.  They get to hear the part where the priest says the things I cite above, and perhaps it is providential that we are celebrating the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil at present so we get to hear them both.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dave Benke on March 23, 2020, 08:58:37 AM
We're in the eye of the storm here in Brooklyn and Queens, particularly, in NYC specifically and in the metropolitan NY region generally.  We decided to suspend the conduct of the Divine Service as of yesterday.  We will livestream services of the Word - song and prayer - twice a week on Sunday and Wednesday.  The methodology for distributing the Eucharist to people in their homes is just not there.

A topic that is of great concern to me/us is rituals of mourning and funeral/burial rituals, which are being affected to great degree by social distancing as well as congregant rules now in effect.  This goes along with the second concern which is the loneliness and mental/emotional health issues of those shut in with or without medication.  A young man on such medication had a panic attack and literally leapt from a window last weekend, eventually dying.  Physical contact with the family is off limits.  Only ten people may enter the funeral home at a time, and they may stop even the rotation of the people so ten people in total could only be present.  Only one family member is allowed at the burial.

The short-term and long term effects of fundamental human and spiritual experiences at the time of death is to delay and perhaps even deny the grief process.  Consolation is offered by those in masks.   Extraordinarily painful and difficult times.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Charles Austin on March 23, 2020, 09:15:37 AM
Alone? No.
Our pal, Martin Luther said this about prayer. His barber asked him about simple prayers and Luther responded with a 20-page letter which was turned in to a booklet published in 1535. The second paragraph I cite is appropriate for those of us who must be separated from each other.
“It is a good thing to let prayer be the first business of the morning and the last at night. Guard yourself carefully against those false, deluding ideas which tell you, "Wait a little while. I will pray in an hour; first I must attend to this or that." Such thoughts get you away from prayer into other affairs which so hold your attention and involve you that nothing comes of prayer for that day.”

“Never think that you are kneeling or standing alone, rather think that the whole of the Church…are standing there beside you and you are standing among them in a common, united petition which God cannot disdain…There we can find God the Creator, God the Redeemer, God the Holy Spirit, that is, God who daily sanctifies us.”
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: readselerttoo on March 23, 2020, 11:42:01 AM
Rob Morris writes:
To Charles: "Wherever two or more are gathered in my name..." is now "Wherever two or more are gathered in my name and at least one of them is a pastor

I comment:
No. The Lord is present in the small gatherings, the issue at hand is whether the Lord is present Sacramentally in the elements in so far as we understand the theology of the sacrament. Perhaps this is a matter of ecclesiology and/or church order but it is something to think about.


Your "...something to think about" is atrocious.  Jesus' words do what He says.  You choose to be duplicitous when it come to wonderment about the Lord's presence in the sacrament.


You might read Matthew 18:20 within its context. The presence of two or three appears a few times in that section. It is in reference to a specific situation.

15“If your brother or sister sins against you, go and correct them when you are alone together. If they listen to you, then you’ve won over your brother or sister. 16But if they won’t listen, take with you one or two others so that every word may be established by the mouth of two or three witnesses.[1] 17But if they still won’t pay attention, report it to the church. If they won’t pay attention even to the church, treat them as you would a Gentile and tax collector. 18I assure you that whatever you fasten on earth will be fastened in heaven. And whatever you loosen on earth will be loosened in heaven. 19Again I assure you that if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, then my Father who is in heaven will do it for you. 20For where two or three are gathered in my name, I’m there with them.”

[1] Matthew 18:16: Deuteronomy 19:15

The specific context of the verse is when a fellow Christian has sinned against another and one seeks forgiveness and reconciliation. It isn't about two or three Christians gathered at a football game or the bowling alley. When the two or three gather to confront a sinner with his/her sin against another believer, Christ is present. Christ seeks to have his followers forgive one another and be reconciled. Similarly, v. 19 about prayer doesn't say that if I can get two others to agree with me and pray for a motorcycle or protection from coronavirus, it will happen; but, within this context, when the sinner and the sinned-against come together and agree to pray for forgiveness and reconciliation, it will happen.

My point has to do with the issue as to whether the Lord is present or not as Charles Austin seems to challenge in his response.  The issue of duplicity emerges when one rejects Jesus' actual promise that he is there.  Jesus says so. (God says it.  I believe it.  That does it.)  What Jesus says, is done.  No hesitation. The immediate response ought to be affirmation, trust and thanksgiving because the Lord Jesus is God and does not lie about what he says. He is present not based on condition but only on his promise.  Regardless of the context Jesus' word does what Jesus says.  No hesitation.  To hesitate is to fall into unbelief and judgment immediately.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: peterm on March 23, 2020, 12:14:55 PM
For context:

After consultation with my elders, our intention is that we will not now, or ever, close our doors while worship is occurring. However, we are trying to make every other possible concession. Which led to the question of communing remotely - with the full acknowledgment that it is neither a long-term plan nor does it subsitute for the unity shown by communing together.

And if you want to help my meager YouTube stats - our daily noon prayer services, Wednesday Evening Prayer services, and Sunday service are all livestreamed - with video links and links to bulletins on the church webpage at www.ctklutherannewtown.org

I too have been pondering this question.  At the moment my Bishop in Western Iowa discourages doing communion remotely.  My church councils have come to the same conclusion as yours, and while we are streaming our services in a variety of places they will not include the Sacrament.  Instead I am setting aside times in each church building where I am available for individual or small groups of less then 10 to celebrate the sacrament of the Altar, much like I do with my folks in nursing homes.  Not ideal but better than nothing.  I do think a case can be made for expanding our understanding of community to include remote by video celebration, but that is a long and careful conversation.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Charles Austin on March 23, 2020, 12:30:08 PM
George T. Rahn writes:
My point has to do with the issue as to whether the Lord is present or not as Charles Austin seems to challenge in his response.  The issue of duplicity emerges when one rejects Jesus' actual promise that he is there.  Jesus says so. (God says it.  I believe it.  That does it.)  What Jesus says, is done.

I comment:
I do not believe you paid attention to the distinction I made. Yes, the Lord is present when Christians gather. The issue at hand is whether we should be assured of and should teach that the sacramental presence to which we so often refer, which we reverence, and on which we have laid a big pile of theology and pastoral practice is effected through the various practices (tele-celebration, etc.).
I say the Lord can be anywhere the Lord decides to be; but what we teach about where and how God is present has its limitations.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: readselerttoo on March 23, 2020, 01:03:56 PM
George T. Rahn writes:
My point has to do with the issue as to whether the Lord is present or not as Charles Austin seems to challenge in his response.  The issue of duplicity emerges when one rejects Jesus' actual promise that he is there.  Jesus says so. (God says it.  I believe it.  That does it.)  What Jesus says, is done.

I comment:
I do not believe you paid attention to the distinction I made. Yes, the Lord is present when Christians gather. The issue at hand is whether we should be assured of and should teach that the sacramental presence to which we so often refer, which we reverence, and on which we have laid a big pile of theology and pastoral practice is effected through the various practices (tele-celebration, etc.).
I say the Lord can be anywhere the Lord decides to be; but what we teach about where and how God is present has its limitations.

Dense.  All of what you state is what I was referencing.  Again, Christ's presence is guaranteed not based on anything else except what He says not based on the number of people or as so-called sacramentality or even on your or my capacity to reconstruct.  It is about what Jesus says not what you or I think He says.

(God I am glad to be gone from the ELCA!  Some just don't get it)
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 23, 2020, 01:11:28 PM
Rob Morris writes:
To Charles: "Wherever two or more are gathered in my name..." is now "Wherever two or more are gathered in my name and at least one of them is a pastor

I comment:
No. The Lord is present in the small gatherings, the issue at hand is whether the Lord is present Sacramentally in the elements in so far as we understand the theology of the sacrament. Perhaps this is a matter of ecclesiology and/or church order but it is something to think about.


Your "...something to think about" is atrocious.  Jesus' words do what He says.  You choose to be duplicitous when it come to wonderment about the Lord's presence in the sacrament.


You might read Matthew 18:20 within its context. The presence of two or three appears a few times in that section. It is in reference to a specific situation.

15“If your brother or sister sins against you, go and correct them when you are alone together. If they listen to you, then you’ve won over your brother or sister. 16But if they won’t listen, take with you one or two others so that every word may be established by the mouth of two or three witnesses.[1] 17But if they still won’t pay attention, report it to the church. If they won’t pay attention even to the church, treat them as you would a Gentile and tax collector. 18I assure you that whatever you fasten on earth will be fastened in heaven. And whatever you loosen on earth will be loosened in heaven. 19Again I assure you that if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, then my Father who is in heaven will do it for you. 20For where two or three are gathered in my name, I’m there with them.”

[1] Matthew 18:16: Deuteronomy 19:15

The specific context of the verse is when a fellow Christian has sinned against another and one seeks forgiveness and reconciliation. It isn't about two or three Christians gathered at a football game or the bowling alley. When the two or three gather to confront a sinner with his/her sin against another believer, Christ is present. Christ seeks to have his followers forgive one another and be reconciled. Similarly, v. 19 about prayer doesn't say that if I can get two others to agree with me and pray for a motorcycle or protection from coronavirus, it will happen; but, within this context, when the sinner and the sinned-against come together and agree to pray for forgiveness and reconciliation, it will happen.

My point has to do with the issue as to whether the Lord is present or not as Charles Austin seems to challenge in his response.  The issue of duplicity emerges when one rejects Jesus' actual promise that he is there.  Jesus says so. (God says it.  I believe it.  That does it.)  What Jesus says, is done.  No hesitation. The immediate response ought to be affirmation, trust and thanksgiving because the Lord Jesus is God and does not lie about what he says. He is present not based on condition but only on his promise.  Regardless of the context Jesus' word does what Jesus says.  No hesitation.  To hesitate is to fall into unbelief and judgment immediately.


I don't disagree. I've argued in these discussions for years that when Scriptures says, "Since there is one loaf of bread, we who are many are one body, because we all share the one loaf of bread" (1 Cor 10:17 CEB), the sacrament makes us one body. It does what it says. It is more than a symbol of our unity; it creates it. I remember a speaker saying, as the ELCA was working on full communion agreements, that we should just commune together and worry about the paperwork afterwards - trusting that God works through the sacrament to make us one body; rather than spending years on paperwork to define our unity before we make use of the sacrament that creates it.


However, would you also say that everything two people agree on and pray for will happen just because Jesus said God will do it? Are there no exceptions to our requests, e.g., a motorcycle or that everyone with Covid 19 would be healed or 20-20 vision would return and I wouldn't need corrective lenses? What did you tell families when you and they prayed for healing and the loved one died? If you are so certain that Jesus' promise to be with two or three who gather in his name; are you just as certain that God will do what two or more people ask in prayer? Or that what we have loosed on earth, e.g., acceptance of same-sex marriages, has been loosed in heaven?
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 23, 2020, 01:15:04 PM
George T. Rahn writes:
My point has to do with the issue as to whether the Lord is present or not as Charles Austin seems to challenge in his response.  The issue of duplicity emerges when one rejects Jesus' actual promise that he is there.  Jesus says so. (God says it.  I believe it.  That does it.)  What Jesus says, is done.

I comment:
I do not believe you paid attention to the distinction I made. Yes, the Lord is present when Christians gather. The issue at hand is whether we should be assured of and should teach that the sacramental presence to which we so often refer, which we reverence, and on which we have laid a big pile of theology and pastoral practice is effected through the various practices (tele-celebration, etc.).
I say the Lord can be anywhere the Lord decides to be; but what we teach about where and how God is present has its limitations.


Yes, if the Lord is present in our gathering just like in the sacrament; why bother with the sacrament? Why have all this discussion about trying to offer the sacramental presence when crowds are not to gather together? If my wife and I are enough to claim Jesus' presence with us; why should we bother with attending church or receiving the sacrament?
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: readselerttoo on March 23, 2020, 05:16:27 PM
George T. Rahn writes:
My point has to do with the issue as to whether the Lord is present or not as Charles Austin seems to challenge in his response.  The issue of duplicity emerges when one rejects Jesus' actual promise that he is there.  Jesus says so. (God says it.  I believe it.  That does it.)  What Jesus says, is done.

I comment:
I do not believe you paid attention to the distinction I made. Yes, the Lord is present when Christians gather. The issue at hand is whether we should be assured of and should teach that the sacramental presence to which we so often refer, which we reverence, and on which we have laid a big pile of theology and pastoral practice is effected through the various practices (tele-celebration, etc.).
I say the Lord can be anywhere the Lord decides to be; but what we teach about where and how God is present has its limitations.


Yes, if the Lord is present in our gathering just like in the sacrament; why bother with the sacrament? Why have all this discussion about trying to offer the sacramental presence when crowds are not to gather together? If my wife and I are enough to claim Jesus' presence with us; why should we bother with attending church or receiving the sacrament?

Once again, no need for sophistry here.  In the context of word and sacrament and the words of institution are pronounced Jesus is present as he promises.  The doing takes priority over the teaching. 
 It is not a generalized thing.  It happens with Jesus and at His word.  But Jesus and His words must be there and to receive his Body and Blood bread an wine must be there as it was at the Last Supper.  At least in terms of the sacrament of Holy Communion. 
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 23, 2020, 05:36:45 PM
George T. Rahn writes:
My point has to do with the issue as to whether the Lord is present or not as Charles Austin seems to challenge in his response.  The issue of duplicity emerges when one rejects Jesus' actual promise that he is there.  Jesus says so. (God says it.  I believe it.  That does it.)  What Jesus says, is done.

I comment:
I do not believe you paid attention to the distinction I made. Yes, the Lord is present when Christians gather. The issue at hand is whether we should be assured of and should teach that the sacramental presence to which we so often refer, which we reverence, and on which we have laid a big pile of theology and pastoral practice is effected through the various practices (tele-celebration, etc.).
I say the Lord can be anywhere the Lord decides to be; but what we teach about where and how God is present has its limitations.


Yes, if the Lord is present in our gathering just like in the sacrament; why bother with the sacrament? Why have all this discussion about trying to offer the sacramental presence when crowds are not to gather together? If my wife and I are enough to claim Jesus' presence with us; why should we bother with attending church or receiving the sacrament?

Once again, no need for sophistry here.  In the context of word and sacrament and the words of institution are pronounced Jesus is present as he promises.  The doing takes priority over the teaching. 
 It is not a generalized thing.  It happens with Jesus and at His word.  But Jesus and His words must be there and to receive his Body and Blood bread an wine must be there as it was at the Last Supper.  At least in terms of the sacrament of Holy Communion.


Complete agreement, but the discussion was about Jesus' presence without the sacrament.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: GalRevRedux on March 23, 2020, 05:47:42 PM
Paul Hinlicky posted the following on Facebook today. Thought you might find it a worthwhile contribution to this discussion.

Further thoughts on Eucharistic fasting. As I think 1 Corinthians and the Lutheran Confessions make it abundantly clear that the Lord’s Supper is a communal meal for the faithful gathered in koinonia/sharing of the body and blood of Christ to eat and drink together from the one loaf and the one cup, there are additional reasons having to do with our culture that I think we should recognize. The fast imposed upon us by the virus summons us to sober social self-examination. I would refer to two books that I’ve read in recent times in corroboration.

The late Jean Bethke Elshtain was a friend of mine, especially in her years of fascination with Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Vaclav Havel. Her final book, Sovereignty: God, State and Self develops an innovative and penetrating critique of our culture of “excarnation,” the opposite of Christian belief in divine incarnation and the ultimate redemption of the body. Her point is that the modern dream of the domination of extended things by thinking things initiated in Descartes’ philosophy has brought us to a point where our greedy “lust for domination” has turned against the human body itself, which we increasingly regard as nothing but a thing, putty in hands to be manipulated by never satisfied egoism. Of course the body is fragile and vulnerable. But in Christian faith that state of creatureliness is to be affirmed as something precious, not a liability to be overcome or even left behind by technology. Against this culture of “excarnation,” the church must uphold the integrity of the Lord’s Supper as a koinonia in the body and blood of Christ, – particularly the Lutheran confession, which has held to the bodily presence of Christ in the supper. You cannot transmit the body of Christ, which is the loaf designated by Christ’s word of promise, This is my body, through fiber optic cable or Wi-Fi while the thought of transmitting the words of institution to households de facto privatizes and factionalizes the Lord ’s Supper.

The second book is Johann Hari, Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – And the Unexpected Solutions. This is a book I would urge every pastor to read because, like Elshtain, Hari argues against the pharmacological tendency toward separation of the thinking thing, the brain, from extended things, the social and physical environment. As a college professor I have watched in amazement in the last 20 years as a generation of young people has descended into a fog of anxiety and depression all the while striving to maintain the real utopianism of the modern self with its inflated ambitions, utterly disregarding all the negative signals they are getting from their own bodies.

What has all this to do with Eucharistic fasting during this time of the pandemic? As in divine love it is the glory of Christ to descend into our hands, into our mouths, into us who are bodies that he may bind us together with all the other bodies to whom he communicates himself, so it is Christian love, recognizing the organic solidarity of the common body of humanity, temporarily to refrain from the real Lord’s supper (and not to put out and ersatz Internet Lord Supper’s), is a sacrificial act of love for the sake of those most vulnerable to the epidemic.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: readselerttoo on March 23, 2020, 05:50:30 PM
George T. Rahn writes:
My point has to do with the issue as to whether the Lord is present or not as Charles Austin seems to challenge in his response.  The issue of duplicity emerges when one rejects Jesus' actual promise that he is there.  Jesus says so. (God says it.  I believe it.  That does it.)  What Jesus says, is done.

I comment:
I do not believe you paid attention to the distinction I made. Yes, the Lord is present when Christians gather. The issue at hand is whether we should be assured of and should teach that the sacramental presence to which we so often refer, which we reverence, and on which we have laid a big pile of theology and pastoral practice is effected through the various practices (tele-celebration, etc.).
I say the Lord can be anywhere the Lord decides to be; but what we teach about where and how God is present has its limitations.


Yes, if the Lord is present in our gathering just like in the sacrament; why bother with the sacrament? Why have all this discussion about trying to offer the sacramental presence when crowds are not to gather together? If my wife and I are enough to claim Jesus' presence with us; why should we bother with attending church or receiving the sacrament?

Once again, no need for sophistry here.  In the context of word and sacrament and the words of institution are pronounced Jesus is present as he promises.  The doing takes priority over the teaching. 
 It is not a generalized thing.  It happens with Jesus and at His word.  But Jesus and His words must be there and to receive his Body and Blood bread an wine must be there as it was at the Last Supper.  At least in terms of the sacrament of Holy Communion.


Complete agreement, but the discussion was about Jesus' presence without the sacrament.

Sorry.   But not from my vantage point.  Can’t have Jesus without means.  Otherwise we walk the line of the schwaermerei
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 23, 2020, 05:58:40 PM
George T. Rahn writes:
My point has to do with the issue as to whether the Lord is present or not as Charles Austin seems to challenge in his response.  The issue of duplicity emerges when one rejects Jesus' actual promise that he is there.  Jesus says so. (God says it.  I believe it.  That does it.)  What Jesus says, is done.

I comment:
I do not believe you paid attention to the distinction I made. Yes, the Lord is present when Christians gather. The issue at hand is whether we should be assured of and should teach that the sacramental presence to which we so often refer, which we reverence, and on which we have laid a big pile of theology and pastoral practice is effected through the various practices (tele-celebration, etc.).
I say the Lord can be anywhere the Lord decides to be; but what we teach about where and how God is present has its limitations.


Yes, if the Lord is present in our gathering just like in the sacrament; why bother with the sacrament? Why have all this discussion about trying to offer the sacramental presence when crowds are not to gather together? If my wife and I are enough to claim Jesus' presence with us; why should we bother with attending church or receiving the sacrament?

Once again, no need for sophistry here.  In the context of word and sacrament and the words of institution are pronounced Jesus is present as he promises.  The doing takes priority over the teaching. 
 It is not a generalized thing.  It happens with Jesus and at His word.  But Jesus and His words must be there and to receive his Body and Blood bread an wine must be there as it was at the Last Supper.  At least in terms of the sacrament of Holy Communion.


Complete agreement, but the discussion was about Jesus' presence without the sacrament.

Sorry.   But not from my vantage point.  Can’t have Jesus without means.  Otherwise we walk the line of the schwaermerei


So, what was all the talk about two or three gathered in Jesus' name? It sure sounded like you were arguing for Jesus' presence in such a situation - without any bread or wine.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: peter_speckhard on March 23, 2020, 06:49:29 PM
Paul Hinlicky posted the following on Facebook today. Thought you might find it a worthwhile contribution to this discussion.

Further thoughts on Eucharistic fasting. As I think 1 Corinthians and the Lutheran Confessions make it abundantly clear that the Lord’s Supper is a communal meal for the faithful gathered in koinonia/sharing of the body and blood of Christ to eat and drink together from the one loaf and the one cup, there are additional reasons having to do with our culture that I think we should recognize. The fast imposed upon us by the virus summons us to sober social self-examination. I would refer to two books that I’ve read in recent times in corroboration.

The late Jean Bethke Elshtain was a friend of mine, especially in her years of fascination with Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Vaclav Havel. Her final book, Sovereignty: God, State and Self develops an innovative and penetrating critique of our culture of “excarnation,” the opposite of Christian belief in divine incarnation and the ultimate redemption of the body. Her point is that the modern dream of the domination of extended things by thinking things initiated in Descartes’ philosophy has brought us to a point where our greedy “lust for domination” has turned against the human body itself, which we increasingly regard as nothing but a thing, putty in hands to be manipulated by never satisfied egoism. Of course the body is fragile and vulnerable. But in Christian faith that state of creatureliness is to be affirmed as something precious, not a liability to be overcome or even left behind by technology. Against this culture of “excarnation,” the church must uphold the integrity of the Lord’s Supper as a koinonia in the body and blood of Christ, – particularly the Lutheran confession, which has held to the bodily presence of Christ in the supper. You cannot transmit the body of Christ, which is the loaf designated by Christ’s word of promise, This is my body, through fiber optic cable or Wi-Fi while the thought of transmitting the words of institution to households de facto privatizes and factionalizes the Lord ’s Supper.

The second book is Johann Hari, Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – And the Unexpected Solutions. This is a book I would urge every pastor to read because, like Elshtain, Hari argues against the pharmacological tendency toward separation of the thinking thing, the brain, from extended things, the social and physical environment. As a college professor I have watched in amazement in the last 20 years as a generation of young people has descended into a fog of anxiety and depression all the while striving to maintain the real utopianism of the modern self with its inflated ambitions, utterly disregarding all the negative signals they are getting from their own bodies.

What has all this to do with Eucharistic fasting during this time of the pandemic? As in divine love it is the glory of Christ to descend into our hands, into our mouths, into us who are bodies that he may bind us together with all the other bodies to whom he communicates himself, so it is Christian love, recognizing the organic solidarity of the common body of humanity, temporarily to refrain from the real Lord’s supper (and not to put out and ersatz Internet Lord Supper’s), is a sacrificial act of love for the sake of those most vulnerable to the epidemic.
Great thoughts! I like the word "excarnation" to describe the trajectory of modernity in general. If I'm understanding it, not having read the Elshtain book, it sounds like it dovetails well with the conclusion to Abolition of Man.

We had 145 in church over the weekend, all with proper distancing and every protective measure in place. Not half, but more than a third of normal attendance. People were extremely appreciative of the opportunity. But given the order that came down today from the governor, it is looking increasingly likely that continuing to offer services (which I think we would be justified in doing and which, given the way we are able to do it, I do not believe places anyone risk) will paradoxically prove to be a disservice to the neighbor and the flock for a variety of reasons. 

Two questions-- if we video record the services and archive on our website temporarily rather than live-stream them, are we in any copyright violation concerning the liturgical parts? I've heard tell one cannot archive recordings of "performances" of the liturgy online, which for some reason is legally different from live-streaming a service. Does anyone know more about that? Right now we only archive sermons, but we want to add the whole service.

Secondly, what is the point of live-streaming a full Divine Service if we don't want people coming to it? It seems to me that by asking people to stay away, we're assuring them that the service of the Word is adequate, at least in these circumstances. Would it be more appropriate to archive or live-stream Morning Prayer, Matins, or Payer and Preaching?

My concern is that on the one hand, I think it comforts people to know Communion continues even if they can't be there. On the other hand, I'm concerned about the "excarnation" mindset being advanced, by which people begin to think even their own real presence is unnecessary, much less Christ's, or that watching worship is the same thing as worshiping. I think a Service of the Word is far less likely to leave that impression.     
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on March 23, 2020, 07:43:12 PM

Two questions-- if we video record the services and archive on our website temporarily rather than live-stream them, are we in any copyright violation concerning the liturgical parts? I've heard tell one cannot archive recordings of "performances" of the liturgy online, which for some reason is legally different from live-streaming a service. Does anyone know more about that? Right now we only archive sermons, but we want to add the whole service.

Secondly, what is the point of live-streaming a full Divine Service if we don't want people coming to it? It seems to me that by asking people to stay away, we're assuring them that the service of the Word is adequate, at least in these circumstances. Would it be more appropriate to archive or live-stream Morning Prayer, Matins, or Payer and Preaching?


1) Check with CPH.  I know Sundaysandseasons -- the online liturgies for Augsburg Fortress -- and OneLicense are granting free use to anyone for streaming during this emergency.  But normally it is an extra-cost portion of our liturgy/hymn licenses.

2) That's one reason I'm live streaming Matins and Vespers, rather than Holy Communion.

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Richard Johnson on March 23, 2020, 07:44:54 PM
For the moment at Emmanuel we've gone with the antecommunion only (i.e., what many Lutheran congregations used to do--the full liturgy up to the Eucharist). We have chosen to do that rather than Matins largely because most of the congregation is unfamiliar with Matins, but they are familiar with the normal liturgy and might be better able to participate in responses etc. from home without having to have a prayerbook or bulletin. Liturgically not ideal, I know, but it seemed best in our setting, at least for now.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dave Benke on March 23, 2020, 07:53:25 PM
Agreed on the Eucharistic fast.  It is appropriate, respectful, and temporary.  Our little team of six live-streaming is not comfortable receiving the Meal while others watch from afar. 

By grace, in repentance and humility, we hunger and thirst after righteousness.  And we will be fed.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Rob Morris on March 23, 2020, 09:29:24 PM
My quick thought is that it is not fasting when it is forced upon us.

 I have been giving a lot of thought and prayer to the possibility that, if measures become more strict here in Connecticut, I may send a rather paradoxical message to my congregation telling them: the doors are open and you can come. But we ask that you refrain from doing so.

Then it is not an act of external force but of internal sacrifice. Free lords of all, subject to none; dutiful servants to all, subject to all.

Under those circumstances, I think I would probably still give communion to whomever did come (rightly, per our usual practice), even if it was only my family and myself.

We as pastors frequently have to serve as the representative for the whole congregation. I suspect that were I parishioner, I would rather the pastor received on behalf of all of us, than that no one received at all. I would rather the doors never close, even if the church remains without attendees, than that they close at the hands of a government order. Even a government order I supported.

In humility, however, I know that this remains for the time being a hypothetical for me. God be with all of those of you for whom it is not a hypothetical.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on March 23, 2020, 09:34:34 PM
My quick thought is that it is not fasting when it is forced upon us.


I don't see how that thought is, linguistically or Biblically, correct.

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Richard Johnson on March 23, 2020, 10:27:05 PM
My quick thought is that it is not fasting when it is forced upon us.


Perhaps you could think of it this way: What we are giving up right now is not simply "going to church" or receiving the Eucharist; it is also giving up our ability to choose what to do. It's always hard to give up our will for the will of another; but of course Christ chose to submit himself to the Father’s will without complaint or anger. The choice we continue to have is whether we will accept this burden faithfully, or resist it and resent it.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Rob Morris on March 23, 2020, 10:29:03 PM
My quick thought is that it is not fasting when it is forced upon us.


I don't see how that thought is, linguistically or Biblically, correct.

Pax, Steven+

I am willing to be corrected, but isn't an essential element of fasting that you are willingly giving something up? Once it is done because there is no other option, then to my way of thinking (again, willing to be corrected), not truly fasting. Are professional athletes fasting from their sports right now? Am I fasting from being a professional athlete?

If I lock the doors of the church and tell everyone they are fasting from worship attendance... if I cease to offer the sacrament and then tell everyone they are fasting from it... dunno - just doesn't sound right to me.

But I am more than willing to hear where you're coming from...
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Rob Morris on March 23, 2020, 10:31:55 PM
My quick thought is that it is not fasting when it is forced upon us.


Perhaps you could think of it this way: What we are giving up right now is not simply "going to church" or receiving the Eucharist; it is also giving up our ability to choose what to do. It's always hard to give up our will for the will of another; but of course Christ chose to submit himself to the Father’s will without complaint or anger. The choice we continue to have is whether we will accept this burden faithfully, or resist it and resent it.

Not trying to be the difficult pupil here, but isn't this exactly the opposite of Gethsemane? Jesus wills something else, but willingly submits His will to the Father's. "Not my will but yours" become empty words if Jesus really had no choice. He doesn't give up his ability to choose (an idea I am having difficulty grasping on a philosophical level...), he chooses to give up what he is in actuality able to do.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Rob Morris on March 23, 2020, 10:36:30 PM
Think, too, of Jesus' word that if he willed he could call down legions of angels. Was that not really an option? Or does his submission lie in the fact that it really was an option that he really chose not to exercise?

Once the option is taken away, we can submit to the stated reality or we can kick against the goads, but either way, it's not really the same as fasting, is it?
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on March 23, 2020, 10:45:32 PM
In the Orthodox services of Holy Thursday (12 Passion Gospels) and Good Friday a frequently sung response is:

Glory to Thy voluntary suffering, O Lord.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: mj4 on March 23, 2020, 10:51:05 PM
For the moment at Emmanuel we've gone with the antecommunion only (i.e., what many Lutheran congregations used to do--the full liturgy up to the Eucharist). We have chosen to do that rather than Matins largely because most of the congregation is unfamiliar with Matins, but they are familiar with the normal liturgy and might be better able to participate in responses etc. from home without having to have a prayerbook or bulletin. Liturgically not ideal, I know, but it seemed best in our setting, at least for now.

Interesting. Back when many Episcopal churches were transitioning to a weekly celebration of the Eucharist, it was not uncommon for the principal service on Sunday to be Morning Prayer with Holy Communion tacked on at the end. At that time congregants were more familiar with Morning Prayer. How things have changed!
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: readselerttoo on March 23, 2020, 11:34:43 PM
What about congregations authorizing deacons/elders to bring the reserved sacrament to house gatherings of word and sacrament of 10 people and less?  At least for us in San Antonio and Texas itself we are at this point mandated to gatherings of 10 or less.  Each house do the liturgy, preach and administration of Holy Communion.  The challenge is in the planning, organizing as well as the execution by the pastoral staff.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: peter_speckhard on March 23, 2020, 11:58:38 PM
Perhaps someone more informed can correct me on this or fill in the blanks, but isn't there a RC tradition of offering up one's involuntary pain and suffering on behalf of the world by embracing it willingly (though obviously with no choice in the matter) rather than chafing against it with a rebellious spirit/will? Didn't Pope John Paul II say he was doing that in his final, painful days?

The idea as I understand it is to enact, "nevertheless, not my will, but Thy will be done" by taking what is imposed on you by force and choosing to endure it as though willingly so as to cooperate with God in what he is doing via the chastening/discipline of hardship and pain. But again, I could be misunderstanding it. 
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 24, 2020, 03:16:29 AM
Think, too, of Jesus' word that if he willed he could call down legions of angels. Was that not really an option? Or does his submission lie in the fact that it really was an option that he really chose not to exercise?

Once the option is taken away, we can submit to the stated reality or we can kick against the goads, but either way, it's not really the same as fasting, is it?


I also look at Mary. Did she have a choice in becoming pregnant? Or was her choice to accept God's choice of her with joy; or resent it?
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Rob Morris on March 24, 2020, 07:48:51 AM
Think, too, of Jesus' word that if he willed he could call down legions of angels. Was that not really an option? Or does his submission lie in the fact that it really was an option that he really chose not to exercise?

Once the option is taken away, we can submit to the stated reality or we can kick against the goads, but either way, it's not really the same as fasting, is it?


I also look at Mary. Did she have a choice in becoming pregnant? Or was her choice to accept God's choice of her with joy; or resent it?

Which is a wonderful example of servanthood and submission. But no one would say that Mary was fasting from being not-pregnant.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: therevbrucefoster on March 24, 2020, 08:46:43 AM
A question for the group. A ELCA pastor posted pictures sent to her by members of her congregation who participated in she online communion service (she did the words of institution, they eat and drank whatever they had). This is what she said "We celebrated Holy Communion today & it was one of the holiest moments in my 16.5 ordained years. Many families sent me their home altar photos. I'm so glad the ELCA is an ever-reforming movement." One of the pictures was of a "good old boy" and his dog enjoying communion. I asked her "Is the dog receiving too? All are welcome!!" She responded "The dog did indeed." I responded "Thanks for the info! Best example of ever reforming. Why in the world would our bishops object to this?" My question to the group is this. Luther says in the explanation to the 8th commandment that we are to explain our neighbors actions in the kindest way. What is the kindest way? Is it to assume that of course the man didn't actually give communion to the dog and she was just joking or that her theology is actually that bizarre? I can't decide if I would want others to think me capable of a really bad joke or crazy theology.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on March 24, 2020, 09:04:04 AM
I also look at Mary. Did she have a choice in becoming pregnant? Or was her choice to accept God's choice of her with joy; or resent it?

From the Orthodox Great Vespers for the Feast of the Annuciation which will be chanted this evening:

Quote
Because of Your law, O Lord, I waited for You; my soul waited for Your word. My soul hopes in the Lord. [SAAS]

Gabriel appeared to you, * O virgin Damsel, revealing * the pre-eternal plan of God. * And as he saluted you, * he called out and said, * "O unsowed earth, rejoice; * unconsumed bush, rejoice. * O rejoice, depth hard to apprehend. * Rejoice, O sacred bridge * that conveys to heaven. I say, rejoice, * O ladder that is lifted up * and was seen by Jacob the patriarch. * Rejoice, O divine jar * of manna, and the lifting of the curse. * Rejoice, Adam's recovery. * Rejoice, for the Lord is with you." [SD]

From the morning watch until night; from the morning watch until night, let Israel hope in the Lord.

For with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him is abundant redemption; and He shall redeem Israel from all his transgressions. [SAAS]


Unto the angelic Chief * says the inviolate Damsel, * "You appear to be a man. * But how is it that you speak * superhuman words? * For you say unto me * that with me God will be, * and will make His dwelling in my womb. * But how shall I become * a most spacious confine, explain to me. * How shall I be a holy place * of the One who rides on the Cherubim? * Please do not deceive me. * Since marriage and its pleasures are entailed, * which I have never experienced, * how then shall I bear a child?" [SD]

Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles; praise Him, all you peoples. [SAAS]

"When God wills it, nature's laws * are overridden, O Damsel," * said the incorporeal, * "and the superhuman deeds * then are brought to pass. * Therefore, trust that indeed * true are these words of mine, * O all-holy and most blameless one." * She then cried out in turn, * "According to your word be it unto me; * and I shall bear the One who is * bodiless but borrowing flesh from me, * so that by His mingling * with man He might restore him to the height * of his primordial dignity, * as the only One who can."
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: TERJr on March 24, 2020, 09:31:19 AM
Think, too, of Jesus' word that if he willed he could call down legions of angels. Was that not really an option? Or does his submission lie in the fact that it really was an option that he really chose not to exercise?

Once the option is taken away, we can submit to the stated reality or we can kick against the goads, but either way, it's not really the same as fasting, is it?


I also look at Mary. Did she have a choice in becoming pregnant? Or was her choice to accept God's choice of her with joy; or resent it?

Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum. . .
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Richard Johnson on March 24, 2020, 11:03:05 AM
My quick thought is that it is not fasting when it is forced upon us.


Perhaps you could think of it this way: What we are giving up right now is not simply "going to church" or receiving the Eucharist; it is also giving up our ability to choose what to do. It's always hard to give up our will for the will of another; but of course Christ chose to submit himself to the Father’s will without complaint or anger. The choice we continue to have is whether we will accept this burden faithfully, or resist it and resent it.

Not trying to be the difficult pupil here, but isn't this exactly the opposite of Gethsemane? Jesus wills something else, but willingly submits His will to the Father's. "Not my will but yours" become empty words if Jesus really had no choice. He doesn't give up his ability to choose (an idea I am having difficulty grasping on a philosophical level...), he chooses to give up what he is in actuality able to do.

Yes, he chooses to do so. You and I have two kinds of choice in this situation. We can choose to follow the civil restrictions and the ecclesiastical advice, or not. And we can choose whether to do so faithfully and trustingly, or whether to do so resentfully. I'm thinking of Kierkegaard here in his meditation on Abraham; what made Abraham a man of faith is that he did what God asked without resentment. SK, as I recall (it's a been a while), said that he personally would have resented God, even after the command to sacrifice Isaac had been rescinded.

When I said "giving up our ability to choose" I was perhaps overstating it, but not too much. We choose to allow someone else to decide for us. We don't have to do that. It's about submission--as you say, "not my will but yours."
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Richard Johnson on March 24, 2020, 11:07:46 AM
Think, too, of Jesus' word that if he willed he could call down legions of angels. Was that not really an option? Or does his submission lie in the fact that it really was an option that he really chose not to exercise?

Once the option is taken away, we can submit to the stated reality or we can kick against the goads, but either way, it's not really the same as fasting, is it?

It is in the sense that fasting is a submission to an external discipline. It seems different in that it is for us a self-defined discipline, but think of it--oh, say, the old Roman Catholic "fish on Friday" thing, where the fasting discipline was not self-defined.

Who is taking away the option here? Are you talking about the lay Christian whose option for the Eucharist has been taken away? If that's what you mean, then think about the idea that the stewardship of the Eucharist belongs to the whole community, but the pastor or bishop has been given the authority to act on behalf of the community. Again, it's a matter of submission.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Richard Johnson on March 24, 2020, 11:09:11 AM
What about congregations authorizing deacons/elders to bring the reserved sacrament to house gatherings of word and sacrament of 10 people and less?  At least for us in San Antonio and Texas itself we are at this point mandated to gatherings of 10 or less.  Each house do the liturgy, preach and administration of Holy Communion.  The challenge is in the planning, organizing as well as the execution by the pastoral staff.

Theologically I think that would be OK, though that "10 or less" thing might be going away soon in Texas, as it has elsewhere.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Richard Johnson on March 24, 2020, 11:10:47 AM
A question for the group. A ELCA pastor posted pictures sent to her by members of her congregation who participated in she online communion service (she did the words of institution, they eat and drank whatever they had). This is what she said "We celebrated Holy Communion today & it was one of the holiest moments in my 16.5 ordained years. Many families sent me their home altar photos. I'm so glad the ELCA is an ever-reforming movement." One of the pictures was of a "good old boy" and his dog enjoying communion. I asked her "Is the dog receiving too? All are welcome!!" She responded "The dog did indeed." I responded "Thanks for the info! Best example of ever reforming. Why in the world would our bishops object to this?" My question to the group is this. Luther says in the explanation to the 8th commandment that we are to explain our neighbors actions in the kindest way. What is the kindest way? Is it to assume that of course the man didn't actually give communion to the dog and she was just joking or that her theology is actually that bizarre? I can't decide if I would want others to think me capable of a really bad joke or crazy theology.

Yeah, I saw that too. I guess the "kindest way" to interpret it is gross ignorance rather than malicious sacrilege.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: James J Eivan on March 24, 2020, 11:35:41 AM
A question for the group. A ELCA pastor posted pictures sent to her by members of her congregation who participated in she online communion service (she did the words of institution, they eat and drank whatever they had). This is what she said "We celebrated Holy Communion today & it was one of the holiest moments in my 16.5 ordained years. Many families sent me their home altar photos. I'm so glad the ELCA is an ever-reforming movement." One of the pictures was of a "good old boy" and his dog enjoying communion. I asked her "Is the dog receiving too? All are welcome!!" She responded "The dog did indeed." I responded "Thanks for the info! Best example of ever reforming. Why in the world would our bishops object to this?" My question to the group is this. Luther says in the explanation to the 8th commandment that we are to explain our neighbors actions in the kindest way. What is the kindest way? Is it to assume that of course the man didn't actually give communion to the dog and she was just joking or that her theology is actually that bizarre? I can't decide if I would want others to think me capable of a really bad joke or crazy theology.
In this case, kindest or tough love is to call the "communing of a dog" SIN
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Rob Morris on March 24, 2020, 11:43:42 AM
Think, too, of Jesus' word that if he willed he could call down legions of angels. Was that not really an option? Or does his submission lie in the fact that it really was an option that he really chose not to exercise?

Once the option is taken away, we can submit to the stated reality or we can kick against the goads, but either way, it's not really the same as fasting, is it?

It is in the sense that fasting is a submission to an external discipline. It seems different in that it is for us a self-defined discipline, but think of it--oh, say, the old Roman Catholic "fish on Friday" thing, where the fasting discipline was not self-defined.

Who is taking away the option here? Are you talking about the lay Christian whose option for the Eucharist has been taken away? If that's what you mean, then think about the idea that the stewardship of the Eucharist belongs to the whole community, but the pastor or bishop has been given the authority to act on behalf of the community. Again, it's a matter of submission.

Here I think we are in complete agreement. It is why, as I said a little upstream, if things become more extreme for me and my folks, I believe I will still offer but will ask that they fast from receiving. And as I said, under those circumstances, I think it appropriate for the pastor to receive on behalf of the fasting congregation. Again, I think that if I were a parishioner, I would rather have the pastor receiving communion on behalf of the whole congregation, than that no one be receiving at all.

As I said, thanks be to God it is still a hypothetical for me. I think a circumstance like this calls for a great deal of grace and trust that others’ decisions can be faithful even if they do not exactly align with our own.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: peterm on March 24, 2020, 12:17:08 PM
A question for the group. A ELCA pastor posted pictures sent to her by members of her congregation who participated in she online communion service (she did the words of institution, they eat and drank whatever they had). This is what she said "We celebrated Holy Communion today & it was one of the holiest moments in my 16.5 ordained years. Many families sent me their home altar photos. I'm so glad the ELCA is an ever-reforming movement." One of the pictures was of a "good old boy" and his dog enjoying communion. I asked her "Is the dog receiving too? All are welcome!!" She responded "The dog did indeed." I responded "Thanks for the info! Best example of ever reforming. Why in the world would our bishops object to this?" My question to the group is this. Luther says in the explanation to the 8th commandment that we are to explain our neighbors actions in the kindest way. What is the kindest way? Is it to assume that of course the man didn't actually give communion to the dog and she was just joking or that her theology is actually that bizarre? I can't decide if I would want others to think me capable of a really bad joke or crazy theology.
In this case, kindest or tough love is to call the "communing of a dog" SIN

Let us also keep in mind that these are NOT the normal practice in the ELCA.  The vast majority of us are following the guidelines laid down by our bishops and our documents.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: readselerttoo on March 24, 2020, 12:38:18 PM
What about congregations authorizing deacons/elders to bring the reserved sacrament to house gatherings of word and sacrament of 10 people and less?  At least for us in San Antonio and Texas itself we are at this point mandated to gatherings of 10 or less.  Each house do the liturgy, preach and administration of Holy Communion.  The challenge is in the planning, organizing as well as the execution by the pastoral staff.

Theologically I think that would be OK, though that "10 or less" thing might be going away soon in Texas, as it has elsewhere.

I hope so.  Ooops.  I see that this could also be meant in a far more restrictive way.  In that case the idea of house church (except by family) is not a good idea or at least one that would become meaningless as social distancing is enforced.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: peter_speckhard on March 24, 2020, 12:44:31 PM
Sent this out this morning. Tough to do.

Dear St. Paul’s family,

In consultation with the Board of Deacons and Pastor Stock, I have decided to suspend our worship services, both Wednesday and Sunday, for at least the next two weeks. Instead, we will make services available via our website, with instructions for accessing them to follow in the coming days. We will then re-evaluate, and hopefully be able to have at least Holy Week and Easter services.

Please know we do not make this change lightly, but we do make it voluntarily. No secular law can prevent us from offering Word and Sacrament ministry. But in weighing the many pros and cons of any course of action and what ultimately has the best chance of keeping the flock fed and unified without distraction, I think this is our best option for the time being. I’m sorry to those who disagree, and reiterate that the pastors will bring communion to people in this time by request. We will be constantly re-assessing as events unfold.

We will continue to provide daily updates, links to other services and Bible study resources, and will work toward doing as much preaching and teaching as we can via the website. As usual, please help those who do not have access to the website or the daily emails. In some cases, helping them might mean printing off copies and delivering them to your friends’ mailboxes. We want our church family staying connected. One silver lining in all this disruption is that it will ensure that we have good contact information.
 
Considering the possibility of going even a short period without gathering for worship is a difficult prospect for Christians. I offer the following thoughts on communion and separation in the hope that it helps us all reflect on what is truly important.

C.S. Lewis wrote a science fiction story called The Great Divorce, which opens in a place where everyone lives in their dream house but everyone also lives alone, and further and further apart, so as not to have their dream bothered or interrupted by someone else’s. “I won’t be a bit player in someone else’s dream; they must be bit players in my dream.” So everyone is the center of their own little universe, all alone. That place turns out to be hell. Philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre famously expressed this approach to life when he said, “Hell is other people.” Other people impose on us. Our interactions with them must be voluntary, and cut off whenever they cease to be enjoyable.

Christians know better than that. We don’t live for ourselves, or at least we aren’t supposed to. But sometimes our lifestyles conform to the world’s ways without our even realizing it. Sometimes the patterns of our lives reflect the world’s assumptions and priorities more than is befitting followers of Christ. It is then that we need our loving Father’s correction.

Sometimes God’s toughest discipline involves letting people have what they want. He “gives us over” to our rebellious ways, forsaking the artificial punishments that might have corrected us, and instead lets us see what life is like when our choices go unchecked. Thus, in the Old Testament, God warned the people about wanting a king, but the people demanded one anyway. And God, knowing they would regret it, let the people have a king, and even let them choose make the foolish choice of King Saul. And they did regret it. But God didn’t give up on them. Ultimately, He incorporated even their foolishness and rebellion into His gracious plan by making Jesus, descended from King David, the final King of Kings.

We know the phrase “Have it your way” as a promise, which might be fine when applied strictly to hamburgers. The problem is that we don’t apply it strictly to hamburgers. We demand that the same concept be applied to everything. But in the mouth of God, “Have it your way,” means harsh discipline is coming. He knows that His way, not our fallen, sinful way, is the only way that gives us life and true freedom. The book of Proverbs constantly extols the benefits of a well- timed rebuke and wise correction, and constantly warns that folly ends up being its own punishment in the end.

Even prior to this outbreak, our society has long been walking very deliberately toward realizing Lewis’s vision of hell, mistaking it for heaven. It isn’t just the physical things, like smaller and smaller families in bigger and bigger houses, further and further apart, as though hell were other people. It’s also our private schedules and demand for more and more options. Not even 100 channels is enough. Isolation and loneliness have become among the chief problems facing people who get what they want. Not wanting to be bound by anything or imposed upon, we have for many generations been relaxing, chaffing at, and cutting all the ties that bind, seeing them as curses rather than blessings. And then we find ourselves adrift.

Take meals, for example. They are necessary for nourishment, of course, but also have always been about fellowship. To break bread together was a meaningful act, not just a matter of convenience. Two years ago when we did the 10 Commandments of Table Meals during Lent, we talked about the recent invention of drive-through meals to illustrate this general drive toward isolation and away from fellowship. It is not a good direction, but we follow the same path in some many areas of life.
 
We’ve farmed out to institutions the rearing of the young, care for the elderly, helping the poor, and anything else that might be considered a burden on our individualistic lifestyles. We’ve refused to be formed by the Church, but have insisted instead that the church conform to our schedules and tastes. We barely even know our neighbors anymore, living as we do in our cars and behind our garages, and if we love them at all, we do so purely in the abstract by supporting whatever faceless program is supposed to be taking care of them, not in any concrete action that makes demands on our time. Sad.

This quarantine just gives us more of what we’ve demanding. The restaurants are all drive-through, no sit down.  All home-theater, no real theater. All virtual classroom, no real classroom. And now, for a time, even church must follow suit. We’ve struggled mightily never to be inconvenienced, to make sure we can do whatever we want without having to leave our own bedroom. And now we see it all realized and think, “Wait a minute; where is the community, the human contact, the sense the belonging? Have we simply been preparing a place for ourselves in our own, isolated hell where everything revolves around our own convenience and nobody else ever comes?”

Perhaps this time of forced separation can prove to be a cautionary tale. God might be using this to show us the folly of the road we’ve been walking, perhaps as individuals but certainly as a society for a long time by giving us a glimpse of where that path leads. Maybe being forced not to visit with our neighbors will make us question why we always avoided visiting with our neighbor in the first place. Maybe all the days we sat dreaming of the chance just to stay in bed and watch Netflix were not visions of heaven after all.

Jesus promised that He was going to prepare a place for us. He never promises to let us go and prepare a place for ourselves in the Father’s house. It will be perfect, but only because He prepared it for us rather than letting us do it the way we really want. And it will be in the Father’s house, a place of community, of love and togetherness, of singing together, of a common table and feasting.
 
Pray that this unexpected and difficult time of dealing with separation will make us yearn ever more strongly for the gift of weekly worship together in communion with heaven and all the Saints. Pray that it opens our eyes to any wrong roads our lives might have been taking and gives us the chance to change course. May we emerge from this temporary crisis with renewed faith and an even stronger congregation due to God’s gracious guidance and discipline.

In Christ, Pastor Speckhard     
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dave Benke on March 24, 2020, 12:45:36 PM
Think, too, of Jesus' word that if he willed he could call down legions of angels. Was that not really an option? Or does his submission lie in the fact that it really was an option that he really chose not to exercise?

Once the option is taken away, we can submit to the stated reality or we can kick against the goads, but either way, it's not really the same as fasting, is it?

It is in the sense that fasting is a submission to an external discipline. It seems different in that it is for us a self-defined discipline, but think of it--oh, say, the old Roman Catholic "fish on Friday" thing, where the fasting discipline was not self-defined.

Who is taking away the option here? Are you talking about the lay Christian whose option for the Eucharist has been taken away? If that's what you mean, then think about the idea that the stewardship of the Eucharist belongs to the whole community, but the pastor or bishop has been given the authority to act on behalf of the community. Again, it's a matter of submission.

This is the way we've taken both points you make, Richard.  Fasting is submission to an external discipline when it comes to celebrating the Eucharist.  On the second point, the community and pastor (for us Lutherans) converse mutually and in our case made the decision to refrain from the Eucharist until we can gather.  Otherwise it's the small, small group - pastor plus 3 or 4 - that are receiving Holy Communion.  And we don't receive it on behalf of others or in place of others; that's not a workable theological model.  Instead we join the others who are indeed being forced not to receive externally and model the discipline of the fast ourselves.

I'm not seeing a problem with this because it is for a season and allows us to be "constant...out of season" as a congregation. 

The other thing is that the external discipline is not only being applied by the State, but by us, who are behaving with wisdom and discretion in our contacts with others.  We are listening to the medical profession and health professionals in our own midst.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Steven W Bohler on March 24, 2020, 12:47:19 PM
Think, too, of Jesus' word that if he willed he could call down legions of angels. Was that not really an option? Or does his submission lie in the fact that it really was an option that he really chose not to exercise?

Once the option is taken away, we can submit to the stated reality or we can kick against the goads, but either way, it's not really the same as fasting, is it?

It is in the sense that fasting is a submission to an external discipline. It seems different in that it is for us a self-defined discipline, but think of it--oh, say, the old Roman Catholic "fish on Friday" thing, where the fasting discipline was not self-defined.

Who is taking away the option here? Are you talking about the lay Christian whose option for the Eucharist has been taken away? If that's what you mean, then think about the idea that the stewardship of the Eucharist belongs to the whole community, but the pastor or bishop has been given the authority to act on behalf of the community. Again, it's a matter of submission.

Here I think we are in complete agreement. It is why, as I said a little upstream, if things become more extreme for me and my folks, I believe I will still offer but will ask that they fast from receiving. And as I said, under those circumstances, I think it appropriate for the pastor to receive on behalf of the fasting congregation. Again, I think that if I were a parishioner, I would rather have the pastor receiving communion on behalf of the whole congregation, than that no one be receiving at all.

As I said, thanks be to God it is still a hypothetical for me. I think a circumstance like this calls for a great deal of grace and trust that others’ decisions can be faithful even if they do not exactly align with our own.

I am puzzled by this "pastor receiving for the congregation" thing.  "Take and eat, take and drink, this is for the forgiveness of all of YOUR sins" does not seem to lend itself to one communing for another's benefit.  And if pastor were to receive unworthily, would that also redound to the congregation? 
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: James_Gale on March 24, 2020, 12:47:26 PM
A question for the group. A ELCA pastor posted pictures sent to her by members of her congregation who participated in she online communion service (she did the words of institution, they eat and drank whatever they had). This is what she said "We celebrated Holy Communion today & it was one of the holiest moments in my 16.5 ordained years. Many families sent me their home altar photos. I'm so glad the ELCA is an ever-reforming movement." One of the pictures was of a "good old boy" and his dog enjoying communion. I asked her "Is the dog receiving too? All are welcome!!" She responded "The dog did indeed." I responded "Thanks for the info! Best example of ever reforming. Why in the world would our bishops object to this?" My question to the group is this. Luther says in the explanation to the 8th commandment that we are to explain our neighbors actions in the kindest way. What is the kindest way? Is it to assume that of course the man didn't actually give communion to the dog and she was just joking or that her theology is actually that bizarre? I can't decide if I would want others to think me capable of a really bad joke or crazy theology.
In this case, kindest or tough love is to call the "communing of a dog" SIN

Let us also keep in mind that these are NOT the normal practice in the ELCA.  The vast majority of us are following the guidelines laid down by our bishops and our documents.


I can't claim to know what a majority of ELCA pastors and congregations are doing.  I do know that I've attended a number of ELCA church services at which the pastor has stated that "all" are welcome to receive communion.  The pastor has often elaborated by making clear that "all" truly means "all," including those who have not been baptized and those of different faiths or of no faith at all.  This invitation ("Wherever you are in your journey, you are welcome to participate in this meal of God's grace"), from Bishop Chilstrom's recent funeral, strikes me as typical.  Link (https://youtu.be/Jq_RlXyiWew?t=2340)  The invitation at that service came from Pr. Siri Erickson, a chaplain at Gustavus Adolphus College.  However, Bishop Eaton presided at that service and ultimately was responsible for it.  That's a strong endorsement for radically open communion, although I'm quite sure that the invitation did not extend to dogs.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 24, 2020, 01:00:24 PM
Think, too, of Jesus' word that if he willed he could call down legions of angels. Was that not really an option? Or does his submission lie in the fact that it really was an option that he really chose not to exercise?

Once the option is taken away, we can submit to the stated reality or we can kick against the goads, but either way, it's not really the same as fasting, is it?


I also look at Mary. Did she have a choice in becoming pregnant? Or was her choice to accept God's choice of her with joy; or resent it?

Which is a wonderful example of servanthood and submission. But no one would say that Mary was fasting from being not-pregnant.


My point was about how one reacts to something that they had no control over. Mary's acceptance of her virginal conception and pregnancy is one example. Our response to being asked or forced into social distancing (including the inability to gather for worship) is another. One's response to the diagnosis of stage 4 cancer is still another.


Things happen to us that are beyond our choice or control. How we respond to them is within our abilities.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 24, 2020, 01:12:23 PM
A question for the group. A ELCA pastor posted pictures sent to her by members of her congregation who participated in she online communion service (she did the words of institution, they eat and drank whatever they had). This is what she said "We celebrated Holy Communion today & it was one of the holiest moments in my 16.5 ordained years. Many families sent me their home altar photos. I'm so glad the ELCA is an ever-reforming movement." One of the pictures was of a "good old boy" and his dog enjoying communion. I asked her "Is the dog receiving too? All are welcome!!" She responded "The dog did indeed." I responded "Thanks for the info! Best example of ever reforming. Why in the world would our bishops object to this?" My question to the group is this. Luther says in the explanation to the 8th commandment that we are to explain our neighbors actions in the kindest way. What is the kindest way? Is it to assume that of course the man didn't actually give communion to the dog and she was just joking or that her theology is actually that bizarre? I can't decide if I would want others to think me capable of a really bad joke or crazy theology.
In this case, kindest or tough love is to call the "communing of a dog" SIN

Let us also keep in mind that these are NOT the normal practice in the ELCA.  The vast majority of us are following the guidelines laid down by our bishops and our documents.


I agree. I believe a vast majority of ELCA pastors follow the guidelines.


However, a question that was raised at seminary was: if an insect eats a crumb or drinks a drop of wine that has fallen from the consecrated elements before they can be properly collected; has the insect received Christ?


My answer is, "No." There is an element of faith that is required for proper reception and I don't believe that God has given such faith to either insects nor dogs.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: readselerttoo on March 24, 2020, 01:15:11 PM
Sent this out this morning. Tough to do.

Dear St. Paul’s family,

In consultation with the Board of Deacons and Pastor Stock, I have decided to suspend our worship services, both Wednesday and Sunday, for at least the next two weeks. Instead, we will make services available via our website, with instructions for accessing them to follow in the coming days. We will then re-evaluate, and hopefully be able to have at least Holy Week and Easter services.

Please know we do not make this change lightly, but we do make it voluntarily. No secular law can prevent us from offering Word and Sacrament ministry. But in weighing the many pros and cons of any course of action and what ultimately has the best chance of keeping the flock fed and unified without distraction, I think this is our best option for the time being. I’m sorry to those who disagree, and reiterate that the pastors will bring communion to people in this time by request. We will be constantly re-assessing as events unfold.

We will continue to provide daily updates, links to other services and Bible study resources, and will work toward doing as much preaching and teaching as we can via the website. As usual, please help those who do not have access to the website or the daily emails. In some cases, helping them might mean printing off copies and delivering them to your friends’ mailboxes. We want our church family staying connected. One silver lining in all this disruption is that it will ensure that we have good contact information.
 
Considering the possibility of going even a short period without gathering for worship is a difficult prospect for Christians. I offer the following thoughts on communion and separation in the hope that it helps us all reflect on what is truly important.

C.S. Lewis wrote a science fiction story called The Great Divorce, which opens in a place where everyone lives in their dream house but everyone also lives alone, and further and further apart, so as not to have their dream bothered or interrupted by someone else’s. “I won’t be a bit player in someone else’s dream; they must be bit players in my dream.” So everyone is the center of their own little universe, all alone. That place turns out to be hell. Philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre famously expressed this approach to life when he said, “Hell is other people.” Other people impose on us. Our interactions with them must be voluntary, and cut off whenever they cease to be enjoyable.

Christians know better than that. We don’t live for ourselves, or at least we aren’t supposed to. But sometimes our lifestyles conform to the world’s ways without our even realizing it. Sometimes the patterns of our lives reflect the world’s assumptions and priorities more than is befitting followers of Christ. It is then that we need our loving Father’s correction.

Sometimes God’s toughest discipline involves letting people have what they want. He “gives us over” to our rebellious ways, forsaking the artificial punishments that might have corrected us, and instead lets us see what life is like when our choices go unchecked. Thus, in the Old Testament, God warned the people about wanting a king, but the people demanded one anyway. And God, knowing they would regret it, let the people have a king, and even let them choose make the foolish choice of King Saul. And they did regret it. But God didn’t give up on them. Ultimately, He incorporated even their foolishness and rebellion into His gracious plan by making Jesus, descended from King David, the final King of Kings.

We know the phrase “Have it your way” as a promise, which might be fine when applied strictly to hamburgers. The problem is that we don’t apply it strictly to hamburgers. We demand that the same concept be applied to everything. But in the mouth of God, “Have it your way,” means harsh discipline is coming. He knows that His way, not our fallen, sinful way, is the only way that gives us life and true freedom. The book of Proverbs constantly extols the benefits of a well- timed rebuke and wise correction, and constantly warns that folly ends up being its own punishment in the end.

Even prior to this outbreak, our society has long been walking very deliberately toward realizing Lewis’s vision of hell, mistaking it for heaven. It isn’t just the physical things, like smaller and smaller families in bigger and bigger houses, further and further apart, as though hell were other people. It’s also our private schedules and demand for more and more options. Not even 100 channels is enough. Isolation and loneliness have become among the chief problems facing people who get what they want. Not wanting to be bound by anything or imposed upon, we have for many generations been relaxing, chaffing at, and cutting all the ties that bind, seeing them as curses rather than blessings. And then we find ourselves adrift.

Take meals, for example. They are necessary for nourishment, of course, but also have always been about fellowship. To break bread together was a meaningful act, not just a matter of convenience. Two years ago when we did the 10 Commandments of Table Meals during Lent, we talked about the recent invention of drive-through meals to illustrate this general drive toward isolation and away from fellowship. It is not a good direction, but we follow the same path in some many areas of life.
 
We’ve farmed out to institutions the rearing of the young, care for the elderly, helping the poor, and anything else that might be considered a burden on our individualistic lifestyles. We’ve refused to be formed by the Church, but have insisted instead that the church conform to our schedules and tastes. We barely even know our neighbors anymore, living as we do in our cars and behind our garages, and if we love them at all, we do so purely in the abstract by supporting whatever faceless program is supposed to be taking care of them, not in any concrete action that makes demands on our time. Sad.

This quarantine just gives us more of what we’ve demanding. The restaurants are all drive-through, no sit down.  All home-theater, no real theater. All virtual classroom, no real classroom. And now, for a time, even church must follow suit. We’ve struggled mightily never to be inconvenienced, to make sure we can do whatever we want without having to leave our own bedroom. And now we see it all realized and think, “Wait a minute; where is the community, the human contact, the sense the belonging? Have we simply been preparing a place for ourselves in our own, isolated hell where everything revolves around our own convenience and nobody else ever comes?”

Perhaps this time of forced separation can prove to be a cautionary tale. God might be using this to show us the folly of the road we’ve been walking, perhaps as individuals but certainly as a society for a long time by giving us a glimpse of where that path leads. Maybe being forced not to visit with our neighbors will make us question why we always avoided visiting with our neighbor in the first place. Maybe all the days we sat dreaming of the chance just to stay in bed and watch Netflix were not visions of heaven after all.

Jesus promised that He was going to prepare a place for us. He never promises to let us go and prepare a place for ourselves in the Father’s house. It will be perfect, but only because He prepared it for us rather than letting us do it the way we really want. And it will be in the Father’s house, a place of community, of love and togetherness, of singing together, of a common table and feasting.
 
Pray that this unexpected and difficult time of dealing with separation will make us yearn ever more strongly for the gift of weekly worship together in communion with heaven and all the Saints. Pray that it opens our eyes to any wrong roads our lives might have been taking and gives us the chance to change course. May we emerge from this temporary crisis with renewed faith and an even stronger congregation due to God’s gracious guidance and discipline.

In Christ, Pastor Speckhard     

This is very well-thought out. 

I too have been thinking about God's alien work being done to us.  What is God (or is it the devil? Luther would wonder like this as well) doing to us during this pandemic?  There is a word study on the biblical usage of the term "visitation" which Elert provides in Gnade und Ungnade....  "Visitation" is used ambivalently in the Hebrew Scriptures as well as the New Testament.  In one sense it is a threatening visit by God in terms of bringing forth his wrath and condemnation on people.  In others such as in Luke's gospel the visitation comes within the story of Mary visiting Elizabeth to tell her about God's gracious visit concerning Jesus (culminates with the Magnificat).

In the first sense of the word's meaning and as people who cannot not be within God's hand, are we facing what happens when indeed it is God who delivers us over to our own ways and means?   Since having our way is always rebellion against God, it is now God who is allowing us to view and receive the effects of this life lived more globally.  We receive it in His wrath.  This is a wonderful opportunity for the Church to preach law and Gospel.  So many opportunities to prepare troubled hearts for God's good news in Christ alone.

Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dave Benke on March 24, 2020, 01:26:51 PM
A question for the group. A ELCA pastor posted pictures sent to her by members of her congregation who participated in she online communion service (she did the words of institution, they eat and drank whatever they had). This is what she said "We celebrated Holy Communion today & it was one of the holiest moments in my 16.5 ordained years. Many families sent me their home altar photos. I'm so glad the ELCA is an ever-reforming movement." One of the pictures was of a "good old boy" and his dog enjoying communion. I asked her "Is the dog receiving too? All are welcome!!" She responded "The dog did indeed." I responded "Thanks for the info! Best example of ever reforming. Why in the world would our bishops object to this?" My question to the group is this. Luther says in the explanation to the 8th commandment that we are to explain our neighbors actions in the kindest way. What is the kindest way? Is it to assume that of course the man didn't actually give communion to the dog and she was just joking or that her theology is actually that bizarre? I can't decide if I would want others to think me capable of a really bad joke or crazy theology.
In this case, kindest or tough love is to call the "communing of a dog" SIN

Let us also keep in mind that these are NOT the normal practice in the ELCA.  The vast majority of us are following the guidelines laid down by our bishops and our documents.


I can't claim to know what a majority of ELCA pastors and congregations are doing.  I do know that I've attended a number of ELCA church services at which the pastor has stated that "all" are welcome to receive communion.  The pastor has often elaborated by making clear that "all" truly means "all," including those who have not been baptized and those of different faiths or of no faith at all.  This invitation ("Wherever you are in your journey, you are welcome to participate in this meal of God's grace"), from Bishop Chilstrom's recent funeral, strikes me as typical.  Link (https://youtu.be/Jq_RlXyiWew?t=2340)  The invitation at that service came from Pr. Siri Erickson, a chaplain at Gustavus Adolphus College.  However, Bishop Eaton presided at that service and ultimately was responsible for it.  That's a strong endorsement for radically open communion, although I'm quite sure that the invitation did not extend to dogs.

A couple thousand years of church history in the Church catholic is instructive here.  Since a billion and a half of the world's Christians are Orthodox or Roman Catholic, they've had quite some centuries to devise appropriate rites of hospitality in and around serious differences.

At the memorial masses for Cardinal O'Connor and Cardinal Egan, it began with the procession and extended through the Eucharist itself.  Of course it's a hierarchical tradition, but here was the order:
Pope/Papal legate
Cardinals
Archbishops
Bishops
Auxiliary Bishops
Priests
Ordained Deacons
Women Religious
Ecumenical Representatives

Interfaith representatives were not in the procession, but were seated in an area to left of the altar prior to the procession

Roman Catholic participants were seated inside the altar, with the celebrant being the papal representative
Ecumenical representatives were seated inside the altar area but outside the altar, on a wide area of the steps
Ecumenical representatives were ordered, with the Orthodox communions at the front, and the other liturgical communions including Lutherans behind them, with the non-liturgical behind us

At the time of the consecration of the Sacrament, as we were standing, the Orthodox representatives removed their hats and placed them in a sort of shoulder container in respect of the Body and Blood of Christ.  They were the first greeted at the ecumenical level by the papal legate.
None of the ecumenical or interfaith representatives received the Eucharist.

So it was/is ordered, hospitable, charitable, respectful but acknowledging the rupture in fellowship that prevents reception of the Eucharist.  At the level of the Eucharist it was specifically NOT all are welcome.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 24, 2020, 01:32:46 PM
I am puzzled by this "pastor receiving for the congregation" thing.  "Take and eat, take and drink, this is for the forgiveness of all of YOUR sins" does not seem to lend itself to one communing for another's benefit.  And if pastor were to receive unworthily, would that also redound to the congregation?


The subject throughout the words of institution are the plural you.


In addition, Matthew has the phrases: "All of you drink from it" (Matthew 26:27) and "my blood of the covenant being poured out for all" (Matthew 26:28). There was such an emphasis on "all" in the early church, that deacons took the sacrament to all the church members who couldn't gather for worship. Perhaps they were sick or had to work. Whatever the reason, the emphasis was that this was Christ's meal given to all of us and no one should be excluded. (An exception could occur when one was excommunicated for a time so that they might recognize the seriousness of their sins, repent, and be restored to the community (see 1 Corinthians 5:9-13).


κοινωνία which is sometimes translated "communion" (e.g., 2 Corinthians 13:13), carries the idea of sharing something with others (see 1 Corinthians 10:16; 2 Corinthians 8:4). The verbal form κοινωνέω nearly always refer to sharing something (like money) with others (Romans 12:13; 15:27; Galatians 6:6; Philippians 4:15). How can there be a sharing if there is only the presider?
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Steven W Bohler on March 24, 2020, 03:02:31 PM
I am puzzled by this "pastor receiving for the congregation" thing.  "Take and eat, take and drink, this is for the forgiveness of all of YOUR sins" does not seem to lend itself to one communing for another's benefit.  And if pastor were to receive unworthily, would that also redound to the congregation?


The subject throughout the words of institution are the plural you.


In addition, Matthew has the phrases: "All of you drink from it" (Matthew 26:27) and "my blood of the covenant being poured out for all" (Matthew 26:28). There was such an emphasis on "all" in the early church, that deacons took the sacrament to all the church members who couldn't gather for worship. Perhaps they were sick or had to work. Whatever the reason, the emphasis was that this was Christ's meal given to all of us and no one should be excluded. (An exception could occur when one was excommunicated for a time so that they might recognize the seriousness of their sins, repent, and be restored to the community (see 1 Corinthians 5:9-13).


κοινωνία which is sometimes translated "communion" (e.g., 2 Corinthians 13:13), carries the idea of sharing something with others (see 1 Corinthians 10:16; 2 Corinthians 8:4). The verbal form κοινωνέω nearly always refer to sharing something (like money) with others (Romans 12:13; 15:27; Galatians 6:6; Philippians 4:15). How can there be a sharing if there is only the presider?

1.  Jesus was speaking to the gathered disciples, so obviously He used the plural "you".
2. The forgiveness seems to be connected to the eating/drinking.
3. So, whether "you" is singular or plural, if "you" are not eating/drinking then I do not see how it benefits "you".  At least, not any more than the Word already proclaimed/heard in the service.  If so, then what is the purpose of this "pastor communing for the people"?
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Rob Morris on March 24, 2020, 03:03:46 PM
Think, too, of Jesus' word that if he willed he could call down legions of angels. Was that not really an option? Or does his submission lie in the fact that it really was an option that he really chose not to exercise?

Once the option is taken away, we can submit to the stated reality or we can kick against the goads, but either way, it's not really the same as fasting, is it?

It is in the sense that fasting is a submission to an external discipline. It seems different in that it is for us a self-defined discipline, but think of it--oh, say, the old Roman Catholic "fish on Friday" thing, where the fasting discipline was not self-defined.

Who is taking away the option here? Are you talking about the lay Christian whose option for the Eucharist has been taken away? If that's what you mean, then think about the idea that the stewardship of the Eucharist belongs to the whole community, but the pastor or bishop has been given the authority to act on behalf of the community. Again, it's a matter of submission.

Here I think we are in complete agreement. It is why, as I said a little upstream, if things become more extreme for me and my folks, I believe I will still offer but will ask that they fast from receiving. And as I said, under those circumstances, I think it appropriate for the pastor to receive on behalf of the fasting congregation. Again, I think that if I were a parishioner, I would rather have the pastor receiving communion on behalf of the whole congregation, than that no one be receiving at all.

As I said, thanks be to God it is still a hypothetical for me. I think a circumstance like this calls for a great deal of grace and trust that others’ decisions can be faithful even if they do not exactly align with our own.

I am puzzled by this "pastor receiving for the congregation" thing.  "Take and eat, take and drink, this is for the forgiveness of all of YOUR sins" does not seem to lend itself to one communing for another's benefit.  And if pastor were to receive unworthily, would that also redound to the congregation?

Perhaps it's sloppy language on my part. Might even be sloppy thinking... My (admittedly still-germinating thought) isn't that the pastor's reception serves as though others are communing through the pastor, but that the pastor's communion ensures that the church's Word and Sacrament ministry continue unabated. That's why it's important to me that the option remain open to attend and commune, even perhaps while advising everyone not to do so.

Again, for me at this point in time it is hypothetical, and it is possible that it is some sort of pride or mis-placed bravado on my part. On the other hand, I have found that many of my parishioners are greatly comforted to know that this outbreak has not closed our church, even though they themselves must refrain from attending and/or communing.

Have to run, just wanted to clarify...
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Steven W Bohler on March 24, 2020, 03:16:43 PM
Think, too, of Jesus' word that if he willed he could call down legions of angels. Was that not really an option? Or does his submission lie in the fact that it really was an option that he really chose not to exercise?

Once the option is taken away, we can submit to the stated reality or we can kick against the goads, but either way, it's not really the same as fasting, is it?

It is in the sense that fasting is a submission to an external discipline. It seems different in that it is for us a self-defined discipline, but think of it--oh, say, the old Roman Catholic "fish on Friday" thing, where the fasting discipline was not self-defined.

Who is taking away the option here? Are you talking about the lay Christian whose option for the Eucharist has been taken away? If that's what you mean, then think about the idea that the stewardship of the Eucharist belongs to the whole community, but the pastor or bishop has been given the authority to act on behalf of the community. Again, it's a matter of submission.

Here I think we are in complete agreement. It is why, as I said a little upstream, if things become more extreme for me and my folks, I believe I will still offer but will ask that they fast from receiving. And as I said, under those circumstances, I think it appropriate for the pastor to receive on behalf of the fasting congregation. Again, I think that if I were a parishioner, I would rather have the pastor receiving communion on behalf of the whole congregation, than that no one be receiving at all.

As I said, thanks be to God it is still a hypothetical for me. I think a circumstance like this calls for a great deal of grace and trust that others’ decisions can be faithful even if they do not exactly align with our own.

I am puzzled by this "pastor receiving for the congregation" thing.  "Take and eat, take and drink, this is for the forgiveness of all of YOUR sins" does not seem to lend itself to one communing for another's benefit.  And if pastor were to receive unworthily, would that also redound to the congregation?

Perhaps it's sloppy language on my part. Might even be sloppy thinking... My (admittedly still-germinating thought) isn't that the pastor's reception serves as though others are communing through the pastor, but that the pastor's communion ensures that the church's Word and Sacrament ministry continue unabated. That's why it's important to me that the option remain open to attend and commune, even perhaps while advising everyone not to do so.

Again, for me at this point in time it is hypothetical, and it is possible that it is some sort of pride or mis-placed bravado on my part. On the other hand, I have found that many of my parishioners are greatly comforted to know that this outbreak has not closed our church, even though they themselves must refrain from attending and/or communing.

Have to run, just wanted to clarify...

Thank you for that clarification!
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 24, 2020, 05:57:30 PM
I am puzzled by this "pastor receiving for the congregation" thing.  "Take and eat, take and drink, this is for the forgiveness of all of YOUR sins" does not seem to lend itself to one communing for another's benefit.  And if pastor were to receive unworthily, would that also redound to the congregation?


The subject throughout the words of institution are the plural you.


In addition, Matthew has the phrases: "All of you drink from it" (Matthew 26:27) and "my blood of the covenant being poured out for all" (Matthew 26:28). There was such an emphasis on "all" in the early church, that deacons took the sacrament to all the church members who couldn't gather for worship. Perhaps they were sick or had to work. Whatever the reason, the emphasis was that this was Christ's meal given to all of us and no one should be excluded. (An exception could occur when one was excommunicated for a time so that they might recognize the seriousness of their sins, repent, and be restored to the community (see 1 Corinthians 5:9-13).


κοινωνία which is sometimes translated "communion" (e.g., 2 Corinthians 13:13), carries the idea of sharing something with others (see 1 Corinthians 10:16; 2 Corinthians 8:4). The verbal form κοινωνέω nearly always refer to sharing something (like money) with others (Romans 12:13; 15:27; Galatians 6:6; Philippians 4:15). How can there be a sharing if there is only the presider?

1.  Jesus was speaking to the gathered disciples, so obviously He used the plural "you".
2. The forgiveness seems to be connected to the eating/drinking.
3. So, whether "you" is singular or plural, if "you" are not eating/drinking then I do not see how it benefits "you".  At least, not any more than the Word already proclaimed/heard in the service.  If so, then what is the purpose of this "pastor communing for the people"?


In regards to the bolded line: forgiveness is only mentioned in Matthew's account. Mark, Luke, Paul, and the Didache say nothing about forgiveness. It's an emphasis Luther put on the sacrament that, I believe, has overshadowed the emphasis of Paul and the Didache on the unity given among those who participate - a unity with each other and with Christ.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Richard Johnson on March 24, 2020, 07:46:36 PM

I can't claim to know what a majority of ELCA pastors and congregations are doing.  I do know that I've attended a number of ELCA church services at which the pastor has stated that "all" are welcome to receive communion.  The pastor has often elaborated by making clear that "all" truly means "all," including those who have not been baptized and those of different faiths or of no faith at all. 

Interesting to make a connection between "open to all" and a livestreamed Eucharist. I hadn't thought of that. It's really probably the same people that are on board with both.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Steven W Bohler on March 24, 2020, 08:45:29 PM
I am puzzled by this "pastor receiving for the congregation" thing.  "Take and eat, take and drink, this is for the forgiveness of all of YOUR sins" does not seem to lend itself to one communing for another's benefit.  And if pastor were to receive unworthily, would that also redound to the congregation?


The subject throughout the words of institution are the plural you.


In addition, Matthew has the phrases: "All of you drink from it" (Matthew 26:27) and "my blood of the covenant being poured out for all" (Matthew 26:28). There was such an emphasis on "all" in the early church, that deacons took the sacrament to all the church members who couldn't gather for worship. Perhaps they were sick or had to work. Whatever the reason, the emphasis was that this was Christ's meal given to all of us and no one should be excluded. (An exception could occur when one was excommunicated for a time so that they might recognize the seriousness of their sins, repent, and be restored to the community (see 1 Corinthians 5:9-13).


κοινωνία which is sometimes translated "communion" (e.g., 2 Corinthians 13:13), carries the idea of sharing something with others (see 1 Corinthians 10:16; 2 Corinthians 8:4). The verbal form κοινωνέω nearly always refer to sharing something (like money) with others (Romans 12:13; 15:27; Galatians 6:6; Philippians 4:15). How can there be a sharing if there is only the presider?

1.  Jesus was speaking to the gathered disciples, so obviously He used the plural "you".
2. The forgiveness seems to be connected to the eating/drinking.
3. So, whether "you" is singular or plural, if "you" are not eating/drinking then I do not see how it benefits "you".  At least, not any more than the Word already proclaimed/heard in the service.  If so, then what is the purpose of this "pastor communing for the people"?


In regards to the bolded line: forgiveness is only mentioned in Matthew's account. Mark, Luke, Paul, and the Didache say nothing about forgiveness. It's an emphasis Luther put on the sacrament that, I believe, has overshadowed the emphasis of Paul and the Didache on the unity given among those who participate - a unity with each other and with Christ.

So, Jesus' words in Matthew's Gospel are not enough for you?
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: readselerttoo on March 24, 2020, 09:12:26 PM
I am puzzled by this "pastor receiving for the congregation" thing.  "Take and eat, take and drink, this is for the forgiveness of all of YOUR sins" does not seem to lend itself to one communing for another's benefit.  And if pastor were to receive unworthily, would that also redound to the congregation?


The subject throughout the words of institution are the plural you.


In addition, Matthew has the phrases: "All of you drink from it" (Matthew 26:27) and "my blood of the covenant being poured out for all" (Matthew 26:28). There was such an emphasis on "all" in the early church, that deacons took the sacrament to all the church members who couldn't gather for worship. Perhaps they were sick or had to work. Whatever the reason, the emphasis was that this was Christ's meal given to all of us and no one should be excluded. (An exception could occur when one was excommunicated for a time so that they might recognize the seriousness of their sins, repent, and be restored to the community (see 1 Corinthians 5:9-13).


κοινωνία which is sometimes translated "communion" (e.g., 2 Corinthians 13:13), carries the idea of sharing something with others (see 1 Corinthians 10:16; 2 Corinthians 8:4). The verbal form κοινωνέω nearly always refer to sharing something (like money) with others (Romans 12:13; 15:27; Galatians 6:6; Philippians 4:15). How can there be a sharing if there is only the presider?

1.  Jesus was speaking to the gathered disciples, so obviously He used the plural "you".
2. The forgiveness seems to be connected to the eating/drinking.
3. So, whether "you" is singular or plural, if "you" are not eating/drinking then I do not see how it benefits "you".  At least, not any more than the Word already proclaimed/heard in the service.  If so, then what is the purpose of this "pastor communing for the people"?


In regards to the bolded line: forgiveness is only mentioned in Matthew's account. Mark, Luke, Paul, and the Didache say nothing about forgiveness. It's an emphasis Luther put on the sacrament that, I believe, has overshadowed the emphasis of Paul and the Didache on the unity given among those who participate - a unity with each other and with Christ.

So, Jesus' words in Matthew's Gospel are not enough for you?

If we really want to dance on the head of a pin on this why not use the exact words of 1 Corinthians 11:23 ff. exclusively without any interpolations from other sources?  St. Paul received these words from the risen Christ himself as he says so.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 24, 2020, 09:52:53 PM
I am puzzled by this "pastor receiving for the congregation" thing.  "Take and eat, take and drink, this is for the forgiveness of all of YOUR sins" does not seem to lend itself to one communing for another's benefit.  And if pastor were to receive unworthily, would that also redound to the congregation?


The subject throughout the words of institution are the plural you.


In addition, Matthew has the phrases: "All of you drink from it" (Matthew 26:27) and "my blood of the covenant being poured out for all" (Matthew 26:28). There was such an emphasis on "all" in the early church, that deacons took the sacrament to all the church members who couldn't gather for worship. Perhaps they were sick or had to work. Whatever the reason, the emphasis was that this was Christ's meal given to all of us and no one should be excluded. (An exception could occur when one was excommunicated for a time so that they might recognize the seriousness of their sins, repent, and be restored to the community (see 1 Corinthians 5:9-13).


κοινωνία which is sometimes translated "communion" (e.g., 2 Corinthians 13:13), carries the idea of sharing something with others (see 1 Corinthians 10:16; 2 Corinthians 8:4). The verbal form κοινωνέω nearly always refer to sharing something (like money) with others (Romans 12:13; 15:27; Galatians 6:6; Philippians 4:15). How can there be a sharing if there is only the presider?

1.  Jesus was speaking to the gathered disciples, so obviously He used the plural "you".
2. The forgiveness seems to be connected to the eating/drinking.
3. So, whether "you" is singular or plural, if "you" are not eating/drinking then I do not see how it benefits "you".  At least, not any more than the Word already proclaimed/heard in the service.  If so, then what is the purpose of this "pastor communing for the people"?


In regards to the bolded line: forgiveness is only mentioned in Matthew's account. Mark, Luke, Paul, and the Didache say nothing about forgiveness. It's an emphasis Luther put on the sacrament that, I believe, has overshadowed the emphasis of Paul and the Didache on the unity given among those who participate - a unity with each other and with Christ.

So, Jesus' words in Matthew's Gospel are not enough for you?


Historically, the earliest written report of Jesus' words are in 1 Corinthians, written about 10-15 years before the Gospel of Mark, which was written 15-20 years before Matthew and Luke. Why should Matthew's version, one of the last to be written down, be given priority?
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Steven W Bohler on March 24, 2020, 10:16:37 PM
I am puzzled by this "pastor receiving for the congregation" thing.  "Take and eat, take and drink, this is for the forgiveness of all of YOUR sins" does not seem to lend itself to one communing for another's benefit.  And if pastor were to receive unworthily, would that also redound to the congregation?


The subject throughout the words of institution are the plural you.


In addition, Matthew has the phrases: "All of you drink from it" (Matthew 26:27) and "my blood of the covenant being poured out for all" (Matthew 26:28). There was such an emphasis on "all" in the early church, that deacons took the sacrament to all the church members who couldn't gather for worship. Perhaps they were sick or had to work. Whatever the reason, the emphasis was that this was Christ's meal given to all of us and no one should be excluded. (An exception could occur when one was excommunicated for a time so that they might recognize the seriousness of their sins, repent, and be restored to the community (see 1 Corinthians 5:9-13).


κοινωνία which is sometimes translated "communion" (e.g., 2 Corinthians 13:13), carries the idea of sharing something with others (see 1 Corinthians 10:16; 2 Corinthians 8:4). The verbal form κοινωνέω nearly always refer to sharing something (like money) with others (Romans 12:13; 15:27; Galatians 6:6; Philippians 4:15). How can there be a sharing if there is only the presider?

1.  Jesus was speaking to the gathered disciples, so obviously He used the plural "you".
2. The forgiveness seems to be connected to the eating/drinking.
3. So, whether "you" is singular or plural, if "you" are not eating/drinking then I do not see how it benefits "you".  At least, not any more than the Word already proclaimed/heard in the service.  If so, then what is the purpose of this "pastor communing for the people"?


In regards to the bolded line: forgiveness is only mentioned in Matthew's account. Mark, Luke, Paul, and the Didache say nothing about forgiveness. It's an emphasis Luther put on the sacrament that, I believe, has overshadowed the emphasis of Paul and the Didache on the unity given among those who participate - a unity with each other and with Christ.

So, Jesus' words in Matthew's Gospel are not enough for you?


Historically, the earliest written report of Jesus' words are in 1 Corinthians, written about 10-15 years before the Gospel of Mark, which was written 15-20 years before Matthew and Luke. Why should Matthew's version, one of the last to be written down, be given priority?

I have no certain knowledge of when any of the New Testament books were written.  But that really does not matter: all of them are God's Word.  So, if only Matthew's Gospel connects forgiveness with communing, so what?  God has said it.  And once is enough for me.  How about you?
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dan Fienen on March 24, 2020, 10:47:48 PM
Historically, the earliest written report of Jesus' words are in 1 Corinthians, written about 10-15 years before the Gospel of Mark, which was written 15-20 years before Matthew and Luke. Why should Matthew's version, one of the last to be written down, be given priority?

So, if it is only in Matthew it is suspect and not enough to establish it as real word of God? It is only in Matthew it really isn't canonical? Matthew doesn't really mean anything we need to take seriously unless it backs up Mark or what you consider "authentic" Pauline? The extra in Matthew is just what some anonymous bloke decided to add to what was authentically Scripture?
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 25, 2020, 02:15:32 AM
I have no certain knowledge of when any of the New Testament books were written.  But that really does not matter: all of them are God's Word.  So, if only Matthew's Gospel connects forgiveness with communing, so what?  God has said it.  And once is enough for me.  How about you?


But you're certain that God said "for the forgiveness of sins" even though Mark, Luke, and Paul didn't seem to hear God speak those words. When Paul and the Didache write about benefits of the sacrament, forgiveness of sins isn't mentioned.


I believe that God does forgive sins in the sacrament, but I also believe that God is doing much more than that in the sacrament.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 25, 2020, 02:17:29 AM
Historically, the earliest written report of Jesus' words are in 1 Corinthians, written about 10-15 years before the Gospel of Mark, which was written 15-20 years before Matthew and Luke. Why should Matthew's version, one of the last to be written down, be given priority?

So, if it is only in Matthew it is suspect and not enough to establish it as real word of God? It is only in Matthew it really isn't canonical? Matthew doesn't really mean anything we need to take seriously unless it backs up Mark or what you consider "authentic" Pauline? The extra in Matthew is just what some anonymous bloke decided to add to what was authentically Scripture?


I'm saying that we need to take what Paul and others say about the sacrament as seriously as we do the one phrase in Matthew. This isn't to deny Matthew's importance, but to elevate what Paul (and Didache) say about it as just as important.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Keith Falk on March 25, 2020, 08:33:48 AM
I have no certain knowledge of when any of the New Testament books were written.  But that really does not matter: all of them are God's Word.  So, if only Matthew's Gospel connects forgiveness with communing, so what?  God has said it.  And once is enough for me.  How about you?


But you're certain that God said "for the forgiveness of sins" even though Mark, Luke, and Paul didn't seem to hear God speak those words. When Paul and the Didache write about benefits of the sacrament, forgiveness of sins isn't mentioned.


I believe that God does forgive sins in the sacrament, but I also believe that God is doing much more than that in the sacrament.


What do you mean here?
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Steven W Bohler on March 25, 2020, 08:58:13 AM
I have no certain knowledge of when any of the New Testament books were written.  But that really does not matter: all of them are God's Word.  So, if only Matthew's Gospel connects forgiveness with communing, so what?  God has said it.  And once is enough for me.  How about you?


But you're certain that God said "for the forgiveness of sins" even though Mark, Luke, and Paul didn't seem to hear God speak those words. When Paul and the Didache write about benefits of the sacrament, forgiveness of sins isn't mentioned.


I believe that God does forgive sins in the sacrament, but I also believe that God is doing much more than that in the sacrament.

1. Yes, I am certain God forgives sins in the Supper even though Mark, Luke, and Paul do not explicitly say it.  Because God has said it, through Matthew.  If God says it in only one place or a million, it is true.  Of course, St. Mark tells us that Jesus said: "This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many".  And St. Luke says: "This is My body, given for you...This cup is the new covenant in My blood which is poured out for you".  And St. Paul says: This is My body, which is for you...This cup is the new covenant in My blood".  What do you think they are saying that Jesus gave?  Just His body/blood?  Of course not.  Those are shorthand ways of saying forgiveness of sins.  That is why He came.  That is why He gave His body and shed His blood.  To forgive sins. 

2. Who has denied that God does more than forgive sins in the Sacrament?  Not me.  Not Luther.  But, since "where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation", we rightly focus on that.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 25, 2020, 02:09:52 PM
I have no certain knowledge of when any of the New Testament books were written.  But that really does not matter: all of them are God's Word.  So, if only Matthew's Gospel connects forgiveness with communing, so what?  God has said it.  And once is enough for me.  How about you?


But you're certain that God said "for the forgiveness of sins" even though Mark, Luke, and Paul didn't seem to hear God speak those words. When Paul and the Didache write about benefits of the sacrament, forgiveness of sins isn't mentioned.


I believe that God does forgive sins in the sacrament, but I also believe that God is doing much more than that in the sacrament.

1. Yes, I am certain God forgives sins in the Supper even though Mark, Luke, and Paul do not explicitly say it.  Because God has said it, through Matthew.  If God says it in only one place or a million, it is true.  Of course, St. Mark tells us that Jesus said: "This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many".  And St. Luke says: "This is My body, given for you...This cup is the new covenant in My blood which is poured out for you".  And St. Paul says: This is My body, which is for you...This cup is the new covenant in My blood".  What do you think they are saying that Jesus gave?  Just His body/blood?  Of course not.  Those are shorthand ways of saying forgiveness of sins.  That is why He came.  That is why He gave His body and shed His blood.  To forgive sins. 

2. Who has denied that God does more than forgive sins in the Sacrament?  Not me.  Not Luther.  But, since "where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation", we rightly focus on that.


Where is the corporate unity that Paul and the Didache stress? Where is the eating from one loaf or drinking from one cup? Our emphasis on "for me" has pushed aside the "for us together" that is the emphasis in Paul and the Didache.


I believe that in recent years (compared to my growing up years), there are some attempts to reclaim the corporate understanding. The use of a loaf of bread rather than individual wafers. The use of a cup rather than pre-filled individual glasses. The use of continuous communion rather than tables with each group being dismissed separately.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 25, 2020, 02:29:10 PM
I have no certain knowledge of when any of the New Testament books were written.  But that really does not matter: all of them are God's Word.  So, if only Matthew's Gospel connects forgiveness with communing, so what?  God has said it.  And once is enough for me.  How about you?


But you're certain that God said "for the forgiveness of sins" even though Mark, Luke, and Paul didn't seem to hear God speak those words. When Paul and the Didache write about benefits of the sacrament, forgiveness of sins isn't mentioned.


I believe that God does forgive sins in the sacrament, but I also believe that God is doing much more than that in the sacrament.


What do you mean here?


Steven indicated that what Matthew wrote are: "God said it." If that's what God said in the Upper Room, why didn't Mark, Luke, or Paul also report those words from God? One suggestion, they didn't hear it. That's why they didn't record it like Matthew.


The other option is that Matthew added it, since forgiveness within the community is one of his emphases, e.g., Matthew 18. Matthew indicates that Jesus knows Judas will betray him (Matt 26:25). There's no indication that Judas leaves, but is present to hear the words of forgiveness and receive the bread and wine of the sacrament. It's a word and meal of forgiveness shared with all the apostles who will abandon Jesus in the garden. Forgiveness is offered to Judas and Peter and all the rest; like we are to do with fellow believers who sin against us. The point of the forgiveness is reconciliation and the restoration of the community as one body. Judas wasn't willing to trust the forgiveness of the disciples. A scene found only in Matthew: Judas repented to the chief priests and elders and returned the money; but he hadn't sinned against them. He didn't receive forgiveness. He hanged himself.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Keith Falk on March 25, 2020, 02:36:28 PM
I have no certain knowledge of when any of the New Testament books were written.  But that really does not matter: all of them are God's Word.  So, if only Matthew's Gospel connects forgiveness with communing, so what?  God has said it.  And once is enough for me.  How about you?


But you're certain that God said "for the forgiveness of sins" even though Mark, Luke, and Paul didn't seem to hear God speak those words. When Paul and the Didache write about benefits of the sacrament, forgiveness of sins isn't mentioned.


I believe that God does forgive sins in the sacrament, but I also believe that God is doing much more than that in the sacrament.


What do you mean here?


Steven indicated that what Matthew wrote are: "God said it." If that's what God said in the Upper Room, why didn't Mark, Luke, or Paul also report those words from God? One suggestion, they didn't hear it. That's why they didn't record it like Matthew.


The other option is that Matthew added it, since forgiveness within the community is one of his emphases, e.g., Matthew 18. Matthew indicates that Jesus knows Judas will betray him (Matt 26:25). There's no indication that Judas leaves, but is present to hear the words of forgiveness and receive the bread and wine of the sacrament. It's a word and meal of forgiveness shared with all the apostles who will abandon Jesus in the garden. Forgiveness is offered to Judas and Peter and all the rest; like we are to do with fellow believers who sin against us. The point of the forgiveness is reconciliation and the restoration of the community as one body. Judas wasn't willing to trust the forgiveness of the disciples. A scene found only in Matthew: Judas repented to the chief priests and elders and returned the money; but he hadn't sinned against them. He didn't receive forgiveness. He hanged himself.


They (Mark, Luke, Paul) didn't hear it (the part about forgiveness) - didn't hear it from whom?


"Matthew added it" as in, Matthew included in his writing a detail the others did not, or Matthew added it as in there was nothing actually said about forgiveness during the historical event, and so Matthew added it as an embellishment/explanation/narrative license in order to emphasize forgiveness?
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: readselerttoo on March 25, 2020, 02:40:36 PM
I have no certain knowledge of when any of the New Testament books were written.  But that really does not matter: all of them are God's Word.  So, if only Matthew's Gospel connects forgiveness with communing, so what?  God has said it.  And once is enough for me.  How about you?


But you're certain that God said "for the forgiveness of sins" even though Mark, Luke, and Paul didn't seem to hear God speak those words. When Paul and the Didache write about benefits of the sacrament, forgiveness of sins isn't mentioned.


I believe that God does forgive sins in the sacrament, but I also believe that God is doing much more than that in the sacrament.


What do you mean here?

I think the "much more" is life and salvation.  Forgiveness of sins, life and salvation:  the big three benefits mentioned by Luther in the section on Holy Communion in his Small Catechism:

What is the benefit of such eating and drinking?

That is shown us in these words: Given, and shed for you, for the remission of sins; namely, that in the Sacrament forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation are given us through these words. For where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation.

Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: readselerttoo on March 25, 2020, 02:51:21 PM
I have no certain knowledge of when any of the New Testament books were written.  But that really does not matter: all of them are God's Word.  So, if only Matthew's Gospel connects forgiveness with communing, so what?  God has said it.  And once is enough for me.  How about you?


But you're certain that God said "for the forgiveness of sins" even though Mark, Luke, and Paul didn't seem to hear God speak those words. When Paul and the Didache write about benefits of the sacrament, forgiveness of sins isn't mentioned.


I believe that God does forgive sins in the sacrament, but I also believe that God is doing much more than that in the sacrament.


What do you mean here?


Steven indicated that what Matthew wrote are: "God said it." If that's what God said in the Upper Room, why didn't Mark, Luke, or Paul also report those words from God? One suggestion, they didn't hear it. That's why they didn't record it like Matthew.


The other option is that Matthew added it, since forgiveness within the community is one of his emphases, e.g., Matthew 18. Matthew indicates that Jesus knows Judas will betray him (Matt 26:25). There's no indication that Judas leaves, but is present to hear the words of forgiveness and receive the bread and wine of the sacrament. It's a word and meal of forgiveness shared with all the apostles who will abandon Jesus in the garden. Forgiveness is offered to Judas and Peter and all the rest; like we are to do with fellow believers who sin against us. The point of the forgiveness is reconciliation and the restoration of the community as one body. Judas wasn't willing to trust the forgiveness of the disciples. A scene found only in Matthew: Judas repented to the chief priests and elders and returned the money; but he hadn't sinned against them. He didn't receive forgiveness. He hanged himself.


They (Mark, Luke, Paul) didn't hear it (the part about forgiveness) - didn't hear it from whom?


"Matthew added it" as in, Matthew included in his writing a detail the others did not, or Matthew added it as in there was nothing actually said about forgiveness during the historical event, and so Matthew added it as an embellishment/explanation/narrative license in order to emphasize forgiveness?

My question to Pr. Stoffregen as well.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dan Fienen on March 25, 2020, 03:42:36 PM

The emphasis that Pr. Stoffregen brings that Communion is communal is salutary. We are brought together in one body in the meal. That is, I think, part of the reason that Lutherans rejected the private communions of priests celebrating the Mass for themselves alone. It is also part of why I am quite dubious of the remote consecrations of individuals or families having their own communion with a recorded or live streamed consecration over the TV or computer.


Where I disagree with Pr. Stoffregen is that he seems to not consider unity of faith to be a part of our unity in Christ. Communion is to be communal, but belief is apparently to him quite individualistic. Everybody can believe whatever and however they please and that is fine. Perhaps there is some minimal belief formula that all should adhere to, such as the Apostles' or Nicene Creeds (but not, heaven forfend, the Athanasian Creed), but unity of faith is not needed or perhaps even desired.


There is not unity of belief between Pr. Stoffregen and I, and I suspect most of Missouri Synod. Despite pointing to the fellowship that was at one time in place between the ALC (of which he was a part) and the LCMS, since discontinued and ultimately void since the ALC no long exists, that we both have some sort of formal subscription to the Creeds and Lutheran Confessions (although that common subscription is quite limited since he really dislikes the Athanasian Creed and limits his subscription to the Formula) he himself has claimed that the typical faith of Missouri Synod is different from his since he believes that we have departed from the true Gospel faith and become legalistic. Whether or not we have forfeited the Gospel and become legalists is a topic for another discussion on another day. But the fact remains that even in Pr. Stoffregen's comments, we are not unified in faith. We believe that matters.


So, is what people believe truly something of indifference, something that doesn't matter? We believe that it does matter.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: peter_speckhard on March 25, 2020, 04:38:48 PM
Today's update concerning our first attempt at remote worship.

Lenten greetings to the St. Paul’s family,

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. John 1:14

[Jesus said] “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” John 6:51

We should thank God for the technology that allows us to stay connected somewhat during a time a separation. As we temporarily try to worship together without being together “in the flesh,” so to speak, we rejoice at the gift of electronic communication. But I want to highlight the importance of the physical and some of the pitfalls of online worship, so that we all get the most out of the opportunity to worship remotely without falling into any spiritual snare.

Most obviously, watching worship is not the same thing as worshipping. Please don’t tune in to our services the same way you would to a tv show. This will be harder than it seems. Speak the words of the creed, don’t just listen to them. Pray, don’t just listen to the prayers.  Sing the hymns and liturgical parts aloud, don’t just have them in the background like a radio. (Again, make sure you have a hymnal in your home—you can check one out from church.) It will seem strange doing this out loud in your house, especially with other people sitting on the couch or across the room. But so be it. Unlike watching a movie, in worship, you are a participant, not an observer. In fact, making a point of this will help us all even when we can be back in church, because we all have a tendency to lapse back into the role of observer even when we’re sitting in the pews.

More importantly, doing things remotely can give us the mistaken impression that the Church is an abstraction, a mere idea, rather than a concrete reality. If we mistakenly believe that worshipping remotely is the same thing, basically, as worshipping in person, then we’re missing out on one of the great mysteries and gifts of Christianity. In the Church, you, that is, your flesh and blood, are being incorporated (note the root of that word!) into the Body of Christ and therefore God.

Consider God for a moment. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We confess, “I believe that God has made me…” How? Did he just imagine an idea of you? No. He made you a flesh and blood thing, and used physical means. Spoiler alert for any young children who may be reading this, but there was icky, physical contact and biology involved in God’s work. Babies are not abstractions, nor are they begotten in the abstract. Yet we confess that the making of every human being is/was a holy act of the Creator with eternal, spiritual ramifications.

And consider Jesus. He came in the flesh. That is of crucial (literally) importance for the faith. There is no Jesus apart from flesh and blood. God became a Man. We don’t put our trust in the abstract idea of God being nice and loving and merciful. We put our faith in the concrete, fleshly manifestation of the Truth. Countless ancient heretics have tried to get around the Incarnation, the enfleshment of God, but to no avail. There is no Christianity or Church without it.

So far so good. But now consider the Holy Spirit. How does He work to create faith and give us new life? In purely spiritual ways unconnected to the flesh? No! He works through means. One of those means, the spoken or written Word, can be communicated remotely via electronic media to flesh and blood eyes and ears. But that is not the extent of the Spirit’s activity. C.S. Lewis, in his famous book Mere Christianity expressed the gist of the idea this way:

   “And let me be clear that when Christians say the Christ-life is in them, they do not mean something simply mental or moral. When they speak of being “in Christ” or of Christ being “in them,” this is not simply a way of saying that they are thinking about Christ or copying Him. They mean that Christ is actually operating through them; that the whole mass of Christians are the physical organism through which Christ acts—that we are His fingers and muscles, the cells of His body. And perhaps this explains one or two things. It explains why this new life is spread not only by purely mental acts like belief, but by bodily acts like Baptism and Holy Communion.  It is not merely the spreading of an idea; it is more like evolution* [*meaning gradual transformation, not the theory of origins]—a biological or super-biological fact. There is no good trying to be more spiritual than God. God never meant man to be a purely spiritual creature. That is why He uses material things like bread and wine to put the new life into us. We may think this rather crude and unspiritual. God does not. He invented eating. He likes matter. He invented it.” C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity.

This is why we treat our bodies as Temples of the Holy Spirit. This is why St. Paul says any individual Christian’s sexual immorality is a sin against the whole Body of believers. This is why we put so much emphasis in funerals on the resurrection of the body, not just souls going to heaven. This is why Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in the Life Together book we went through last fall, said Christians in isolation quite rightly long for the physical presence of other Christians, who bring with them in their person the presence of Christ. This is one reason the writer to the Hebrews instructed Christians not to stop meeting together. This is a big part of the problem with Christians trying to be “spiritual but not religious.” This is the main reason we bring communion to the homebound even though they can worship regularly via some electronic format. Christians have long struggled to understand how Christ can offer us His body and blood in the Sacrament, but it has always been obvious that the real presence of our own body and blood is a prerequisite for receiving that spiritual gift.

So, again, we give thanks for the opportunity to be fed with a Service of the Word via electronic media. It is a huge blessing, especially on a temporary basis in a time of necessity. But it can never be the ideal, or even a an adequate solution in the long term. Our efforts will remain a work in progress. Every way of doing this – Facebook, Youtube, Zoom, etc.—has its pros and cons. There are copyright issues, sound quality issues, access issues (e.g. not everyone uses Facebook), etc. So please be patient as we find our way, and please help one another participate. And really participate, don’t just watch.
We look forward to the day when we can gather as God’s family in this place and receive all the gifts He has for us. Until then, let us receive the Word gratefully and resolve to be Christ to our neighbor however God enables us.

In Christ, Pastor Speckhard 
     

Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dave Benke on March 25, 2020, 05:10:31 PM
Today's update concerning our first attempt at remote worship.

Lenten greetings to the St. Paul’s family,

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. John 1:14

[Jesus said] “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” John 6:51

We should thank God for the technology that allows us to stay connected somewhat during a time a separation. As we temporarily try to worship together without being together “in the flesh,” so to speak, we rejoice at the gift of electronic communication. But I want to highlight the importance of the physical and some of the pitfalls of online worship, so that we all get the most out of the opportunity to worship remotely without falling into any spiritual snare.

Most obviously, watching worship is not the same thing as worshipping. Please don’t tune in to our services the same way you would to a tv show. This will be harder than it seems. Speak the words of the creed, don’t just listen to them. Pray, don’t just listen to the prayers.  Sing the hymns and liturgical parts aloud, don’t just have them in the background like a radio. (Again, make sure you have a hymnal in your home—you can check one out from church.) It will seem strange doing this out loud in your house, especially with other people sitting on the couch or across the room. But so be it. Unlike watching a movie, in worship, you are a participant, not an observer. In fact, making a point of this will help us all even when we can be back in church, because we all have a tendency to lapse back into the role of observer even when we’re sitting in the pews.

More importantly, doing things remotely can give us the mistaken impression that the Church is an abstraction, a mere idea, rather than a concrete reality. If we mistakenly believe that worshipping remotely is the same thing, basically, as worshipping in person, then we’re missing out on one of the great mysteries and gifts of Christianity. In the Church, you, that is, your flesh and blood, are being incorporated (note the root of that word!) into the Body of Christ and therefore God.

Consider God for a moment. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We confess, “I believe that God has made me…” How? Did he just imagine an idea of you? No. He made you a flesh and blood thing, and used physical means. Spoiler alert for any young children who may be reading this, but there was icky, physical contact and biology involved in God’s work. Babies are not abstractions, nor are they begotten in the abstract. Yet we confess that the making of every human being is/was a holy act of the Creator with eternal, spiritual ramifications.

And consider Jesus. He came in the flesh. That is of crucial (literally) importance for the faith. There is no Jesus apart from flesh and blood. God became a Man. We don’t put our trust in the abstract idea of God being nice and loving and merciful. We put our faith in the concrete, fleshly manifestation of the Truth. Countless ancient heretics have tried to get around the Incarnation, the enfleshment of God, but to no avail. There is no Christianity or Church without it.

So far so good. But now consider the Holy Spirit. How does He work to create faith and give us new life? In purely spiritual ways unconnected to the flesh? No! He works through means. One of those means, the spoken or written Word, can be communicated remotely via electronic media to flesh and blood eyes and ears. But that is not the extent of the Spirit’s activity. C.S. Lewis, in his famous book Mere Christianity expressed the gist of the idea this way:

   “And let me be clear that when Christians say the Christ-life is in them, they do not mean something simply mental or moral. When they speak of being “in Christ” or of Christ being “in them,” this is not simply a way of saying that they are thinking about Christ or copying Him. They mean that Christ is actually operating through them; that the whole mass of Christians are the physical organism through which Christ acts—that we are His fingers and muscles, the cells of His body. And perhaps this explains one or two things. It explains why this new life is spread not only by purely mental acts like belief, but by bodily acts like Baptism and Holy Communion.  It is not merely the spreading of an idea; it is more like evolution* [*meaning gradual transformation, not the theory of origins]—a biological or super-biological fact. There is no good trying to be more spiritual than God. God never meant man to be a purely spiritual creature. That is why He uses material things like bread and wine to put the new life into us. We may think this rather crude and unspiritual. God does not. He invented eating. He likes matter. He invented it.” C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity.

This is why we treat our bodies as Temples of the Holy Spirit. This is why St. Paul says any individual Christian’s sexual immorality is a sin against the whole Body of believers. This is why we put so much emphasis in funerals on the resurrection of the body, not just souls going to heaven. This is why Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in the Life Together book we went through last fall, said Christians in isolation quite rightly long for the physical presence of other Christians, who bring with them in their person the presence of Christ. This is one reason the writer to the Hebrews instructed Christians not to stop meeting together. This is a big part of the problem with Christians trying to be “spiritual but not religious.” This is the main reason we bring communion to the homebound even though they can worship regularly via some electronic format. Christians have long struggled to understand how Christ can offer us His body and blood in the Sacrament, but it has always been obvious that the real presence of our own body and blood is a prerequisite for receiving that spiritual gift.

So, again, we give thanks for the opportunity to be fed with a Service of the Word via electronic media. It is a huge blessing, especially on a temporary basis in a time of necessity. But it can never be the ideal, or even a an adequate solution in the long term. Our efforts will remain a work in progress. Every way of doing this – Facebook, Youtube, Zoom, etc.—has its pros and cons. There are copyright issues, sound quality issues, access issues (e.g. not everyone uses Facebook), etc. So please be patient as we find our way, and please help one another participate. And really participate, don’t just watch.
We look forward to the day when we can gather as God’s family in this place and receive all the gifts He has for us. Until then, let us receive the Word gratefully and resolve to be Christ to our neighbor however God enables us.

In Christ, Pastor Speckhard 
     

Well done.

What we're finding in the Facebook option is that people feel free to comment, bring prayer requests and other thoughts in real time, so we set aside a time to hear those and respond as a way to acknowledge the community beyond the sanctuary - lots of feedback.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 25, 2020, 06:19:26 PM
They (Mark, Luke, Paul) didn't hear it (the part about forgiveness) - didn't hear it from whom?


Steven said that God said it, so they didn't hear it from God from that point of view.


From my point of view, they didn't hear it from the oral tradition that they used to write their gospels.

Quote
"Matthew added it" as in, Matthew included in his writing a detail the others did not, or Matthew added it as in there was nothing actually said about forgiveness during the historical event, and so Matthew added it as an embellishment/explanation/narrative license in order to emphasize forgiveness?


Assuming that Matthew had a copy of Mark when he wrote his gospel, as I do; then, yes, "Matthew added it" to the tradition that he had. If it were part of the oral tradition handed down from the time of Jesus, it would have been part of the other accounts of the words of institution.


What explanation do you give for why Mark, Luke, and Paul do not mention "forgiveness of sins"? (Were you even aware that they don't mention it before this discussion?)


To be clear, this is a discussion about biblical exegesis; not about the benefits of the sacrament, that include forgiveness of sins as our confessions state.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: readselerttoo on March 25, 2020, 07:12:00 PM

The emphasis that Pr. Stoffregen brings that Communion is communal is salutary. We are brought together in one body in the meal. That is, I think, part of the reason that Lutherans rejected the private communions of priests celebrating the Mass for themselves alone. It is also part of why I am quite dubious of the remote consecrations of individuals or families having their own communion with a recorded or live streamed consecration over the TV or computer.


Where I disagree with Pr. Stoffregen is that he seems to not consider unity of faith to be a part of our unity in Christ. Communion is to be communal, but belief is apparently to him quite individualistic. Everybody can believe whatever and however they please and that is fine. Perhaps there is some minimal belief formula that all should adhere to, such as the Apostles' or Nicene Creeds (but not, heaven forfend, the Athanasian Creed), but unity of faith is not needed or perhaps even desired.


There is not unity of belief between Pr. Stoffregen and I, and I suspect most of Missouri Synod. Despite pointing to the fellowship that was at one time in place between the ALC (of which he was a part) and the LCMS, since discontinued and ultimately void since the ALC no long exists, that we both have some sort of formal subscription to the Creeds and Lutheran Confessions (although that common subscription is quite limited since he really dislikes the Athanasian Creed and limits his subscription to the Formula) he himself has claimed that the typical faith of Missouri Synod is different from his since he believes that we have departed from the true Gospel faith and become legalistic. Whether or not we have forfeited the Gospel and become legalists is a topic for another discussion on another day. But the fact remains that even in Pr. Stoffregen's comments, we are not unified in faith. We believe that matters.


So, is what people believe truly something of indifference, something that doesn't matter? We believe that it does matter.

Part of this seems to fall under the category of the close-d communion and open communion issue.  Individuals believe and corporate confession of faith testifies to the unity that is shared by individual believers as they assembly for word and sacrament.  The older confessions (ie. Nicea, etc.) as originally presented began with the words:  "We believe..." and not " I believe).  Although I suspect that each person baptized would have given a personal confession of their belief.   The Formula of Concord presents the affirmative statements as "We believe, teach and confess..." which again testifies to the unity of the gathered fellowship as it publicly confesses the Gospel.

Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 25, 2020, 08:13:04 PM
Part of this seems to fall under the category of the close-d communion and open communion issue.  Individuals believe and corporate confession of faith testifies to the unity that is shared by individual believers as they assembly for word and sacrament.  The older confessions (ie. Nicea, etc.) as originally presented began with the words:  "We believe..." and not " I believe).  Although I suspect that each person baptized would have given a personal confession of their belief.   The Formula of Concord presents the affirmative statements as "We believe, teach and confess..." which again testifies to the unity of the gathered fellowship as it publicly confesses the Gospel.


I applaud the LCMS's emphasis on unity of faith. It captures some of the corporate nature of the sacrament that I think Paul is talking about. However, I disagree that the sacrament is only a sign of our unity; that agreement of faith needs to happen before receiving the sacrament together. Just as the words "This is …" transforms bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, so also the words, "We are one body" (1 Cor 10:17) transforms the gathered people into one body. The image given in the Didache is of wheat that is gathered from many different places comes together into one loaf of bread, so we who come from many different places come together as one body. (One could say the same thing about many different grapes coming together for the wine in the cup.)


While the original Greek of the Nicene Creed has "We believe" (Πιστεύομεν εἱς ἕνα θεόν,) the Latin version has "I believe" (Credo in unum Deum).


While the Confessions are about what "we, believe, and teach," that is a human unity created by agreeing with what's in the Confessions. I believe that the unity that God creates and gives us is broader: it is like the many different parts of a human body. The foot is not the same as the ear. A skin cell is not the same as a heart cell. Yet, with all the thousands of different parts, we are one body - able to live and breath and move and think and act. That's the image Paul gives of the church.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: readselerttoo on March 25, 2020, 08:47:38 PM
Part of this seems to fall under the category of the close-d communion and open communion issue.  Individuals believe and corporate confession of faith testifies to the unity that is shared by individual believers as they assembly for word and sacrament.  The older confessions (ie. Nicea, etc.) as originally presented began with the words:  "We believe..." and not " I believe).  Although I suspect that each person baptized would have given a personal confession of their belief.   The Formula of Concord presents the affirmative statements as "We believe, teach and confess..." which again testifies to the unity of the gathered fellowship as it publicly confesses the Gospel.


I applaud the LCMS's emphasis on unity of faith. It captures some of the corporate nature of the sacrament that I think Paul is talking about. However, I disagree that the sacrament is only a sign of our unity; that agreement of faith needs to happen before receiving the sacrament together. Just as the words "This is …" transforms bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, so also the words, "We are one body" (1 Cor 10:17) transforms the gathered people into one body. The image given in the Didache is of wheat that is gathered from many different places comes together into one loaf of bread, so we who come from many different places come together as one body. (One could say the same thing about many different grapes coming together for the wine in the cup.)


While the original Greek of the Nicene Creed has "We believe" (Πιστεύομεν εἱς ἕνα θεόν,) the Latin version has "I believe" (Credo in unum Deum).


While the Confessions are about what "we, believe, and teach," that is a human unity created by agreeing with what's in the Confessions. I believe that the unity that God creates and gives us is broader: it is like the many different parts of a human body. The foot is not the same as the ear. A skin cell is not the same as a heart cell. Yet, with all the thousands of different parts, we are one body - able to live and breath and move and think and act. That's the image Paul gives of the church.

The statement from the Formula of Concord is not simply that we believe and teach (as that also is what "we" do.)  But to omit the act of confession in those phrases indicates a lack of understanding as to why confessing is unique and as important as believing and teaching.  The act of confessing in a public manner brings out the kerygmatic and proclamatory aspect of belief (belief which is fundamentally an interior act before God), and teaching the content of faith in the doctinal elements eg. the Small Catechism.  Confessing comes from the Greek word meaning same-saying or same-word.  Homologia (confession) of faith means that as we confess faith in God,  God is at the same time making a confession and affirmation of his people under the Gospel.  "We believe in God"..."God believes in us".    Similarly in the confession of sin we confess that we are sinners alone before God as God same-says that back to us ie. that God recognizes us as sinners and the way toward truth is open for us before God in light of Christ's death and resurrection for his people.  Remember the unity that is spoken of here is not just the unity between members of the church but also unity of the members with their head, Christ (Christ is head of His Body which is the Church).  So in some sense the unity of faith which is played up in the LCMS adds a dimension which ELCA seems to lack evidentially, imo.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on March 25, 2020, 08:58:51 PM

Steven indicated that what Matthew wrote are: "God said it." If that's what God said in the Upper Room, why didn't Mark, Luke, or Paul also report those words from God? One suggestion, they didn't hear it. That's why they didn't record it like Matthew.

The other option is that Matthew added it, since forgiveness within the community is one of his emphases, e.g., Matthew 18.

On what basis to you argue (and then base your further arguments) that there are only these 2 options? 

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 26, 2020, 02:52:03 AM

Steven indicated that what Matthew wrote are: "God said it." If that's what God said in the Upper Room, why didn't Mark, Luke, or Paul also report those words from God? One suggestion, they didn't hear it. That's why they didn't record it like Matthew.

The other option is that Matthew added it, since forgiveness within the community is one of his emphases, e.g., Matthew 18.

On what basis to you argue (and then base your further arguments) that there are only these 2 options? 


Because I've not heard of others (that made any logical sense to me). I asked for other explanations of why the three do not talk about forgiveness of sins. I don't recall any others being posted.


I suspect that you would present the opinion that Matthew was written first and he has an accurate presentation of the Upper Room words; but that doesn't explain why the others do not have it.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Keith Falk on March 26, 2020, 10:48:00 AM
They (Mark, Luke, Paul) didn't hear it (the part about forgiveness) - didn't hear it from whom?


Steven said that God said it, so they didn't hear it from God from that point of view.


From my point of view, they didn't hear it from the oral tradition that they used to write their gospels.

Quote
"Matthew added it" as in, Matthew included in his writing a detail the others did not, or Matthew added it as in there was nothing actually said about forgiveness during the historical event, and so Matthew added it as an embellishment/explanation/narrative license in order to emphasize forgiveness?


Assuming that Matthew had a copy of Mark when he wrote his gospel, as I do; then, yes, "Matthew added it" to the tradition that he had. If it were part of the oral tradition handed down from the time of Jesus, it would have been part of the other accounts of the words of institution.


What explanation do you give for why Mark, Luke, and Paul do not mention "forgiveness of sins"? (Were you even aware that they don't mention it before this discussion?)


To be clear, this is a discussion about biblical exegesis; not about the benefits of the sacrament, that include forgiveness of sins as our confessions state.


Why does it need to be explained why they didn't include it?  It seems to strain credulity that every writer of the events of the life of Jesus would include each and every detail.  John even addresses that in his Gospel.


As to the parenthetical, yes, Brian, I was aware of the differences of the account of the institution of the Lord's Supper.  Every single year I taught First Communion, we read through the telling of the story and talk about it - including the similarities and differences.  Quite frankly, it is an insulting question to ask of another Lutheran pastor.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on March 26, 2020, 01:06:11 PM

Steven indicated that what Matthew wrote are: "God said it." If that's what God said in the Upper Room, why didn't Mark, Luke, or Paul also report those words from God? One suggestion, they didn't hear it. That's why they didn't record it like Matthew.

The other option is that Matthew added it, since forgiveness within the community is one of his emphases, e.g., Matthew 18.

On what basis to you argue (and then base your further arguments) that there are only these 2 options? 

Because I've not heard of others (that made any logical sense to me). I asked for other explanations of why the three do not talk about forgiveness of sins. I don't recall any others being posted.

I suspect that you would present the opinion that Matthew was written first and he has an accurate presentation of the Upper Room words; but that doesn't explain why the others do not have it.

Well, that's one possibility.  And the perspective that Matthew was written earliest is one that, indeed, I hold.

But an option I was thinking is that, unlike Mark, Luke, or Paul, Matthew was actually there.  Or, to put it more in tune with your perspective, "Matthew" is the only one purported to have been there.

Pastor Falk offers a couple more logical possibilities.  I can't help but note that you yourself are one who has often been quick to note (both in discussion and in your word studies) that when there are multiple witnesses to an event, rarely do they all say exactly the same thing.

I would also note that, no matter how early or late one thinks Matthew, Mark, Luke, or Paul put their Gospels/epistles to parchment (papyrus, paper, or whatever), Christians were gathering together to "do this."  You yourself know that it was typical of written accounts of that time to put down only the beginning (or "title") of some well known longer piece that was likely said in more extended, or even complete, form.  For instance, when Jesus said, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" as he hung on the Cross, many (I don't recall off the top of my head, but perhaps you yourself, and if not, I'm almost certain you have at least mentioned the possibility) hold that those in his presence at Calvary would have heard him say the entire psalm.  In the LBW's recension of Hippolytus, the Verba don't include "for the forgiveness of sins."  I daresay, though, that many worshipers "hear" it nonetheless.  As would many reading/hearing Mark, Luke, and Paul.

So that's 7 options so far.

And then, as we have seen once again
To be clear, this is a discussion about biblical exegesis; not about the benefits of the sacrament, that include forgiveness of sins as our confessions state.
there is your propensity on this forum to introduce one detail, engage in an argument around that one detail, and then deny that you were actually making a significant theological/pastoral point in the first place.  Which may explain how, though not why, you'll have 40,000 posts on this forum by the end of this week.

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 26, 2020, 01:37:17 PM

Why does it need to be explained why they didn't include it?  It seems to strain credulity that every writer of the events of the life of Jesus would include each and every detail.  John even addresses that in his Gospel.


Because that's what exegetes do.

Quote
As to the parenthetical, yes, Brian, I was aware of the differences of the account of the institution of the Lord's Supper.  Every single year I taught First Communion, we read through the telling of the story and talk about it - including the similarities and differences.  Quite frankly, it is an insulting question to ask of another Lutheran pastor.


1. I had a Lutheran pastor proudly state that he hadn't opened a commentary since he left seminary. (I was reading two new ones on the primary gospel each year.)


2. I've had other Lutheran pastor express surprise when I've pointed out that "wine" is not mentioned in any of the words of institution. There are some who do not study the biblical texts. Even more who do not do synoptic studies.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 26, 2020, 01:50:57 PM
But an option I was thinking is that, unlike Mark, Luke, or Paul, Matthew was actually there.  Or, to put it more in tune with your perspective, "Matthew" is the only one purported to have been there.


Yes, Matthew (or Levi) is the name of one the apostles who was present in the Upper Room. However, there is nothing in the Gospel of Matthew to indicate that Matthew wrote it or that it was written by one of the apostles. Paul makes a greater claim to apostolic authority than the writer of Matthew does.

Quote
Pastor Falk offers a couple more logical possibilities.  I can't help but note that you yourself are one who has often been quick to note (both in discussion and in your word studies) that when there are multiple witnesses to an event, rarely do they all say exactly the same thing.


Sure, and then we ask, "Why are they different?" Then seek to offer answers.

Quote
I would also note that, no matter how early or late one thinks Matthew, Mark, Luke, or Paul put their Gospels/epistles to parchment (papyrus, paper, or whatever), Christians were gathering together to "do this."  You yourself know that it was typical of written accounts of that time to put down only the beginning (or "title") of some well known longer piece that was likely said in more extended, or even complete, form.  For instance, when Jesus said, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" as he hung on the Cross, many (I don't recall off the top of my head, but perhaps you yourself, and if not, I'm almost certain you have at least mentioned the possibility) hold that those in his presence at Calvary would have heard him say the entire psalm.  In the LBW's recension of Hippolytus, the Verba don't include "for the forgiveness of sins."  I daresay, though, that many worshipers "hear" it nonetheless.  As would many reading/hearing Mark, Luke, and Paul.


No, I've never said that. I also don't believe that Jesus had recited the whole Psalm. "Matthew" quite often pulls OT quotes out of their contexts to make his point. "Out of Egypt I have called my son" is used by Matthew to talk about the Holy Family's journey to Egypt. However, if people were thinking of Hosea's context, it's quite different:


When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.
The more I called them, the further they went from me;
they kept sacrificing to the Baals, and they burned incense to idols. (Hosea 11:1-2, emphasis added)

Hosea is clearly talking about "Israel". I note that "him" and "son" in the first line becomes a plural "them" and "they" in the next line. I doubt that Matthew, nor anyone hearing or reading Matthew 2 would be thinking about Israel's idolatry in Egypt.

Quote
there is your propensity on this forum to introduce one detail, engage in an argument around that one detail, and then deny that you were actually making a significant theological/pastoral point in the first place.  Which may explain how, though not why, you'll have 40,000 posts on this forum by the end of this week.

Yup, I don't apologize for that. Exegesis is about little and big details looked at with as few biases as possible, which means putting aside theological and pastoral issues. For example, when exegeting the biblical versions of the Words of Institution, one should not be thinking about Luther's explanation in the Small Catechism. When preaching or teaching on Communion in Lutheran congregations, one certainly uses the Small Catechism; but that isn't exegesis.
Title: Exegesis
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on March 26, 2020, 03:13:41 PM
Exegesis is about little and big details looked at with as few biases as possible, which means putting aside theological and pastoral issues. For example, when exegeting the biblical versions of the Words of Institution, one should not be thinking about Luther's explanation in the Small Catechism. When preaching or teaching on Communion in Lutheran congregations, one certainly uses the Small Catechism; but that isn't exegesis.


I was taught biblical exegesis by Victor Gold; Robert Smith; Ev Kalin; Michael Guinan, ofm; and others at PLTS and the Graduate Theological Union.  In my library are books (read, consulted, and/or to be read) on exegesis (by their title and contents) by Hayes & Holladay, Stuart, and de Lubac and, of course, books about and of "exegesis" without that word in their title.   

Thus I always describe your work as "word studies" and never as "exegesis." 

Fraternally, Steven+
Title: Re: Exegesis
Post by: Jeremy Loesch on March 26, 2020, 03:51:41 PM
Exegesis is about little and big details looked at with as few biases as possible, which means putting aside theological and pastoral issues. For example, when exegeting the biblical versions of the Words of Institution, one should not be thinking about Luther's explanation in the Small Catechism. When preaching or teaching on Communion in Lutheran congregations, one certainly uses the Small Catechism; but that isn't exegesis.


I was taught biblical exegesis by Victor Gold; Robert Smith; Ev Kalin; Michael Guinan, ofm; and others at PLTS and the Graduate Theological Union.  In my library are books (read, consulted, and/or to be read) on exegesis (by their title and contents) by Hayes & Holladay, Stuart, and de Lubac and, of course, books about and of "exegesis" without that word in their title.   

Thus I always describe your work as "word studies" and never as "exegesis." 

Fraternally, Steven+

That's a good way of describing it Steven.  Brian's way of exegesis is not like any other way I've really seen.  It's exegesis with no Jesus.

Jeremy
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: peter_speckhard on March 26, 2020, 03:56:41 PM
Here is my daily update for those who have been following it.

Dear St. Paul’s family,

I hope you were able to participate in the Service of Prayer and Preaching for our Lenten service last night. There were a few unexpected delays, and we understand that we need to change how we do the sound, but every first effort is a learning experience. We hope to be able to live-stream starting next week, and also make recordings of the services available on the website. Thanks for your patience as we all figure this out together. More on patience below!

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Gal. 5:22-23

Times like these put everything to the test, but also provide plenty of opportunity for the fruit of the Spirit to shine like a beacon in a storm. There can be laws about all kind of things. There can be good laws and bad laws, annoying laws and critically necessary laws. But it is impossible for anyone to mandate that you be hateful, joyless, angry, impatient, mean, immoral, faithless, harsh, or irresponsible. How we respond to tough times is up to us, and by pointing us to Christ and building us up in faith, the Holy Spirit enables and empowers to respond with the fruit of the Spirit.

Of course we fail. That’s why forgiveness is at the heart and soul of what makes us God’s family. But we never stop trying to be what God called us to be in Holy Baptism, children of God worthy of His Name. Today provides you with a veritable smorgasbord of opportunities to let your light shine. Don’t read it today as condemnation or let it remind you of your failures; that’s for another time. Today, remember Christ’s forgiveness, and use that list simply as encouragement—God is with you, and this is what He is helping you to be. 

We could look at any of the things in St. Paul’s list from Galatians and see how this pandemic is making them harder but also more important. It harder to be filled with joy, for example, when everything seems to be going wrong. But precisely for that reason, joy is a more important thing than ever to experience and spread. Peace, too, can be hard to come by, when the news is filled with bitter political wrangling and there is so much uncertainty and fear. People at peace with God can be at peace in times of distress, and just by having that peace end up sharing it with their neighbor; joy and peace are more contagious than any virus. And we could go on to  make the same point about all nine items in St. Paul’s list.

I want to focus today, however, mostly on patience, and I want to speak especially to and about those who are living alone. Patience is always one of the hardest things for people because it is so easy to recommend and so hard to accept the recommendation. Even authors of fiction admit that the weight of time on a character is an almost impossible thing to convey to the reader. Something we can endure easily for a day, or a week, easily becomes unendurable when it just goes on and on. And one such burden that time makes exponentially worse is isolation.

There is a reason extended solitary confinement is considered a human rights violation even for prisoners of war. In some cases it rises to the level of torture. Being bereft of human company is the very first thing that God said wasn’t good even in Eden. “It is not good for the man to be alone.” We aren’t designed to live apart. Therefore, we all need to be aware that the burden of having to be patience is not something spread evenly among our members. For some of us, quarantine is a very bearable disruption. For others of us, every day is a marathon.

Please be mindful of that fact. We might not be able physically be together. But we need everyone in our community to know that we are in this together. Personal phone calls, emails, text messages, even (perhaps especially) nice hand-written cards sent through the mail, need to keep us connected.
If you are feeling lonely and isolated, please know that you are not forgotten—not by God, not by His Church. We all acknowledge that not everyone can understand what you’re going through, but we all want you to know that you are not alone. It can sound hollow when people say to be patient, but let God give you that patience. Be sustained by the truth that you have a loving Father and His loving family.

“If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” Gal. 5:25 I would like to offer the following challenge for today. The Bible talks about the fruit, not fruits, of the Spirit. Therefore, I think the best way of understanding the verse is to say that the fruit of the Spirit is Love. God is Love, that Love for us is in Christ, and we are connected to Christ by Spirit-inspired faith. So we walk in love. The next eight items in St. Paul’s list—joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control-- are all facets of what a loving person has and does.

So let’s practice walking by the Spirit. No, we aren’t earning the forgiveness we already have. We’re simply making a point of deliberately doing what we want to be doing even when we’re not thinking about it. Make yourself a physical list of those eight items, and find one thing you can do even in quarantine to experience and share the fruit of the Spirit. Make a point of doing something kind. Make a point of responding with gentleness to someone’s else’s anger, frustration or frayed nerves. Do the whole list merely as practice. Such practice is the burden of time turned to a positive.
Above all, stay in contact. Just as you might help someone who needs food, help someone who needs contact and togetherness, something for which a human being hungers just as much as food. People need to be reminded: You are not alone!

In Christ, Pastor Speckhard
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dave Benke on March 26, 2020, 05:32:50 PM
So let’s practice walking by the Spirit. No, we aren’t earning the forgiveness we already have. We’re simply making a point of deliberately doing what we want to be doing even when we’re not thinking about it. Make yourself a physical list of those eight items, and find one thing you can do even in quarantine to experience and share the fruit of the Spirit. Make a point of doing something kind. Make a point of responding with gentleness to someone’s else’s anger, frustration or frayed nerves. Do the whole list merely as practice.

Exactly the medicine we bring in Jesus' Name.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Mbecker on March 27, 2020, 02:41:43 AM
Some unsatisfactory solutions to the unavailability of the Sacrament have been suggested at the present time. One is that a pastor speak the words of institution from the church during a streaming service while everyone communes at home. Another is to have the pastor consecrate elements in the presence of elders or deacons who would in turn administer them to members. While the hunger and thirst for the Lord’s Supper that leads to such measures is both understandable and commendable, the solutions are nevertheless faulty.  A video streaming “consecration” with words spoken by the pastor remotely and communion elements in member homes is almost identical to an approach that the CTCR addressed in 20061in which the Commission said:  1.The Lord’s Supper was instituted by Jesus with words and actions spoken and carried out by him in the direct presence of his disciples (Matt. 26:26-28). Throughout history, the church has sought to be faithful to Christ’s practice in this regard. Pastors speak the words of institution in the presence of the assembled congregation, thereby giving assurance that we are “doing this” as our Lord has instructed us to do (Luke 22:19). Whenever the actual words and actions of the celebrant in consecrating the elements are intentionally separated (by time, distance, or technological means) from the distribution and reception, no assurance can be given that our Lord’s instructions are being heeded and that the body and blood of Christ are actually being given and received for the forgiveness of sins and the strengthening of faith (cf. fn. 15 of the CTCR’s 1983 report Theology and Practice of the Lord’s Supper [TPLS]).

Moreover, this approach turns the words spoken by the pastor from a proclamation into an incantation of sorts. This, too, was addressed by the CTCR:  2.This practice lends itself to the unscriptural notion that the body and blood of Christ in the Lord’s Supper are present by virtue of the “incantation” of the pastor in some way,  The CTCR responded to a question about DVD consecration. While there certainly are some dissimilarities 1between the question at that time and the present question about a video streaming consecration, the similarities are so strong that we are referencing the 2006 opinion extensively here. See CTCR, “Opinion on DVD Consecration (2006) at https://files.lcms.org/wl/?id=7ZiqCqGn3FiMMtQcbrcFQuPjjfn9AoMQ.
shape or form, rather than by the gracious power of Christ and his Word. “Concerning the consecration,” says the Formula of Concord, “we believe, teach, and confess that no man’s work nor the recitation of the minister effect this presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Holy Supper, but it is to be ascribed solely and alone to the almighty power of our Lord Jesus Christ” (FC Ep VII, 8; quoted in TPLS, 15). While it is true that “the regularly called and ordained pastors of the church are to officiate at the administration of Holy Communion” (TPLS, 17-18), it is only “through Christ’s word and its power”—not through the mere “sound” or “recording” of the voice of the pastor—“that Christ’s body and blood are present in the bread and wine” (TPLS, 14).  Novelties such as these in the practice of the Lord’s Supper will inevitably lead away from the Sacrament itself as instituted by Christ to humanly-instituted techniques by which the Sacrament is purportedly being given. Note the third point raised by the CTCR in 2006:  3.As emphasized above, the focus in our celebration of the Lord’s Supper must always be on the gracious word of Christ—the word that gives assurance to hearts weighed down by guilt, doubt and fear that the great gifts promised here are truly given and received. The Commission says: “To...insert some personal idiosyncrasy into the consecration is to detract the people’s attention from the Sacrament. The congregation’s focus is to be on Christ’s word and invitation. The celebrant is a servant to sharpen that focus” (TPLS, 15). The Lord’s Supper is intended to strengthen faith in God’s forgiving grace, a faith which counts on the Word of Christ’s promise that the bread and wine are His body and blood. To introduce doubts or uncertainty about the Sacrament negates this purpose. We can be thankful that God in His mercy has not given the Lord’s Supper as the only “means of grace.” Instead, he showers us with His grace. The Gospel is not silenced, forgiveness is proclaimed, Baptism will be administered even in emergencies, and Baptism is lived out daily by means of repentance and the new life that God’s Spirit enables us to live in any and all circumstances.

I apologize for joining this discussion late.

The CTCR's opinion here, and it is just that, an opinion, seems misguided.

The following opinion may be misguided, too, but I don't think it is.

We are in a "Grenzsituation," a limit situation. People of good faith may disagree about what is good pastoral practice in this limit situation. The Scriptures know nothing of video streaming, computers, televisions, telephones, microphones, large video monitors (like the ones popes have used when they celebrate the mass in extremely large gatherings), light bulbs, automobiles, bicycles, or viruses, for that matter. Where, in any of the accounts of the Lord's Supper, is there mention of individual cups, communion rails, a distinction between grape juice and wine, processed wafers, processed wine, processed grape juice, the plastic in which the processed wafers are packaged, the burse, the veil, the pall, the paten, the purificator, an altar--or microphones, speakers, or video monitors (as used in mega Lutheran churches)?

In this time of crisis, in which members of a congregation may very well be isolated from one another for the next year to 18 months or longer (or at least limited to groups of no more than two people in public, if we have to follow the German model), it seems to me that we need to allow for Christian freedom in the celebration of the Lord's Supper, especially on the basis of the power of the Lord's promising word and of his abiding, ubiquitous presence.

What is the real difference between a pastor consecrating bread and wine during a videotaped/recorded service, in which the faithful of that congregation are gathered in the name of the LORD and in the presence of the risen Christ and the Holy Spirit and who, in the context of the divine service in which they are participating at a distance from the pastor and the other faithful, hear Christ's word of promise that the consecrated bread and wine on the altar in their home is his very body and blood given and shed for them for the forgiveness of their sins --AND a pastor consecrating wine and bread within a modern church building, in which the faithful of that congregation are gathered in the name of the LORD and in the presence of the risen Christ and the Holy Spirit and who, in the context of the divine service in which they are participating at a distance from the pastor and the other faithful, hear Christ's word of promise that the consecrated bread and wine on the altar in their church building is his very body and blood given and shed for them for the forgiveness of sins?

There is no difference, it seems to me. The Lord's promise is sure and certain in both cases. Contrary to the CTCR's opinion, we don't "do" the Lord's Supper. The Lord does his supper. And the Lord is present wherever he "words himself" and "wills himself" to be present.  He doesn't say "how" those disciples are to be gathered in his name. Why can't the Lord's body and blood be present in the bread and wine that are consecrated via video-streaming, when the same Lord is present and acting in that space--through his word and will--as in the space of the church building in which similar bread and wine are consecrated? It seems to me that the Lord's word and promise hold true in both cases. Why not?

Every time the celebrant consecrates the elements, his or her actual words and actions of consecrating the elements are indeed separated by time and distance from the distribution and reception of those elements. It can't be any other way, even when the assembly is all gathered together in the same building. In the congregation in which I am a member, the time and distance between the consecration and the distribution (esp. on Easter Sunday) may be as much as 30 minutes and easily 100 to 150 feet. So the whole line about "no assurance" can be given that our Lord's instructions are not being heeded, etc. etc., is a bogus line of argument. When the pastor speaks our Lord's words of promise, that promise is as true for the the bread and wine on the altar of the church building as it is on the altar in the disciples' homes, when those disciples hear that divine promise in relation to that specific bread and wine. There is no doubt about the source and the referent of the Verba in both situations.

Nor does the video-streamed service need necessarily imply that the Verba spoken by the pastor are an "incantation." (BTW, that type of misunderstanding--that the pastor's words "turn" the bread and wine "into" the body and blood by means of incantation--is probably more common among the faithful than many realize, at least in the LCMS congregations I have served, but even among some ELCA students I've encountered at Valpo.) In a video-streamed service the same words and actions are spoken by the pastor in relation to the bread and wine on the altar as they are in relation to the bread and wine on the altar in the home. The body and blood of Christ are present by means of the gracious power and word of the ubiquitous Christ. The focus remains on the gracious promise of Christ. That promise is spoken by the pastor, whether the pastor is 10 feet or 10,000 feet or 10 miles removed from the elements (but still in audible range). Who among us is going to get legalistic about such distances?

In both situations, that is, in the assembly in the church building and in the assembly of those gathered remotely by technology, the words and actions of Jesus--as they are condensed in the wording used in the common service (which wording is not identical to the wording/actions in the Scriptural accounts; these accounts themselves do not agree with one another in all details)--are indeed spoken and carried out in the direct presence of the Lord's disciples. The Lord is present to his disciples, whether those disciples are gathered in a church building, sitting in pews and participating at a distance from other believers in the room, or whether they are gathered in their homes, sitting in front of their computer screens or tvs and participating at a distance from other believers across town. The risen Christ is ubiquitous. His word and promise are just as valid and powerful when spoken among those gathered for the divine service in an assembly of the congregation, sitting in pews (but still separated from one another and coming to the altar at differing times and distances) as when they are spoken through the internet among those gathered for the divine service through a special streaming service. The people are still separated from the pastor in both situations, regardless of distance. What counts is that Christ is speaking in the divine service. What counts is that Christ is the one who is promising that his body and blood are given in the sacrament for the forgiveness of sins. And Christ is present everywhere his word of promise is spoken. "Wherever two or three are gathered in my name...." What is the real difference between the "two or three" gathered in the name of Christ in a physical church building and the two or three who are gathered in the name of Christ via a live streaming service? Why limit the presence of Christ to the presence of the pastor who speaks the words of institution before an assembly of people who are in the same building? If it is the word, power, and promise of the ubiquitous Christ that counts, there really should be no problem with a regularized live-streaming divine service of word and sacrament. The risen and ascended Christ is in the direct presence of those who are physically in the presence of the pastor. The risen Christ is also in the direct presence of those who are participating in the divine service via video-streaming and communing at home. We are being faithful to the words and practice of the Lord when we focus on his promising words, "given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins." We should not get bent out of shape about the modern means by which those words can be spoken and assured to the believers who must distance themselves further than they would normally do in a regular divine service in a church building. (What is the real difference between a pastor speaking the Verba through a microphone/speaker to a huge congregation of 10000s and a pastor who does the same through the microphone/speaker of a computer screen? In a video-streaming service, the congregation is still "assembled," still "present" by means of the modern technology, but nevertheless assembled at a greater distance from each other than would be the case in a normal church building, under normal circumstances.

More could be said, but that would be my basic response to this CTCR opinion.

While I favor the ancient custom of deacons or elders taking the consecrated elements to the faithful who are unable to receive them in the assembly, and would prefer that practice to the one I have suggested above, it seems to me that even that practice may be problematic in this time of severe pandemic, especially if we have to limit our contact with one another along the lines that the German government has mandated. It could be that congregations throughout the world would simply terminate all corporate worship (with or without the Eucharist) until this pandemic is over (hopefully within the next 18-24 months or so). Barring that extreme measure, I would not fault or criticize a congregation that adopted a Eucharistic practice such as the one I suggest above.

Matt Becker
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dave Benke on March 27, 2020, 08:44:46 AM
Thanks for your thoughtful response, Matt.  I agree with the critique of the CTCR paper in several major ways.  Your semi-final thought about the consecrated Meal being taken by deacons, elders, pastor to the faithful is rebutted in no substantial way by the CTCR - it's just, in their theological view, not our custom.  Except that in the history of the Church catholic, it has been and is our custom.  So I'm with you on that preference. 

Secondly, the argument against "incantation" seems to me flawed, and yet became a central point to the CTCR.  You point out those flaws.

I am trying to wrap my head around the time-frame of our mandatory separation from others and what it does to the Body of Christ down the line several years.  This is a boundary/border/Grenz situation, to be sure.  And my current thought process is that if reception of the Eucharist through elements consecrated at home becomes regularized, what is imperiled is the Scriptural imperative "not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together."  That, it seems to me Scripturally, means face to face assembling.  In person.  That boundary would be broken, for many permanently, and like Humpty Dumpty we wouldn't be put back together again.  Think of the Church under trial and persecution through the centuries.  The gatherings of Christians in person, which imperiled their safety, became critical to the perseverance of the faith in those countries/areas.

In a hierarchical system, of course, it could be put back together again by fiat.  Maybe.  In most non-hierarchical (Protestant) systems, the faithful, whether old and infirm or younger and on the move, could well say "it's a lot less hassle for me just to look in for a half hour and take my communion at home.  Thanks for breaking the boundary of in person worship."  Once we can come back together, many will exhale and go back to their favored habit of fellowship in Christian community.  I'm in such a place.  Man, we miss one another.  But many others will be cautious, real cautious, and still take a viewing seat at home on their own time as the services are archived online.  The new habit, if enabled further by distance Eucharist, could well become imbedded.  And the way the Church is Church would be changed not for a time but permanently.  I'm not thinking that's a good idea, based on looking at a couple thousand years of Church experience.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: peter_speckhard on March 27, 2020, 09:21:00 AM
But again, the issue is language and meaning, and what the pastor refers to when he says, "This is my body, etc. " In all times and places, it has at least been clear in the pastor’s own mind what he is referring to when he says, "this." That's why new elements brought out when there is a shortage need to be consecrated; even though they were in close proximity, they weren't what he was talking about when said "this" in the original consecration of the elements. That's how those assisting know what bread and wine to treat/store/dispose of as consecrated elements and which to just put back in the cupboard. Everything we do that distinguishes consecrated elements from unconsecrated elements, including the spiritual hunger that needs the former but not the latter, depends upon knowing what the word "this" is in the consecration refers to specifically, not in general.

That is not possible with live-streamed communion unless it is a two-way video in which the pastor can see who is there and what elements they're using. Replacing the pronoun with the referent (which you have to be able to do if you're making sense) would have to go something like, "Whatever bread and wine anyone watching this has in front of them at this time is my body..." But is that true? Only true for believers? On what authority do we declare that? And if we only speculate that it cold be true, it is no Sacrament and no faith trusting it. We have to be able to say definitively.

That people need comfort is certainly true. That some of those people would be comforted by thinking the bread and wine they set in front of their computer screen when they tune into any Lutheran service online thereby becomes consecrated is also true. But whether it is therefore responsible pastoral practice to assure them of such because it would comfort them is, at best, an extremely dubious proposition.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dave Benke on March 27, 2020, 10:58:03 AM
But again, the issue language and meaning, and what the pastor refers to when he says, "This is my body, etc. " In all times and places, it has at least been clear in his own mind what he is referring to when he says, "this." That's why new elements brought out when there is a shortage need to be consecrated; even though they were in close proximity, they weren't what he was talking about when said "this" in the original consecration of the elements. That's how those assisting know what bread and wine to treat/store/dispose of as consecrated elements and which to just put back in the cupboard. Everything we do that distinguishes consecrated elements from unconsecrated elements, including the spiritual hunger that needs the former but not the latter, depend upon knowing what the word "this" is in the consecration refers to specifically, not in general.

That is not possible with live-streamed communion unless it is a two-way video in which the pastor can see who is there and what elements they're using. Replacing the pronoun with the referent (which you have to be able to do if you're making sense) would have to go something like, "Whatever bread and wine anyone watching this has in front of them at this time is my body..." But is that true? Only true for believers? On what authority do we declare that? And if we only speculate that it cold be true, it is no Sacrament and no faith trusting it. We have to be able to say definitively.

That people need comfort is certainly true. That some of those people would be comforted by thinking the bread and wine they set in front of their computer screen when they tune into any Lutheran service online thereby becomes consecrated is also true. But whether it is therefore responsible pastoral practice to assure them of such because it would comfort them is, at best, an extremely dubious proposition.

I agree with what you're saying, Peter.  The practice of setting aside "reserved" elements for distribution and extension of the Meal by those chosen to do such and to receive such has probably 18 centuries of continuous practice by the Church catholic.   I don't see the same thing at all when it comes to another cup/chalice/glass and another bread being consecrated at another place at the same time for individual or family use.  That's de novo, at least to me. 

I think in honesty this is different in the way our two Lutheran denominations would view it.  One (LCMS) has very strict guidelines for Eucharistic participation, the other (ELCA) has by now almost no real guidelines left for Eucharistic participation.  Once the option to commune the non-baptized was opened, that in effect was the end of guidelines of any kind.  So - an underlying participation issue for the Missouri Synod for any reception not directly administered by a rostered pastor is "who got in?"  At home Eucharists can have ad hoc recipients - the Bascoms from down the block popped in and we invited them.  Uh-oh, they're Methodists.  At the same time, the ELCA home administrators would be actually encouraged to bring in anyone who showed up as a form of radical hospitality, so pretty much anyone is eligible.  In either case, there is no discrimination when it comes to administration by the person authorized to administer, which is the pastor. 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: readselerttoo on March 27, 2020, 11:18:58 AM
I’ll be transparent here.  The sacrament of Holy Baptism initiates one into the Body of Christ.  The sacrament of Holy Communion is for the baptized who are in the Body of Christ.  The ancient church practice is correct imo.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Mbecker on March 27, 2020, 11:29:50 AM
Thanks for your thoughtful response, Matt.  I agree with the critique of the CTCR paper in several major ways.  Your semi-final thought about the consecrated Meal being taken by deacons, elders, pastor to the faithful is rebutted in no substantial way by the CTCR - it's just, in their theological view, not our custom.  Except that in the history of the Church catholic, it has been and is our custom.  So I'm with you on that preference. 

Secondly, the argument against "incantation" seems to me flawed, and yet became a central point to the CTCR.  You point out those flaws.

I am trying to wrap my head around the time-frame of our mandatory separation from others and what it does to the Body of Christ down the line several years.  This is a boundary/border/Grenz situation, to be sure.  And my current thought process is that if reception of the Eucharist through elements consecrated at home becomes regularized, what is imperiled is the Scriptural imperative "not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together."  That, it seems to me Scripturally, means face to face assembling.  In person.  That boundary would be broken, for many permanently, and like Humpty Dumpty we wouldn't be put back together again.  Think of the Church under trial and persecution through the centuries.  The gatherings of Christians in person, which imperiled their safety, became critical to the perseverance of the faith in those countries/areas.

In a hierarchical system, of course, it could be put back together again by fiat.  Maybe.  In most non-hierarchical (Protestant) systems, the faithful, whether old and infirm or younger and on the move, could well say "it's a lot less hassle for me just to look in for a half hour and take my communion at home.  Thanks for breaking the boundary of in person worship."  Once we can come back together, many will exhale and go back to their favored habit of fellowship in Christian community.  I'm in such a place.  Man, we miss one another.  But many others will be cautious, real cautious, and still take a viewing seat at home on their own time as the services are archived online.  The new habit, if enabled further by distance Eucharist, could well become imbedded.  And the way the Church is Church would be changed not for a time but permanently.  I'm not thinking that's a good idea, based on looking at a couple thousand years of Church experience.

Dave Benke

Dave,
I agree completely with the further points/concerns you raise.

This pandemic is and will be an ongoing tentatio/Anfechtung for the una sancta, especially perhaps that part of it that is lazy and selfish and deeply fearful.

Last night I was simply thinking out loud in this forum, trying to test out one option for Eucharistic celebration/Holy Communion in this time of plague and enforced social distancing. What spurred me were the flawed elements in that CTCR opinion.

I was thinking, too, of the situation of a small congregation I know pretty well, whose average age must be close to 75, if not 80. Most of those folks, even some of the younger ones (and by "younger" I mean "in their late 60s"), have underlying health issues. For that matter, so do I (lung damage from 2 prior illnesses). They thirst for the sacrament of the altar in this time of tentatio and uncertainty, but they also know that gathering together for the divine service of word and sacrament at this time (and for the foreseeable future) is both (1) against the law here in Indiana; and (2) dangerous to them, to their fellow church members, to their extended families, and to the larger public. All it takes is one infected person within the assembly to put several others into potential mortal danger. Look at what happened to those folks in that Korean cult, who defied governmental orders and met for worship anyway. The elderly folks I know in that little congregation know that Korean story, and they don't want to repeat it themselves.

So I was trying to think how our adoration of the risen and glorified Christ (whose glory and person is a mysterium), our understanding and acceptance of the orthodox Christological dogmas concerning the person of Christ, and our evangelical-Lutheran understanding and practice of the Eucharist (which is informed by Luther's Alexandrian Christology and his eucharistic theology), all of which, I believe, accords with apostolic doctrine--how all of that could also accord with this exceptional, irregular option for celebrating the Eucharist in this time of trial. Put another way: how could the celebration of the Lord's Supper via a live-streamed service (or even a taped service) and reception of the so-consecrated elements at home fit with the adoration, the dogmas, etc.?

You point out a very serious potential consequence to this irregular communion practice. But could it be that just the opposite might happen? that those who commune in this manner would be strengthened in their faith and witness? to participate in a virtual fellowship for the sake of building up the body of Christ in this Grenzsituation? The Lord will continue to reveal the good things he is doing in this time of pandemic. And I think a lot of irregular church goers are experiencing this pandemic as a summons to repentance and renewed faith, but they have no opportunity for any kind of fellowship, virtual or otherwise. Maybe this new way of Eucharistic practice might deepen their faith and enliven their discipleship. Could it be that the Spirit is moving in this way today?

Then, too, I was thinking of what my son did earlier this week. On Wed. he turned 21. He was really bummed because he couldn't go out to a bar to celebrate this important personal milestone with his friends. He's stuck here at home with his mom and yours truly. So after he and I toasted a beer earlier in the evening, he went down to his room to have "a virtual birthday party" with a dozen of his friends. It was an apostolic number of celebrators, each socially distanced from the others for the sake of public health, each "present" to the others via their computers, each toasting their favorite beverage, and they had a good time, a celebration--so much so, that I had to go downstairs around 1am yesterday morning to ask him and them to bring the party to a close because I had to get up later that morning to tape a lecture for students who will now view it at their convenience via distance-learning technology.

We will need to find creative ways to be "church" in this time of social distancing. While I don't favor the option I sketched, I also don't think it necessarily contradicts our adoration of Christ, our understanding of orthodox Christological dogma, our understanding of  eucharistic theology (as informed by Luther's Christology and his theology of the Lord's Supper). I also don't think it necessarily conflicts with AC VIII and XIII. Crucial would be keeping the streamed service on a private address on Youtube or some other streaming service so that the pastor could still at least exercise some pastoral oversight and fulfill his/her calling in accordance with AC XIV.

Still thinking....

Matt Becker
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Mbecker on March 27, 2020, 12:12:09 PM
Another option might be for the pastor to tape the Eucharistic service at the altar, with a few assistants present, keeping their social distance from one another. Having disinfected their hands and wearing gloves and masks, the pastor and assistants/elders would worship according to the liturgy of the divine service. Afterwards, still gloved and masked, they would package the consecrated elements into individual packages that members would receive in their cars as they drove through the parking lot of the church building. After receiving the consecrated elements, the members would return to their homes and participate in the taped divine service. That way, the pastor could explain in the taped service that the very elements he/she had consecrated were the ones that had been distributed. These consecrated elements would be received orally at the appropriate time in the service that the members would be viewing. Spouses could commune one another. Individuals could simply self-commune. It would be important, it seems to me, that the pastor add some explanatory words at the appropriate point in the service so that the members viewing the tape and participating in the service that way would know when to commune.

(Addendum: It would be best if the pastors and assistants could be tested for the virus a day or two ahead of each communion service. That way, if the tests come back negative, then the pastor and assistants wouldn't have to wear masks during the taping of the service.)

So this is a kind of "drive through" holy communion, but it maintains continuity with the pastor's consecration of the elements at a single altar, with the ancient custom of distributing the consecrated elements to the sick and imprisoned, and it places the reception of the consecrated elements in the context of the members' adoration/participation through the taped divine service that they watch at home.

Might this be a better option?

M. Becker
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: readselerttoo on March 27, 2020, 12:23:28 PM
Another option might be for the pastor to tape the Eucharistic service at the altar, with a few assistants present, keeping their social distance from one another. Having disinfected their hands and wearing gloves and masks, the pastor and assistants/elders would worship according to the liturgy of the divine service. Afterwards, still gloved and masked, they would package the consecrated elements into individual packages that members would receive in their cars as they drove through the parking lot of the church building. After receiving the consecrated elements, the members would return to their homes and participate in the taped divine service. That way, the pastor could explain in the taped service that the very elements he/she had consecrated were the ones that had been distributed. These consecrated elements would be received orally at the appropriate time in the service that the members would be viewing. Spouses could commune one another. Individuals could simply self-commune. It would be important, it seems to me, that the pastor add some explanatory words at the appropriate point in the service so that the members viewing the tape and participating in the service that way would know when to commune.

(Addendum: It would be best if the pastors and assistants could be tested for the virus a day or two ahead of each communion service. That way, if the tests come back negative, then the pastor and assistants wouldn't have to wear masks during the taping of the service.)

So this is a kind of "drive through" holy communion, but it maintains continuity with the pastor's consecration of the elements at a single altar, with the ancient custom of distributing the consecrated elements to the sick and imprisoned, and it places the reception of the consecrated elements in the context of the members' adoration/participation through the taped divine service that they watch at home.

Might this be a better option?

M. Becker


hmmmm.  Sounds somewhat familiar:  https://docs.google.com/viewerng/viewer?url=http://shepherdlutheran.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/20200319-Drive-up-Communion.pdf&hl=en_US

However, since then there has been a re-evaluation of the procedure and I'm not sure what is next or whether this will be continuing.  From my perspective and participation it worked quite well.  But I missed the closeness which on-site communion affords.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: peter_speckhard on March 27, 2020, 12:24:00 PM
Had a zoom meeting last night with some old pastor friends, and one of them is doing something I think I might imitate. He opens the church during set hours and allows one person/household at a time (have to wait your turn in the car or narthex) to come into the sanctuary, where he does a brief communion service, including Confession/Absolution, Creed, Lord's Prayer, Institution, Distribution, Prayers, Benediction. Only takes a few minutes really. Basically, all it amounts to is doing an abbreviated shut-in visit, except instead of the pastor going around the homebound, the people come to him, but stay away from each other.

Not ideal, to be sure, but certainly no real spiritual/theological issues.   
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: readselerttoo on March 27, 2020, 12:26:06 PM
Had a zoom meeting last night with some old pastor friends, and one of them is doing something I think I might imitate. He opens the church during set hours and allows one person/household at a time (have to wait your turn in the car or narthex) to come into the sanctuary, where he does a brief communion service, including Confession/Absolution, Creed, Lord's Prayer, Institution, Distribution, Prayers, Benediction. Only takes a few minutes really. Basically, all it amounts to is doing an abbreviated shut-in visit, except instead of the pastor going around the homebound, the people come to him, but stay away from each other.

Not ideal, to be sure, but certainly no real spiritual/theological issues.   

Here is a workable solution as well.  See?  There are options. PTL.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Mbecker on March 27, 2020, 12:43:27 PM
hmmmm.  Sounds somewhat familiar:  https://docs.google.com/viewerng/viewer?url=http://shepherdlutheran.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/20200319-Drive-up-Communion.pdf&hl=en_US

However, since then there has been a re-evaluation of the procedure and I'm not sure what is next or whether this will be continuing.  From my perspective and participation it worked quite well.  But I missed the closeness which on-site communion affords.

Thanks, George. I hadn't seen that link.

What Peter describes would work well for a smaller congregation but probably not so well for a larger one.

Blessings!
Matt
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 27, 2020, 12:43:47 PM
I think in honesty this is different in the way our two Lutheran denominations would view it.  One (LCMS) has very strict guidelines for Eucharistic participation, the other (ELCA) has by now almost no real guidelines left for Eucharistic participation.  Once the option to commune the non-baptized was opened, that in effect was the end of guidelines of any kind.  So - an underlying participation issue for the Missouri Synod for any reception not directly administered by a rostered pastor is "who got in?"  At home Eucharists can have ad hoc recipients - the Bascoms from down the block popped in and we invited them.  Uh-oh, they're Methodists.  At the same time, the ELCA home administrators would be actually encouraged to bring in anyone who showed up as a form of radical hospitality, so pretty much anyone is eligible.  In either case, there is no discrimination when it comes to administration by the person authorized to administer, which is the pastor. 


To the boldfaced lines: The ELCA has very clear guidelines in The Use of the Means of Grace quoted below.

THE HOLY COMMUNION IS GIVEN TO THE BAPTIZED

Principle 37 Admission to the Sacrament is by invitation of the Lord, presented through the Church to those who are baptized.[1]

Application 37a When adults and older children are baptized, they may be communed for the first time in the service in which they are baptized. Baptismal preparation and continuing catechesis include instruction for Holy Communion.

Background 37b Customs vary on the age and circumstances for admission to the Lord’s Supper. The age for communing children continues to be discussed and reviewed in our congregations. When “A Report on the Study of Confirmation and First Communion”[2] was adopted, a majority of congregations now in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America separated confirmation and reception of Holy Communion and began inviting children to commune in the fifth grade. Since that time a number of congregations have continued to lower the age of communion, especially for school age children. Although A Statement on Communion Practices[3] precluded the communion of infants, members and congregations have become aware of this practice in some congregations of this church, in historical studies of the early centuries of the Church, in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, and in broader ecumenical discussion.

Application 37c Baptized children begin to commune on a regular basis at a time determined through mutual conversation that includes the pastor, the child, and the parents or sponsors involved, within the accepted practices of the congregation. Ordinarily this beginning will occur only when children can eat and drink, and can start to respond to the gift of Christ in the Supper.

Application 37d Infants and children may be communed for the first time during the service in which they are baptized or they may be brought to the altar during communion to receive a blessing.

Application 37e In all cases, participation in Holy Communion is accompanied by catechesis appropriate to the age of the communicant. When infants and young children are communed, the parents and sponsors receive instruction and the children are taught throughout their development.

Background 37f Catechesis, continuing throughout the life of the believer, emphasizes the sacrament as gift, given to faith by and for participation in the community. Such faith is not simply knowledge or intellectual understanding but trust in God’s promises given in the Lord’s Supper (“for you” and “for the forgiveness of sin”) for the support of the baptized.

Application 37g When an unbaptized person comes to the table seeking Christ’s presence and is inadvertently communed, neither that person nor the ministers of Communion need be ashamed. Rather, Christ’s gift of love and mercy to all is praised. That person is invited to learn the faith of the church, be baptized, and thereafter faithfully receive the Holy Communion.

[1] A Statement on Communion Practices, 1989, II.A.2.

[2] "A Report on the Study of Confirmation and First Communion by Lutheran Congregations," Joint Lutheran Commission on the Theology and Practice of Confirmation. (Philadelphia: Lutheran Church in America, 1969).

[3] A Statement on Communion Practices, 1989, II.A.2.

It is not in keeping with our guidelines to open communion to the unbaptized. Not all pastors follow our guidelines.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: peter_speckhard on March 27, 2020, 01:09:35 PM
hmmmm.  Sounds somewhat familiar:  https://docs.google.com/viewerng/viewer?url=http://shepherdlutheran.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/20200319-Drive-up-Communion.pdf&hl=en_US

However, since then there has been a re-evaluation of the procedure and I'm not sure what is next or whether this will be continuing.  From my perspective and participation it worked quite well.  But I missed the closeness which on-site communion affords.

Thanks, George. I hadn't seen that link.

What Peter describes would work well for a smaller congregation but probably not so well for a larger one.

Blessings!
Matt
Not so sure about that. The pastor doing it has a congregation with a school; not huge, but not a small congregation, either.

He also does it two people/households at a time by having them on separate sides of the sanctuary. The key is simply the time frame. It could be done via appointment or by published, open "office hours" so to speak. we have two pastors, so we could take turns. And if there are gaps with nobody there, so what? We have to sit around somewhere. We can bring books and computers into the sanctuary and do pretty much whatever we were going to be doing anyway while we wait for people to come.

Another pastor friend with a large church (800 average attendance) said he and the staff were simply calling everyone in the congregation on the phone one by one to see how they were doing. He said he found it surprising that the younger people and newer members were far more likely to pick up the phone and want to talk. The older people and long time members mostly either didn't answer or else just said they're doing fine and thanks for calling to check on them. Granted, that doesn't solve anything about Communion. But still, you can't just not do church because everyone is supposed to stay away from each other.   
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Mbecker on March 27, 2020, 01:26:12 PM
My friend and colleague Nick Denysenko, whose office is just down the hall from mine, recently wrote a piece about living without the Eucharist. FWIW. Nick is a deacon in the OCA.

https://www.praytellblog.com/index.php/2020/03/19/eucharistic-living-without-the-eucharist/

https://www.valpo.edu/academics/about-the-faculty/university-chairs/denysenko/

M. Becker
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Richard Johnson on March 27, 2020, 02:33:50 PM

It is not in keeping with our guidelines to open communion to the unbaptized. Not all pastors follow our guidelines.

Actually not very many pastors follow our guidelines. But be that as it may, when guidelines are widely not followed, they really don't amount to much, do they?
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Richard Johnson on March 27, 2020, 02:37:17 PM
Had a zoom meeting last night with some old pastor friends, and one of them is doing something I think I might imitate. He opens the church during set hours and allows one person/household at a time (have to wait your turn in the car or narthex) to come into the sanctuary, where he does a brief communion service, including Confession/Absolution, Creed, Lord's Prayer, Institution, Distribution, Prayers, Benediction. Only takes a few minutes really. Basically, all it amounts to is doing an abbreviated shut-in visit, except instead of the pastor going around the homebound, the people come to him, but stay away from each other.

Not ideal, to be sure, but certainly no real spiritual/theological issues.   

How does he maintain six foot distance between himself and the parishioners? Do they receive in both kinds?
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: peter_speckhard on March 27, 2020, 03:15:37 PM
Had a zoom meeting last night with some old pastor friends, and one of them is doing something I think I might imitate. He opens the church during set hours and allows one person/household at a time (have to wait your turn in the car or narthex) to come into the sanctuary, where he does a brief communion service, including Confession/Absolution, Creed, Lord's Prayer, Institution, Distribution, Prayers, Benediction. Only takes a few minutes really. Basically, all it amounts to is doing an abbreviated shut-in visit, except instead of the pastor going around the homebound, the people come to him, but stay away from each other.

Not ideal, to be sure, but certainly no real spiritual/theological issues.   
I think he wears a glove and reaches out to place the wafer in their hands, and simply gestures for them to take their own individual cup. I suppose he could stand back and simply gesture to the wafer, too.

How does he maintain six foot distance between himself and the parishioners? Do they receive in both kinds?
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 27, 2020, 04:57:28 PM

It is not in keeping with our guidelines to open communion to the unbaptized. Not all pastors follow our guidelines.

Actually not very many pastors follow our guidelines. But be that as it may, when guidelines are widely not followed, they really don't amount to much, do they?


I suspect that the many who do aren’t making headlines like those who don’t. We just don’t hear about what’s happening at Peace Lutheran in Grass Valley like we do about Ebenezer Lutheran in San Francisco.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dave Benke on March 27, 2020, 05:01:45 PM
I think it would be meet, right and salutary for the ECLA to take a church-wide survey of admission practice with regard to the Eucharist according to the ELCA guidelines as they've been presented.  Let's say 90% of the congregations/pastors follow them.  At least you'd know that and it would indicate the guidelines are working.  If it's 42%, then the guidelines are toast.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Charles Austin on March 27, 2020, 05:29:11 PM
My experience of nearly four decades in New Jersey would suggest that at least 90% of the congregations in New jersey followed ELCA guidelines.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 27, 2020, 06:31:04 PM
My experience of nearly four decades in New Jersey would suggest that at least 90% of the congregations in New jersey followed ELCA guidelines.


I can't speak for my present conference, since I've never been to a conference meeting (outside a caucus at synod assemblies). It's about a three hour drive one-way to where the conference meetings. Spending six hours in the car for an hour meeting didn't seem like good time management.


My last conference, where I did go to conference meeting, I would guess all ten congregations followed the guidelines. (Richard Johnson was in the same conference and has been then longer than I was. He can offer his opinion.)
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: peter_speckhard on March 27, 2020, 06:47:53 PM
The last ten years or so, though, have seen the massive switch to the Gospel of inclusivity. Congregations that might have had traditional practice a few years ago could be doing something different now.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: pastorg1@aol.com on March 27, 2020, 07:04:50 PM
Had a zoom meeting last night with some old pastor friends, and one of them is doing something I think I might imitate. He opens the church during set hours and allows one person/household at a time (have to wait your turn in the car or narthex) to come into the sanctuary, where he does a brief communion service, including Confession/Absolution, Creed, Lord's Prayer, Institution, Distribution, Prayers, Benediction. Only takes a few minutes really. Basically, all it amounts to is doing an abbreviated shut-in visit, except instead of the pastor going around the homebound, the people come to him, but stay away from each other.

Not ideal, to be sure, but certainly no real spiritual/theological issues.   

I like this idea. Showing up counts. That’s what the Incarnation is all about.

How does he maintain six foot distance between himself and the parishioners? Do they receive in both kinds?
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 27, 2020, 07:08:13 PM
The last ten years or so, though, have seen the massive switch to the Gospel of inclusivity. Congregations that might have had traditional practice a few years ago could be doing something different now.


Yes, our brand of Lutheranism has moved from the Galesburg Rule to including all the baptized at the Lord's Table. The 1978 Statement on Communion Practices (which was adopted by the ELCA in 1989) said:


Holy communion is the sacramental meal of the new people of God who are called and incorporated into the body of Christ through baptism. Whenever the sacrament is celebrated it should be open to all such people who are present and ready for admission. (II.A.1.)


I've already quoted the section in the 1997 The Use of the Means of Grace that it is for the baptized.


Where we have become more inclusive is to invite baptized children and baptized members of other denominations to commune with us. It is no longer a Meal offered to confirmed Lutherans.


The fact that some ELCA pastors may not follow the guidelines doesn't mean that we have no guidelines. Would you say that the LCMS practices open communion because some of its pastors have open communion?
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Richard Johnson on March 27, 2020, 09:15:58 PM

It is not in keeping with our guidelines to open communion to the unbaptized. Not all pastors follow our guidelines.

Actually not very many pastors follow our guidelines. But be that as it may, when guidelines are widely not followed, they really don't amount to much, do they?


I suspect that the many who do aren’t making headlines like those who don’t. We just don’t hear about what’s happening at Peace Lutheran in Grass Valley like we do about Ebenezer Lutheran in San Francisco.

Nearly every ELCA congregation in N. Calif. I've visited--including my previous one--have invited the unbaptized to participate in the Eucharist.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Richard Johnson on March 27, 2020, 09:17:05 PM
I think it would be meet, right and salutary for the ECLA to take a church-wide survey of admission practice with regard to the Eucharist according to the ELCA guidelines as they've been presented.  Let's say 90% of the congregations/pastors follow them.  At least you'd know that and it would indicate the guidelines are working.  If it's 42%, then the guidelines are toast.

Dave Benke

I agree. But I learned a couple of years back that the ELCA leadership doesn't even have a clue how many congregations offer the Eucharist weekly. They could tell you, however, how many of them use Augsburg Fortress VBS materials.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Richard Johnson on March 27, 2020, 09:19:33 PM

My last conference, where I did go to conference meeting, I would guess all ten congregations followed the guidelines. (Richard Johnson was in the same conference and has been then longer than I was. He can offer his opinion.)

It's been a very long time since you were here, Brian.

I haven't been to a conference meeting since I retired (I've thought about going once or twice, but never quite found a reason to think it was good time management to drive 30 minutes for it; well, the 30 minute drive might be better than the two hour meeting, actually, judging from the usual stated agenda). What I know about communion practices comes from attending the churches on occasion.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dan Fienen on March 27, 2020, 09:53:32 PM
I think it would be meet, right and salutary for the ECLA to take a church-wide survey of admission practice with regard to the Eucharist according to the ELCA guidelines as they've been presented.  Let's say 90% of the congregations/pastors follow them.  At least you'd know that and it would indicate the guidelines are working.  If it's 42%, then the guidelines are toast.

Dave Benke

I agree. But I learned a couple of years back that the ELCA leadership doesn't even have a clue how many congregations offer the Eucharist weekly. They could tell you, however, how many of them use Augsburg Fortress VBS materials.

Whatever is really important.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on March 27, 2020, 11:11:05 PM
I think it would be meet, right and salutary for the ECLA to take a church-wide survey of admission practice with regard to the Eucharist according to the ELCA guidelines as they've been presented.  Let's say 90% of the congregations/pastors follow them.  At least you'd know that and it would indicate the guidelines are working.  If it's 42%, then the guidelines are toast.

Dave Benke

I agree. But I learned a couple of years back that the ELCA leadership doesn't even have a clue how many congregations offer the Eucharist weekly. They could tell you, however, how many of them use Augsburg Fortress VBS materials.

Whatever is really important.

I am now 10 years removed from the ELCA, but somewhere along the line (1990-2009) I vaguely recall one annual parochial report form asking about Communion practices...it may have been on common cup vs. pouring chalice vs. individual prefilled cups; but it definitely was not about frequency of celebration.
Title: ELCA Communion Frequency
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on March 28, 2020, 01:33:40 PM

I agree. But I learned a couple of years back that the ELCA leadership doesn't even have a clue how many congregations offer the Eucharist weekly. They could tell you, however, how many of them use Augsburg Fortress VBS materials.

From the ELCA Annual Congregation Report for the year ending December 31, 2006:

40.  How often is Holy Communion celebrated as part of the Sunday worship service?  If you have more than one service, report for the one that has the largest average attendance.  Do not report weekday or Saturday communion services  (Check only one).
      _  Weekly
      _  Twice a month
      _  Twice a month plus festivals
      _  Monthly
      _  Monthly plus festivals
      _  Quarterly
      _  Other __________________

          If Holy Communion is NOT celebrated weekly at the principal worship service of
          this congregation is there another liturgy at which communion is offered weekly?
          _  Yes      _  No       _  Do not know

    When you distribute the cup, do you offer (Check all that apply):
     _  Wine            _  Juice          _  De-alcoholized wine



Granted, "not having a clue" is not necessarily equivalent to "having no relevant data."

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: ELCA Communion Frequency
Post by: Dave Benke on March 28, 2020, 03:08:14 PM

I agree. But I learned a couple of years back that the ELCA leadership doesn't even have a clue how many congregations offer the Eucharist weekly. They could tell you, however, how many of them use Augsburg Fortress VBS materials.

From the ELCA Annual Congregation Report for the year ending December 31, 2006:

40.  How often is Holy Communion celebrated as part of the Sunday worship service?  If you have more than one service, report for the one that has the largest average attendance.  Do not report weekday or Saturday communion services  (Check only one).
      _  Weekly
      _  Twice a month
      _  Twice a month plus festivals
      _  Monthly
      _  Monthly plus festivals
      _  Quarterly
      _  Other __________________

          If Holy Communion is NOT celebrated weekly at the principal worship service of
          this congregation is there another liturgy at which communion is offered weekly?
          _  Yes      _  No       _  Do not know

    When you distribute the cup, do you offer (Check all that apply):
     _  Wine            _  Juice          _  De-alcoholized wine



Granted, "not having a clue" is not necessarily equivalent to "having no relevant data."

Pax, Steven+

That's really a pretty good start, although now fourteen years old.  Another question or two on reception eligibility would be interesting additions.  Designing those questions would be a treat.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: John_Hannah on March 28, 2020, 03:22:10 PM
Did anyone ever publish the results of that ELCA survey? I wonder if the LCMS has ever done anything like that; it would be interesting.

Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: ELCA Communion Frequency
Post by: Richard Johnson on March 28, 2020, 04:01:25 PM

I agree. But I learned a couple of years back that the ELCA leadership doesn't even have a clue how many congregations offer the Eucharist weekly. They could tell you, however, how many of them use Augsburg Fortress VBS materials.

From the ELCA Annual Congregation Report for the year ending December 31, 2006:

40.  How often is Holy Communion celebrated as part of the Sunday worship service?  If you have more than one service, report for the one that has the largest average attendance.  Do not report weekday or Saturday communion services  (Check only one).
      _  Weekly
      _  Twice a month
      _  Twice a month plus festivals
      _  Monthly
      _  Monthly plus festivals
      _  Quarterly
      _  Other __________________

          If Holy Communion is NOT celebrated weekly at the principal worship service of
          this congregation is there another liturgy at which communion is offered weekly?
          _  Yes      _  No       _  Do not know

    When you distribute the cup, do you offer (Check all that apply):
     _  Wine            _  Juice          _  De-alcoholized wine



Granted, "not having a clue" is not necessarily equivalent to "having no relevant data."

Pax, Steven+

I wonder if those statistics were ever published anywhere? Oh, and then those statistics would now be 14 years old! Then there's the question of whether the current staff people even know such old statistics exist. When I asked a couple of years ago, the answer was not "We have statistics, but they are 10 years old" but "No, we don't have any statistics on that."
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on March 28, 2020, 04:09:47 PM
I am thankful to know that my memory has not faded.

On that report I responded "weekly" and "juice."
Title: Re: ELCA Communion Frequency
Post by: Chuck on March 28, 2020, 06:02:38 PM
I wonder if those statistics were ever published anywhere? Oh, and then those statistics would now be 14 years old! Then there's the question of whether the current staff people even know such old statistics exist. When I asked a couple of years ago, the answer was not "We have statistics, but they are 10 years old" but "No, we don't have any statistics on that."
Pg. 66 of the Secretary's Report
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Richard Johnson on March 28, 2020, 06:40:22 PM
Oh my gosh, Chuck, you still have that stuff around? You need to do some pruning, my friend!  ;D

But interesting that 14 years ago not quite 50% of ELCA churches offered the Eucharist weekly at the principle service. I imagine we've made some progress since then, but if this really mattered to the powers that be, we'd have more recent statistics and there would be a continuing but gentle urging in that direction.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Chuck on March 28, 2020, 07:14:06 PM
Oh my gosh, Chuck, you still have that stuff around? You need to do some pruning, my friend!  ;D

But interesting that 14 years ago not quite 50% of ELCA churches offered the Eucharist weekly at the principle service. I imagine we've made some progress since then, but if this really mattered to the powers that be, we'd have more recent statistics and there would be a continuing but gentle urging in that direction.
Heh...I have every year since 1988. I'm a stats nut, you know.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Jeremy Loesch on March 28, 2020, 10:30:01 PM
Bill Tucker, lead pastor at Concordia San Antonio (LCMS), is planning to celebrate the Lord's Supper this weekend over the internet.  He has encouraged the members of the congregation to provide their own bread and wine or grape juice, make a special home altar, and then when it is time for the Lord's Supper to be celebrated, Pastor Tucker will speak the Words of Institution and the people at their homes will repeat the words after him.  He also has provided a recipe for people to make unleavened bread if they wish.  He says that he has consulted with his church council and the Texas District president and has their approval, permission. 

I'd post a link to his 2:48 video message, but I have a heresy filter on my computer that won't allow such stuff to be viewed. 

Jeremy
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Jeremy Loesch on March 28, 2020, 10:49:54 PM
Tim Bayer, lead pastor at Our Savior in Washington State (LCMS) is doing the same thing as Concordia, San Antonio.  Get the elements, repeat the Words of Institution after the pastor says them, etc.  His video was 1:47 in length.  It was as if they were using talking points.  Pastor Bayer didn't implicate his DP in this, just the church council and the other pastors on staff.  They are all very excited, according to the video. 

This makes two congregations that will do...something.  I don't know what it is, but it won't be Holy Communion.  Maybe everything old is new again, as we return to Corinth?

Jeremy
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: readselerttoo on March 29, 2020, 12:20:11 AM
Bill Tucker, lead pastor at Concordia San Antonio (LCMS), is planning to celebrate the Lord's Supper this weekend over the internet.  He has encouraged the members of the congregation to provide their own bread and wine or grape juice, make a special home altar, and then when it is time for the Lord's Supper to be celebrated, Pastor Tucker will speak the Words of Institution and the people at their homes will repeat the words after him.  He also has provided a recipe for people to make unleavened bread if they wish.  He says that he has consulted with his church council and the Texas District president and has their approval, permission. 

I'd post a link to his 2:48 video message, but I have a heresy filter on my computer that won't allow such stuff to be viewed. 

Jeremy

https://www.concordia.cc/home

What’s so heretical about it?

Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: James J Eivan on March 29, 2020, 12:37:04 AM
Is the heresy filter available to share with fellow ALPB participants?

It would be extremely helpful  and informative to some when attempting to post on theological topics.
I heard this on a podcast the other day: "Don't listen to the President, listen to your local officials--unless you live in Texas."  ;)
I was a bit puzzled about Rev Johnson's reverence to local Texas officials until I read the the Texas DP had 'authorized virtual consecration of grape juice... now I understand  :-[
https://www.concordia.cc/home (https://www.concordia.cc/home)What’s so heretical about it?
Grape Juice ... and virtual Consecration ... but the heresy filter would have identified these problems.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Jeremy Loesch on March 29, 2020, 06:52:15 AM
The understanding of the sacrament. The understanding of church. The understanding of the ministry.

Jeremy
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on March 29, 2020, 07:43:07 AM
The understanding of the sacrament. The understanding of church. The understanding of the ministry.

Jeremy

Aye, it smacks of "sacramagic".

FYI "hocus pocus" is a contraction and blaspheming of hos est corpus meum.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dave Benke on March 29, 2020, 08:39:15 AM
I'm not involved in the supervision end of it anymore, but my counsel would be to do what has been done, which is to put out statements of advice from those in theological leadership when it comes to sacramental practice, then to have more counsel given through local supervisors to refrain from innovative sacramental practice and use this as a time for an appropriate fast.  Finally I would advise against exacerbation of the Body of Christ by hurling the heresy hunter lingo in this season.  It's a great time to reach out without touching in an online way to express concern without being vituperative.  That's what I plan to do during this week with my own concerns.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: John_Hannah on March 29, 2020, 08:53:28 AM
I'm not involved in the supervision end of it anymore, but my counsel would be to do what has been done, which is to put out statements of advice from those in theological leadership when it comes to sacramental practice, then to have more counsel given through local supervisors to refrain from innovative sacramental practice and use this as a time for an appropriate fast.  Finally I would advise against exacerbation of the Body of Christ by hurling the heresy hunter lingo in this season.  It's a great time to reach out without touching in an online way to express concern without being vituperative.  That's what I plan to do during this week with my own concerns.

Dave Benke

Good advice, Dave. There will be time later to correct. In the meantime it's good to remember that we Lutherans suffer from 300 years of sacramental neglect and sacramental distortion. Accusations and bullying will never change that; it will merely reinforce bad practice.   :)

Peace, JOHN

Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 29, 2020, 12:57:02 PM
The understanding of the sacrament. The understanding of church. The understanding of the ministry.

Jeremy

Aye, it smacks of "sacramagic".

FYI "hocus pocus" is a contraction and blaspheming of hos est corpus meum.


My dictionary says that it comes "from early 17th century: from early 17th century: from hax pax max Deus adimax, a pseudo-Latin phrase used as a magic formula by conjurors."


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hocus-pocus (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hocus-pocus) gives numerous possible origins of the phrase. It was first used as the stage name of a magician in the early 1600s.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on March 29, 2020, 01:03:03 PM
Here is how St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church In Steelton PA is combining live streaming with distribution of Communion to the “socially distanced” faithful

Quote

After Liturgy, Fr. Chris will remain with the Holy Eucharist in the Church. Deacon Bojan will serve as the doorperson to ensure there is only one family at a time entering the Church.

Faithful who would like to receive the Holy Eucharist are asked to come between the hours of 9:30AM to 1:00PM. One family will be permitted into the Church at a time to light candles, pray, and receive Holy Communion. When they exit, the next family may enter. We ask you to please wait in your vehicles until it is your turn to enter.


Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: readselerttoo on March 29, 2020, 01:27:05 PM
The practice at Concordia, San Antonio may be unusual.  But right now we are in unusual times in terms of social distancing.  I don't see the pastoral venture for a church to charge someone from a pastor to a member of a household the authority to speak the words of institution of the sacrament of Holy Communion and it not be valid.  God in Christ said it/says it and the people are fed the very body and blood of the Living Savior.  There are people who are terrified of the situation they or a loved one are living in.  Jesus' own body and blood received in faith can restore one to deep confidence and hope in  their sins being forgiven, their eternal life and salvation, as our catechism states.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Charles Austin on March 29, 2020, 04:22:40 PM
Our sins are forgiven through the spoken word, not only through the actual reception of the sacrament. I felt that strongly this morning as I watched a streamed service on television Where the absolution was clearly spoken, and there was no attempt at any kind of holy communion.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Weedon on March 29, 2020, 05:28:55 PM
https://files.lcms.org/wl/?id=F64Yu9xwsZKeXMxfXEvRCQK6EaEBgSkw
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dave Benke on March 29, 2020, 06:40:44 PM
Our sins are forgiven through the spoken word, not only through the actual reception of the sacrament. I felt that strongly this morning as I watched a streamed service on television Where are the absolution was clearly spoken, and there was no attempt at any kind of holy communion.

Yes - I think that the order of confession and absolution is received extraordinarily well in live-streaming format - we've had lots of comments on that in Brooklyn.

I added two components this morning; with the need to pray for leadership from public officials around the country, since it's a service of the Word we're adding the Pledge of Allegiance before the service begins. 

Secondly, we are encouraging everyone to bang on a pot, applaud and/or pray at 7 PM for our front line heroes in health care.  That's 20 minutes away out here.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: James J Eivan on March 30, 2020, 01:44:47 AM
I'm not involved in the supervision end of it anymore, but my counsel would be to do what has been done, which is to put out statements of advice from those in theological leadership when it comes to sacramental practice, then to have more counsel given through local supervisors to refrain from innovative sacramental practice and use this as a time for an appropriate fast.  Finally I would advise against exacerbation of the Body of Christ by hurling the heresy hunter lingo in this season.  It's a great time to reach out without touching in an online way to express concern without being vituperative.  That's what I plan to do during this week with my own concerns.

Dave Benke
Good advice, Dave. There will be time later to correct. In the meantime it's good to remember that we Lutherans suffer from 300 years of sacramental neglect and sacramental distortion. Accusations and bullying will never change that; it will merely reinforce bad practice.   :)

Peace, JOHN
These responses should grieve and concern the brothers and sisters of the LCMS.  A Lutherans we either ‘believe, teach, and confess’ or ‘we reject’.  I was taught that we are a synod I order that we may ‘walk together’. Indeed, a brief word study on synod yielded the following “late Middle English: via late Latin from Greek sunodos ‘meeting’, from sun- ‘together’ + hodos ‘way’.”

How is it walking together NOT to clearly condemn this clear and deliberate failure to walk together ... defying the council of the theologians chosen to aid us in our walk together as Dr. Benke aptly shared up thread ...

I just received an email from the Michigan District, LCMS, with this article written by the LCMS Commission on Theology on March 20:  Here it is -
<snip ... link provided for reference purposes>
Worth reading and discussing.


Dave Benke
After reading Dr. Benke’s post linked to above, it appeared that the issue was adequately addresses by those we, walking TOGETHER as a synod, chose to lead in a situation such as this.


It evident that not only a pastor who is an actual signing member of synod is NOT walking together, but also a district president (a position designated to be an extension of the synodical president) ... one who should represent ‘synod in place of the synodical president’ is not only not walking TOGETHER ... but also failing to be ‘synod in that place’ by representing synod’s current position in this matter.


It’s rather confusing and confounding that Dr Benke’s statement “refrain from innovative sacramental practice” ... then to castigate the condemnation of such practice with terms such as ‘exacerbation’, ‘heresy hunter lingo’, and ‘vituperative’. This pastor’s, congregation’s, district president’s actions are a public offense to those who have taken seriously the pledge to ‘walk together’. Rev Hannah’s bullying accusation are symptomatic of ignoring the problem by name calling/slandering those who are willing to call a spade a spade in place of substantively addressing the problem. Tragically, as my confirming pastor (now retired) lamented on numerous occasions, many of the pastors of today are a law into themselves ... doing whatever they da&% well please ... each a god unto themselves. This pastor had many years to question the ruling Dr, Benke’s post referenced ... but chose either not to or to deliberately defy a long stand decision and practice ... again a law and god unto himself.Perhaps a explanation of ‘300 years of sacramental neglect and sacramental distortion’ is on order since the statement as it written is nothing but a vague generality with little or no content and meaning.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: James J Eivan on March 30, 2020, 02:44:24 AM
Our sins are forgiven through the spoken word, not only through the actual reception of the sacrament. I felt that strongly this morning as I watched a streamed service on television Where the absolution was clearly spoken, and there was no attempt at any kind of holy communion.
I heartily agree with Rev Austin with one clarification I think Rev Austin will agree with with ... The absolution clearly spoken is a FACT ... whether strongly felt as in Rev Austin's case or received with no feeling by one who believes the words and promises of God despite mourning the loss of a love one or being in the depths of depression.


God's forgiveness depends on HIS Word and Will, not our feelings. Thank God for the gift of the Holy Spirit who enables to believe and trust those forgiving words.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: therevbrucefoster on March 30, 2020, 07:18:33 AM
James Evans explication of the meaning of the word Synod is entirely correct. But there are always two challenges with that meaning. Is "walking together" the same as "goose stepping"? Just look at the fracturing of the Synod Conference and continuing division of WELS and LCMS not to mention a horde of micro-Synods. Ironically in the LCMS there are plenty of pastors to the right of center who practice all kinds of dissent from LCMS practice and teaching. Walking together is a metaphor not a guide to church discipline. The devil and the meaning will be in the details. Second, "signing on" to the promise to walk together is done at ordination. It isn't a promise to agree with every press release from either the Purple Palace or Higgins Rd. I "signed on" to "walk together" with the ALC in 1976. I would gladly today make that same promise to the church represented by David Preus, Gehardt Forde, James Nestigen, Roy Harrisville. That church no longer exists. They have walked away from me. If they would wish to expel me for not changing with them so be it. The usual tactic is simply to ignore people like myself knowing that we will soon be dead. They are careful to make sure none of my ilk are let in now. Then again that is not a very hard job because why would any intelligent person seek ordination in a church body that in practice is untethered from the Lutheran tradition. Yes the great defenders of the new order will immediately chime in that the ELCA represents Lutheran theology at its best, empty hell, ethically sourced porn and BDS and all. I disagree and humbly acknowledge that I no longer "walk together."
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Jeremy Loesch on March 30, 2020, 10:05:13 AM
Good comments on the meaning of Synod.  One way that I explain it is "unity" more than "uniformity"  Sometimes the two terms are the same; sometimes they aren't.  It is my perspective that the LCMS is doing a pretty good job on focusing on unity.  Yes, there are the outlying factions that would sharply disagree, but the administration has made statements saying that they are not interesting in the goose-stepping rigid uniformity that most outsiders automatically assume about Missouri.  Usually this is in regards to worship, and that "everyone has to do the same thing", but I don't think people have been listening very closely.  The concern isn't about the form of worship; the concern is over the shape of worship.  And there are some LCMS churches that have radically altered the shape of worship- no lectionary, periodic confession and absolution, periodic usage of a Creed being the most egregious.  LCMS churches that do those some or all of those things are breaking uniformity, which is also a breaking of unity.   

In this particular case of online communion/virtual communion, the actions aren't simply breaking uniformity, they are breaking unity.  But I don't think the folks at Concordia San Antonio have anything to worry about.  Because they are Concordia San Antonio and no one else is.  There is a caste system in the LCMS, albeit in reverse, and they are in the "untouchable" zone. 

Jeremy
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: peter_speckhard on March 30, 2020, 10:34:23 AM
I do think it is important that we do not take up the disagreement in the time of crisis, in the heat of the battle, so to speak, as long as everyone understands that these things must be taken up with all seriousness when things settle down. They can't just be acknowledged in some token way and then shrugged off with, "Hey, it was an extraordinary circumstance, and the time has come to move on, why bring up divisive things when there is no reason for it right now, etc."

In the internet era, there is no "contextual" difference. People watch your services from all around the the country and world. Everything an LCMS congregation does is thereby, in real time, declared to all LCMS people, in and out of that context, to be acceptable LCMS practice. I've already gotten emails about yesterday; "Hey, I saw one congregation just did communion with everyone in their houses. Why can't we do that?" That leaves me in the position of either saying we can (which isn't true), or those people were wrong to do that (but again, this isn't the time to focus on that kind of problem with so much else that is pressing and extraordinary going on), or that we could do that but we aren't going to, just because. That puts me in a tough position, all so that people in San Antonio or this or that other place don't have to do what virtually everyone else is doing, which is making do with services of the Word and/or individual rather than corporate communion.

This dynamic is key to the LCMS. People treat it as the church. If you're doing it, you're declaring it acceptable practice in the LCMS, and you're declaring that to anyone with access to a search engine. Please bear that in mind.

In my case, I had/have a strong inclination to continue offering services to anyone who would come. But when that position feel so far into the minority, I decided it would be uncharitable, and not merely to my members who might feel obligated against their better judgment to go out despite the warnings. It would be a silent accusation against the churches in the area that closed. I'd be putting every pastor in the position of defending his decision to suspend gatherings for worship in light of the fact that St. Paul's was open. Not helpful.

So right now might not be the time to sort out all the whys and wherefores of online communion practice, although I think we've had some extremely helpful discussion of that topic in this forum. But it definitely is time to remember that context is out the window, and to make decisions bearing in mind that you're preaching/teaching/leading worship in the name of your church body for anyone and everyone. Don't do anything controversial, even if you think it could be justified. Focus on doing things that few, if any, could have any problem with.   
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dave Benke on March 30, 2020, 10:35:21 AM
Good comments on the meaning of Synod.  One way that I explain it is "unity" more than "uniformity"  Sometimes the two terms are the same; sometimes they aren't.  It is my perspective that the LCMS is doing a pretty good job on focusing on unity.  Yes, there are the outlying factions that would sharply disagree, but the administration has made statements saying that they are not interesting in the goose-stepping rigid uniformity that most outsiders automatically assume about Missouri.  Usually this is in regards to worship, and that "everyone has to do the same thing", but I don't think people have been listening very closely.  The concern isn't about the form of worship; the concern is over the shape of worship.  And there are some LCMS churches that have radically altered the shape of worship- no lectionary, periodic confession and absolution, periodic usage of a Creed being the most egregious.  LCMS churches that do those some or all of those things are breaking uniformity, which is also a breaking of unity.   

In this particular case of online communion/virtual communion, the actions aren't simply breaking uniformity, they are breaking unity.
But I don't think the folks at Concordia San Antonio have anything to worry about.  Because they are Concordia San Antonio and no one else is.  There is a caste system in the LCMS, albeit in reverse, and they are in the "untouchable" zone. 

Jeremy

I've bolded a portion of this, Jeremy.  I think what you're driving at is that the "shape" is the Ordo.  And of course I agree with that estimation in terms of unity. 

For me - and I'm in this very rare "season" now - when we leave the arena of the Divine Service and to to services of the Word, we're in another arena.  As you know, the Creed is not spoken in Matins, Morning Prayer or Vespers, there is no public confession of sin/absolution in those services either.  There are worlds of variety through the course of the history of the Church in services of the Word, some more formal, some less.  Exploring this in live-stream format has been for me a new experience, because I've always had Divine Service on Sunday only.  I think it would be wise of the LCMS to come out not just with what not to do, but encouragement as to what To do in worship in this special and critical time.

a) The Word is powerful, it is the Gospel.  Read it.  Preach it.
b) I think the desired format then includes confession and absolution.  Not mandated, not an indicator of unity breakage or adherence, but desired.
c) I think the desired format then includes the Creed.  Not mandated, not an indicator of unity breakage or adherence, but desired.
d) And the following - Invocation, Prayers including the Lord's Prayer, readings from the texts for the week (optional of course in midweek), Benediction.  And of course the sermon.
e) Lots of singing.  Lots.  Favorite songs and hymns, ones that speak to the heart.
f) Interaction with those online ins real-time.  That's an amazing opportunity - takes longer, but nobody's going anywhere anyway.  Especially in prayer time but also other times.

And no distance holy communion.  The Schmalkald Articles fourth order of Gospel - the mutual conversation/consolation of the brethren/community is what becomes evident when we're at a distance.  We can speak with/communicate with one another in that powerful way given the technology we are privileged to have today.  And for those (we have many at my place) who don't have that tech we reach out via phone at other times.  I pray the Lord's Prayer with one of our seniors every morning so she can start the day off on the right foot in a time of anxiety.

In other words, why not make this a time to share service of the Word "best practices"?  Build on what we do have going for us.  Encourage those who are tempted by novelties to do well and pastorally support and encourage with the gifts they have.

Dave Benke

Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Steven W Bohler on March 30, 2020, 11:06:21 AM
Good comments on the meaning of Synod.  One way that I explain it is "unity" more than "uniformity"  Sometimes the two terms are the same; sometimes they aren't.  It is my perspective that the LCMS is doing a pretty good job on focusing on unity.  Yes, there are the outlying factions that would sharply disagree, but the administration has made statements saying that they are not interesting in the goose-stepping rigid uniformity that most outsiders automatically assume about Missouri.  Usually this is in regards to worship, and that "everyone has to do the same thing", but I don't think people have been listening very closely.  The concern isn't about the form of worship; the concern is over the shape of worship.  And there are some LCMS churches that have radically altered the shape of worship- no lectionary, periodic confession and absolution, periodic usage of a Creed being the most egregious.  LCMS churches that do those some or all of those things are breaking uniformity, which is also a breaking of unity.   

In this particular case of online communion/virtual communion, the actions aren't simply breaking uniformity, they are breaking unity.
But I don't think the folks at Concordia San Antonio have anything to worry about.  Because they are Concordia San Antonio and no one else is.  There is a caste system in the LCMS, albeit in reverse, and they are in the "untouchable" zone. 

Jeremy

I've bolded a portion of this, Jeremy.  I think what you're driving at is that the "shape" is the Ordo.  And of course I agree with that estimation in terms of unity. 

For me - and I'm in this very rare "season" now - when we leave the arena of the Divine Service and to to services of the Word, we're in another arena.  As you know, the Creed is not spoken in Matins, Morning Prayer or Vespers, there is no public confession of sin/absolution in those services either.  There are worlds of variety through the course of the history of the Church in services of the Word, some more formal, some less.  Exploring this in live-stream format has been for me a new experience, because I've always had Divine Service on Sunday only.  I think it would be wise of the LCMS to come out not just with what not to do, but encouragement as to what To do in worship in this special and critical time.

a) The Word is powerful, it is the Gospel.  Read it.  Preach it.
b) I think the desired format then includes confession and absolution.  Not mandated, not an indicator of unity breakage or adherence, but desired.
c) I think the desired format then includes the Creed.  Not mandated, not an indicator of unity breakage or adherence, but desired.
d) And the following - Invocation, Prayers including the Lord's Prayer, readings from the texts for the week (optional of course in midweek), Benediction.  And of course the sermon.
e) Lots of singing.  Lots.  Favorite songs and hymns, ones that speak to the heart.
f) Interaction with those online ins real-time.  That's an amazing opportunity - takes longer, but nobody's going anywhere anyway.  Especially in prayer time but also other times.

And no distance holy communion.  The Schmalkald Articles fourth order of Gospel - the mutual conversation/consolation of the brethren/community is what becomes evident when we're at a distance.  We can speak with/communicate with one another in that powerful way given the technology we are privileged to have today.  And for those (we have many at my place) who don't have that tech we reach out via phone at other times.  I pray the Lord's Prayer with one of our seniors every morning so she can start the day off on the right foot in a time of anxiety.

In other words, why not make this a time to share service of the Word "best practices"?  Build on what we do have going for us.  Encourage those who are tempted by novelties to do well and pastorally support and encourage with the gifts they have.

Dave Benke

Yes!
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: James J Eivan on March 30, 2020, 11:29:05 AM
Rev Foster “They have walked away from me.”  Precisely how many in the LCMS feel ... as a child my family traveled the length and breath of the country ... always at home in whatever LCMS congregation we happened to visit ... today not so much ... friends are forced to make decisions on where to retire based on proximity to a Lutheran congregation that worships in the way they recognize.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dave Benke on March 30, 2020, 11:54:25 AM
Good comments on the meaning of Synod.  One way that I explain it is "unity" more than "uniformity"  Sometimes the two terms are the same; sometimes they aren't.  It is my perspective that the LCMS is doing a pretty good job on focusing on unity.  Yes, there are the outlying factions that would sharply disagree, but the administration has made statements saying that they are not interesting in the goose-stepping rigid uniformity that most outsiders automatically assume about Missouri.  Usually this is in regards to worship, and that "everyone has to do the same thing", but I don't think people have been listening very closely.  The concern isn't about the form of worship; the concern is over the shape of worship.  And there are some LCMS churches that have radically altered the shape of worship- no lectionary, periodic confession and absolution, periodic usage of a Creed being the most egregious.  LCMS churches that do those some or all of those things are breaking uniformity, which is also a breaking of unity.   

In this particular case of online communion/virtual communion, the actions aren't simply breaking uniformity, they are breaking unity.
But I don't think the folks at Concordia San Antonio have anything to worry about.  Because they are Concordia San Antonio and no one else is.  There is a caste system in the LCMS, albeit in reverse, and they are in the "untouchable" zone. 

Jeremy

I've bolded a portion of this, Jeremy.  I think what you're driving at is that the "shape" is the Ordo.  And of course I agree with that estimation in terms of unity. 

For me - and I'm in this very rare "season" now - when we leave the arena of the Divine Service and to to services of the Word, we're in another arena.  As you know, the Creed is not spoken in Matins, Morning Prayer or Vespers, there is no public confession of sin/absolution in those services either.  There are worlds of variety through the course of the history of the Church in services of the Word, some more formal, some less.  Exploring this in live-stream format has been for me a new experience, because I've always had Divine Service on Sunday only.  I think it would be wise of the LCMS to come out not just with what not to do, but encouragement as to what To do in worship in this special and critical time.

a) The Word is powerful, it is the Gospel.  Read it.  Preach it.
b) I think the desired format then includes confession and absolution.  Not mandated, not an indicator of unity breakage or adherence, but desired.
c) I think the desired format then includes the Creed.  Not mandated, not an indicator of unity breakage or adherence, but desired.
d) And the following - Invocation, Prayers including the Lord's Prayer, readings from the texts for the week (optional of course in midweek), Benediction.  And of course the sermon.
e) Lots of singing.  Lots.  Favorite songs and hymns, ones that speak to the heart.
f) Interaction with those online ins real-time.  That's an amazing opportunity - takes longer, but nobody's going anywhere anyway.  Especially in prayer time but also other times.

And no distance holy communion.  The Schmalkald Articles fourth order of Gospel - the mutual conversation/consolation of the brethren/community is what becomes evident when we're at a distance.  We can speak with/communicate with one another in that powerful way given the technology we are privileged to have today.  And for those (we have many at my place) who don't have that tech we reach out via phone at other times.  I pray the Lord's Prayer with one of our seniors every morning so she can start the day off on the right foot in a time of anxiety.

In other words, why not make this a time to share service of the Word "best practices"?  Build on what we do have going for us.  Encourage those who are tempted by novelties to do well and pastorally support and encourage with the gifts they have.

Dave Benke

Yes!

I was just re-reading what I said, SW, and it occurred to me that what I was describing was -  -  Page 5!  Albeit, with tech. 

Anyway, we go with the best we have from God's grace and by God's grace.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: therevbrucefoster on March 30, 2020, 01:10:12 PM
Concerning the reality of the "caste system" I know from personal experience that it exists in all Lutheran groups. Twice in my 26 years as a pastor in Door County Wisconsin, I had WELS pastors worship at my church. They worshiped with us despite the fact that there was a WELS congregation less than two miles apart. The first pastor didn't identify himself as WELS but after the service he asked me what resource I was using for an adult education offering I had announced. I said it was of my own creation but I would be happy to send him a copy. He gave me his email address. When I got ready to send it, I looked up the name of the church in the email address and discovered there was no ELCA with that name. I then looked at LCMS congregations, again blank. In unbelief I looked at WELS and bingo he was the senior pastor at a very large WELS congregation. The second case was even more extreme. The second pastor came regularly and communed. A past member of this congregation was a member of mine and he was staying with him. The two of them arranged to take the church's large youth group and choir up to Door County and stay with my members, sing at our church and all communed. The next year he brought up his whole adult choir for a concert on Saturday and worship on Sunday. No one in power in WELS could touch either of these men. They were too powerful. Now admittedly I am on the extreme conservative side of the ELCA (which isn't really very extreme these days but I am also a Seminex grad and have a PhD from Cambridge University so most people don't see me as a closet fundamentalist.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dave Benke on March 30, 2020, 01:52:48 PM
Concerning the reality of the "caste system" I know from personal experience that it exists in all Lutheran groups. Twice in my 26 years as a pastor in Door County Wisconsin, I had WELS pastors worship at my church. They worshiped with us despite the fact that there was a WELS congregation less than two miles apart. The first pastor didn't identify himself as WELS but after the service he asked me what resource I was using for an adult education offering I had announced. I said it was of my own creation but I would be happy to send him a copy. He gave me his email address. When I got ready to send it, I looked up the name of the church in the email address and discovered there was no ELCA with that name. I then looked at LCMS congregations, again blank. In unbelief I looked at WELS and bingo he was the senior pastor at a very large WELS congregation. The second case was even more extreme. The second pastor came regularly and communed. A past member of this congregation was a member of mine and he was staying with him. The two of them arranged to take the church's large youth group and choir up to Door County and stay with my members, sing at our church and all communed. The next year he brought up his whole adult choir for a concert on Saturday and worship on Sunday. No one in power in WELS could touch either of these men. They were too powerful. Now admittedly I am on the extreme conservative side of the ELCA (which isn't really very extreme these days but I am also a Seminex grad and have a PhD from Cambridge University so most people don't see me as a closet fundamentalist.

If you're a closet fundamentalist with those credentials, that would be the tightest closet ever constructed.  No room for even one more like you.

You are speaking of WELS Lutheranism in Door County.  That is the home ground of half of my family, the WELS half.  Some of their brightest and best missionaries came from that part of the WELS world; they're my cousins.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Steven W Bohler on March 30, 2020, 02:28:50 PM
Concerning the reality of the "caste system" I know from personal experience that it exists in all Lutheran groups. Twice in my 26 years as a pastor in Door County Wisconsin, I had WELS pastors worship at my church. They worshiped with us despite the fact that there was a WELS congregation less than two miles apart. The first pastor didn't identify himself as WELS but after the service he asked me what resource I was using for an adult education offering I had announced. I said it was of my own creation but I would be happy to send him a copy. He gave me his email address. When I got ready to send it, I looked up the name of the church in the email address and discovered there was no ELCA with that name. I then looked at LCMS congregations, again blank. In unbelief I looked at WELS and bingo he was the senior pastor at a very large WELS congregation. The second case was even more extreme. The second pastor came regularly and communed. A past member of this congregation was a member of mine and he was staying with him. The two of them arranged to take the church's large youth group and choir up to Door County and stay with my members, sing at our church and all communed. The next year he brought up his whole adult choir for a concert on Saturday and worship on Sunday. No one in power in WELS could touch either of these men. They were too powerful. Now admittedly I am on the extreme conservative side of the ELCA (which isn't really very extreme these days but I am also a Seminex grad and have a PhD from Cambridge University so most people don't see me as a closet fundamentalist.

Which congregation(s) did you serve in Door County?  Both my parents came from Sturgeon Bay, and I have a number of cousins still there.  My mother's side was/is WELS (St. Peter's in Sturgeon Bay) and my dad's was/is ELCA (Bayview in Sturgeon Bay).
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 30, 2020, 02:29:42 PM
I'm not involved in the supervision end of it anymore, but my counsel would be to do what has been done, which is to put out statements of advice from those in theological leadership when it comes to sacramental practice, then to have more counsel given through local supervisors to refrain from innovative sacramental practice and use this as a time for an appropriate fast.  Finally I would advise against exacerbation of the Body of Christ by hurling the heresy hunter lingo in this season.  It's a great time to reach out without touching in an online way to express concern without being vituperative.  That's what I plan to do during this week with my own concerns.

Dave Benke
Good advice, Dave. There will be time later to correct. In the meantime it's good to remember that we Lutherans suffer from 300 years of sacramental neglect and sacramental distortion. Accusations and bullying will never change that; it will merely reinforce bad practice.   :)

Peace, JOHN
These responses should grieve and concern the brothers and sisters of the LCMS.  A Lutherans we either ‘believe, teach, and confess’ or ‘we reject’.  I was taught that we are a synod I order that we may ‘walk together’. Indeed, a brief word study on synod yielded the following “late Middle English: via late Latin from Greek sunodos ‘meeting’, from sun- ‘together’ + hodos ‘way’.”

How is it walking together NOT to clearly condemn this clear and deliberate failure to walk together ... defying the council of the theologians chosen to aid us in our walk together as Dr. Benke aptly shared up thread ...


σύνοδος, as you indicate, is the combination of the words for "together" and "way" or "road". It's not a word used in the New Testament. However, the verb, συνοδεύω, is used in Acts 9:7 of the people "traveling on the same road with" Paul on his way to Damascus. A related noun, συνοδία, is used of the "group of travelers" heading back to Nazareth from Jerusalem in Luke 2:44.


The use in classical Greek literature, σύνοδος, refers to "a coming together". The "coming together" could be of people either for a positive purpose, i.e., an assembly, a meeting; or for a hostile purpose, i.e., two armies "coming together" for a battle. The "coming together" could also be of a thing and people, e.g., "coming into" money = "income."


These uses of the word group do not necessarily imply "agreement," but only close physical proximity. Those traveling on the Damascus Road or the road to Nazareth may not agree with each other. They may not even have the same destination; but at that point of time, they are on the road together heading in the same direction. Two armies coming together for battle, certainly do not agree with each other; but they are "on the road together".
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: therevbrucefoster on March 30, 2020, 02:41:36 PM
Actually I am not that sui generis. There are a fair number of Seminex graduates who chose Seminex more because we couldn't buy into LCMS theology at the time than we bought hook line and sinker into Seminex. Jerry Miller is another good example. He was class president at the time of the walkout. He later took his congregation out of the ELCA and into NALC. We are conservative by ELCA standards. It isn't just the matter of sexuality (although Nadia and others continue to amuse). The ELCA rush to various forms universalism, the easy adoption of post-modern hermeneutics, and infatuation with everything connected with "progressive" politics has alienated us. On the other hand nothing that has occurred in the last 46 years in the LCMS has changed our rejection of their theology. We support woman's ordination; we are passionate supporters of ecumenical activities among Christians; we know that we cannot be faithful to the Bible if we do not use critical tools to study it. The resolution at last year's LCMS convention affirming that six day creation was the only orthodox position for LCMS is a perfect example of why there is no siren call home. We aren't a big group, but "we few, we happy few, we band of brothers" still try to keep the faith. One little secret is that there are some of our classmates in 1974 who aren't that much different theologically but for whatever chose to stay in the LCMS.                 
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 30, 2020, 02:48:21 PM
Good comments on the meaning of Synod.  One way that I explain it is "unity" more than "uniformity"  Sometimes the two terms are the same; sometimes they aren't. 


Some years ago I was curious why the Latin translators of the Nicene Creed from Greek transliterated καθολικός rather than translate it with a Latin word, e.g., universalis. My conclusion was: they didn't have a Latin word to adequately express the meaning of καθολικός, and universalis certainly doesn't have the same sense as καθολικός. (Those who say that "catholic" means "universal" are not quite correct.) universalis comes from from uni = “one” and verto = “to turn”! seems to suggest that many different things are “turning as one” or, “going in the same direction.” The picture I get is flocks of birds or schools of fish that mysteriously know to all turn together. This is like the "uniformity" you mentioned above.


The main word in καθολικός is ὅλος meaning “whole, entire, complete.” “Whole,” also in the sense of being “safe and sound,” e.g., “healthy”.

The suffix -ικος expresses the idea of “belonging to, pertaining to, with the characteristics of.”


The prefix καθ- (from κατα-), in this case, probably serves to strengthen the meaning of ὅλος.


Thus, καθολικός would seem to express the idea that “we are indeed part of the whole.”


Talking about a whole loaf of bread (that has different ingredients) or the whole body (that has many different parts) isn’t the same as talking about universal bread or universal body. It's like I mentioned in another post about σύνοδος: just because we are on the same road together doesn't mean we are in agreement about everything.


I’m not sure that we have any word in English that adequately expresses the meaning of καθολικός, so we do what the ancients did. We transliterate the foreign word and “catholic” came into the English language.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: readselerttoo on March 30, 2020, 03:13:37 PM
Actually I am not that sui generis. There are a fair number of Seminex graduates who chose Seminex more because we couldn't buy into LCMS theology at the time than we bought hook line and sinker into Seminex. Jerry Miller is another good example. He was class president at the time of the walkout. He later took his congregation out of the ELCA and into NALC. We are conservative by ELCA standards. It isn't just the matter of sexuality (although Nadia and others continue to amuse). The ELCA rush to various forms universalism, the easy adoption of post-modern hermeneutics, and infatuation with everything connected with "progressive" politics has alienated us. On the other hand nothing that has occurred in the last 46 years in the LCMS has changed our rejection of their theology. We support woman's ordination; we are passionate supporters of ecumenical activities among Christians; we know that we cannot be faithful to the Bible if we do not use critical tools to study it. The resolution at last year's LCMS convention affirming that six day creation was the only orthodox position for LCMS is a perfect example of why there is no siren call home. We aren't a big group, but "we few, we happy few, we band of brothers" still try to keep the faith. One little secret is that there are some of our classmates in 1974 who aren't that much different theologically but for whatever chose to stay in the LCMS.               

Yes.  I have a similar experience.  Since arriving at Shepherd of the Hills (LCMS) I have connected with folks who had remained at Concordia-STL rather than walk.  I graduated from Seminex late (1984) but I also had discovered Althaus (when I was at Wartburg, Dubuque 1977-78) and then Elert via Bertram-Schroeder.  There are many today in the Texas District-LCMS who had graduated from Concordia-STL in the 1970s-80s and share with me a similar biblical hermeneutic as well as conservative Lutheran theology untainted by the political-biblical-theological which upended Seminex back then.  It was not the existential angst of what occurred at Seminex that propelled me to remain within Seminex and the AELC.  It was the completely new value that emerged in general and for me in particular that the Althaus-Elert influenced and the "systematics" department at Seminex which told me that the American churches both Lutheran and otherwise could benefit from this renewal.  I think Matt Becker might agree as his current translating of Edmund Schlink connects with this strain of thinking.  His scholarship on Schlink carries this method forward, imo.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: therevbrucefoster on March 30, 2020, 03:36:04 PM
I certainly learned a get deal from Schroeder but never became a groupie. My first two years of seminary were done at Cambridge University in a completely different environment. Also I went back for four more years of a PhD. I am hopelessly entangled in a much more broad view point. My heart and soul is committed to the confessions but I don't have a particular "rabbi" among Lutheran theologians. I learned a lot from reading Elert but I exposed to Schroeder although he rejected the evidence right in front of him that Elert was at best a passive supporter of the Third Reich and at worst a sympathetic supporter of National Socialism political agenda. The smoking gun was Elert's support for the Aryan Clause and the removal of pastors who were of Jewish ancestry. Schroeder's whole hog adoption of ELCA social policy was also off putting. But still he taught me Apology IV and for that I will always be grateful. Also he kept me from joining the LCMS in which I know I would have gone even crazier than I am in the ELCA!
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: John_Hannah on March 30, 2020, 03:40:28 PM
I have no doubt that future historians will find that SEMINEX and its associates were in reality quite conservative.   8) ;D

Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: readselerttoo on March 30, 2020, 03:40:44 PM
In addition, I wasn't as much influenced by the "horrors" of the historical-critical method of biblical interpretation back then.  That seemed to be the impetus for much of the brou-ha-ha aroused during those years.  I have always seen this method as a relative and limited way to hermeneutics, a tool which can be used and/or discarded at will.  What really was new was the opposition between a repristination of 17th century Lutheran Orthodoxy vs. a renewed appreciation for Luther/Melanchthon and the Lutheran Confessions through a practical and theoretical use of the law-Gospel hermeneutic centered in Mel's Apology IV as well as the Formula of Concord Preface, articles 1 and 10 and even Luther's Smalkald Articles.  The brou-ha-ha wasn't of much interest to me as what was coming out of post WW2 Germany.  Even the Dane Regin Prenter's work resonates here.

Today I believe Concordia-STL might have preserved some of the best from the Elert-Seminex tradition.  Certainly the Crossings community (crossings.org.) does, as it has tried to carry this on in its own way..
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: readselerttoo on March 30, 2020, 03:53:22 PM
I certainly learned a get deal from Schroeder but never became a groupie. My first two years of seminary were done at Cambridge University in a completely different environment. Also I went back for four more years of a PhD. I am hopelessly entangled in a much more broad view point. My heart and soul is committed to the confessions but I don't have a particular "rabbi" among Lutheran theologians. I learned a lot from reading Elert but I exposed to Schroeder although he rejected the evidence right in front of him that Elert was at best a passive supporter of the Third Reich and at worst a sympathetic supporter of National Socialism political agenda. The smoking gun was Elert's support for the Aryan Clause and the removal of pastors who were of Jewish ancestry. Schroeder's whole hog adoption of ELCA social policy was also off putting. But still he taught me Apology IV and for that I will always be grateful. Also he kept me from joining the LCMS in which I know I would have gone even crazier than I am in the ELCA!

You might want to check Matt Becker's comprehensive biographical summary of Elert in an article written for Lutheran Quarterly back in 2005, I believe.  If I find a link I will post but one may have to go through LQ's index for the citation.  Becker has a more updated and critical evaluation.  Much of the later scholarship on Elert directs and acknowledges a brief and early acceptance of Nazi ideology but clarifies that recently revisited sources indicate that Elert rejected and ignored much of the Aryan Paragraphs seeking to protect Jewish theological students at Erlangen.   As regent and a member of the Lutheran Church of Bavaria he preserved the university as an intact univerity with its theological department neither agreeing with the Deutsche Christen nor the Confessing Church.  If you read Elert's preface to the pamphlet Bekenntnis, Blut und Boden (1934?) you will see that he separated himself from both Hitler and the Confessing church in that politically he was prone to look back to the days of Bismarck and the ideology for hope in progess by way of a constitutional monarchy.  It is interesting how he was able to steer clear of any type of interference from the police in that he remained regent even after the war.  I don't believe Elert was ever placed under house arrest even. 
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: therevbrucefoster on March 30, 2020, 04:05:00 PM
I make no judgement on St. Louis. Three of my dear friends were professors there but are now either dead or retired. With regards to my PhD my thesis was entitled "The Impact of the Historical Critical Method on Modern British Christology." I learned a lot that demythologized the seminar-lcms debate. But more than anything else my six years in England made me a student of history. I know too much history of Biblical interpretation and the changes it has gone through to get all excited about the next new thing. I also know that between and the Bible and doctrinal formulation there is a whole lot of contingent history. Finally, I retain from the LCMS a passion for the Bible as the word of God, and rebel either against conservatives who use it only to proof text their current dogma (and by doing so gut the real meaning of the text especially with regards to the Old Testament) or progressives who buy into "critical readings" of texts. In this I am a fellow traveller with Jack Kingsbury. Jack was a member of my intern congregation that I stayed at for an extra two years because of seminex. I counted him a friend and he sat on my ordination committee at Luther when I got into the ALC. He was basically forced out of Union Theological Seminary Virginia because he refused to bow done to what we would call "identity hermeneutics" He endowed a New Testament chair at St. Louis because whatever issues he might have, he figured that they still cared about the text. So do I.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dan Fienen on March 30, 2020, 04:30:51 PM

During my seminary days I learned a bit about Historical-Critical interpretation. One book that I read was What Is Form Criticism? by Edgar V. McKnight, Fortress Press, 1969 from their Guides to Biblical Scholarship: New Testament Series. At the end of the last chapter, McKnight offers some examples of Form Criticism in action, including this analysis on pgs. 72-73 of Mark 8:27-33 by Reginald H. Fuller in his The Foundations of New Testament Christology.


Quote
This passage has several elements in it: (1) Peter's confession, (2) a command to silence, (3) a prediction of the passion, (4) a rebuke of Jesus by Peter and a rebuke of Peter by Jesus. Fuller shows that the command to silence is a typical Marcan theme, and it must be eliminated as an addition by Mark in keeping with the theme of the "Messianic Secret." The passion prediction in verse 31 must be credited to the church, and it cannot be taken as belonging originally to the passage. Verse 32 is to be credited to Mark, not to Jesus, for it forms a link between the passion prediction and the rebuke of Peter by Jesus. This leaves a pronouncement story consisting of three parts: the question of Jesus as to who they say he is; the answer of Peter, "You are the Christ"; and the pronouncement by Jesus, "Get behind me, Satan! For you are not on the side of God, but of men." Hence, Jesus rejects messiahship as "a merely human and even diabolical temptation."
(This paragraph is footnoted to Fuller, pg. 109.)


If the result of application of the Historical Critical methodology is to encourage us to take the canonical text and after application of the assured results of scholarly consensus turn it on its head and leave us with a text that denies the messiahship of Jesus, I will not enthusiastically embrace it and use it to guide my preaching to my people, especially during this Lent.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: readselerttoo on March 30, 2020, 04:34:40 PM
I make no judgement on St. Louis. Three of my dear friends were professors there but are now either dead or retired. With regards to my PhD my thesis was entitled "The Impact of the Historical Critical Method on Modern British Christology." I learned a lot that demythologized the seminar-lcms debate. But more than anything else my six years in England made me a student of history. I know too much history of Biblical interpretation and the changes it has gone through to get all excited about the next new thing. I also know that between and the Bible and doctrinal formulation there is a whole lot of contingent history. Finally, I retain from the LCMS a passion for the Bible as the word of God, and rebel either against conservatives who use it only to proof text their current dogma (and by doing so gut the real meaning of the text especially with regards to the Old Testament) or progressives who buy into "critical readings" of texts. In this I am a fellow traveller with Jack Kingsbury. Jack was a member of my intern congregation that I stayed at for an extra two years because of seminex. I counted him a friend and he sat on my ordination committee at Luther when I got into the ALC. He was basically forced out of Union Theological Seminary Virginia because he refused to bow done to what we would call "identity hermeneutics" He endowed a New Testament chair at St. Louis because whatever issues he might have, he figured that they still cared about the text. So do I.

Yes.  I would not want to pursue a degree at an American university because of the changes to a cultural identity politics esp. any discipline having to do with a study of scripture or theology, ie. at a public university.  I am no longer on the ELCA ordained roster because of much that has happened socio-politically (which has influenced the biblical hermeneutical resulting in a depotentiation of a confessionally Lutheran critique) in American Lutheranism of the ELCA kind.  I continue to build professional references with a few people, some conservative and former Seminex who continue in the ELCA, and some in this regional district of the LCMS who startingly share an empathy with the Seminex theological/hermenutical tradition.   And of course there are many on this forum whom I account as friends of a type of critical scholarship which shares in the "Erlangen" school.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: readselerttoo on March 30, 2020, 04:52:26 PM

During my seminary days I learned a bit about Historical-Critical interpretation. One book that I read was What Is Form Criticism? by Edgar V. McKnight, Fortress Press, 1969 from their Guides to Biblical Scholarship: New Testament Series. At the end of the last chapter, McKnight offers some examples of Form Criticism in action, including this analysis on pgs. 72-73 of Mark 8:27-33 by Reginald H. Fuller in his The Foundations of New Testament Christology.


Quote
This passage has several elements in it: (1) Peter's confession, (2) a command to silence, (3) a prediction of the passion, (4) a rebuke of Jesus by Peter and a rebuke of Peter by Jesus. Fuller shows that the command to silence is a typical Marcan theme, and it must be eliminated as an addition by Mark in keeping with the theme of the "Messianic Secret." The passion prediction in verse 31 must be credited to the church, and it cannot be taken as belonging originally to the passage. Verse 32 is to be credited to Mark, not to Jesus, for it forms a link between the passion prediction and the rebuke of Peter by Jesus. This leaves a pronouncement story consisting of three parts: the question of Jesus as to who they say he is; the answer of Peter, "You are the Christ"; and the pronouncement by Jesus, "Get behind me, Satan! For you are not on the side of God, but of men." Hence, Jesus rejects messiahship as "a merely human and even diabolical temptation."
(This paragraph is footnoted to Fuller, pg. 109.)


If the result of application of the Historical Critical methodology is to encourage us to take the canonical text and after application of the assured results of scholarly consensus turn it on its head and leave us with a text that denies the messiahship of Jesus, I will not enthusiastically embrace it and use it to guide my preaching to my people, especially during this Lent.

Of course since the HC method is a tool which can be discarded (HC or any method of biblical interpretation need have no supremacy because of a method's relative limited nature to a cultural era) so here in this passage it can be as well.  The author of the pamphlet seems biased toward presupposing what is considered original to the writer Mark from that which is considered central to Jesus' own words.  I suspect there is much appeal by the author to manuscript tradition, etc.  Yet how would the writer of the pamphlet know the differences anyway unless he had either super-powers to time and space or simply agree with the peer group?  Since Richard Bauckham's work on written texts, I have had much less confidence in the type of critical scholarship which seems to know which is a "Markan writer's" authority and which can be attributed to Jesus.  Why can't we trust in much if not all of what we have before us in the biblical text without a presupposition of history, even though I would recognize the limits that we have to a grounding in a particular interpretation of history.  Seems to me the risen Christ and the Holy Spirit can present God's word faithfully without all or any suspicion.

Having now read again and more closely the last of the above referenced citation about messiahship I suspect the pamphlet writer wasn't very clear in the type of messiahship being ascribed to Jesus by Peter in the passage from Mark.  From this citation it could be interpreted as a rejection of any type of messiahship period.  Or is the writer saying that in the tradition of the Pharisees or dominant Judaism at that time it was that type of messiahship Jesus was rejecting?  I suspect a crucified messiah does not bode well with a Judaism which adheres to a type of theology of glory, so to speak.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 30, 2020, 05:06:48 PM

During my seminary days I learned a bit about Historical-Critical interpretation. One book that I read was What Is Form Criticism? by Edgar V. McKnight, Fortress Press, 1969 from their Guides to Biblical Scholarship: New Testament Series. At the end of the last chapter, McKnight offers some examples of Form Criticism in action, including this analysis on pgs. 72-73 of Mark 8:27-33 by Reginald H. Fuller in his The Foundations of New Testament Christology.


Quote
This passage has several elements in it: (1) Peter's confession, (2) a command to silence, (3) a prediction of the passion, (4) a rebuke of Jesus by Peter and a rebuke of Peter by Jesus. Fuller shows that the command to silence is a typical Marcan theme, and it must be eliminated as an addition by Mark in keeping with the theme of the "Messianic Secret." The passion prediction in verse 31 must be credited to the church, and it cannot be taken as belonging originally to the passage. Verse 32 is to be credited to Mark, not to Jesus, for it forms a link between the passion prediction and the rebuke of Peter by Jesus. This leaves a pronouncement story consisting of three parts: the question of Jesus as to who they say he is; the answer of Peter, "You are the Christ"; and the pronouncement by Jesus, "Get behind me, Satan! For you are not on the side of God, but of men." Hence, Jesus rejects messiahship as "a merely human and even diabolical temptation."
(This paragraph is footnoted to Fuller, pg. 109.)


If the result of application of the Historical Critical methodology is to encourage us to take the canonical text and after application of the assured results of scholarly consensus turn it on its head and leave us with a text that denies the messiahship of Jesus, I will not enthusiastically embrace it and use it to guide my preaching to my people, especially during this Lent.


I think that Mark denies the divine-man understanding of messiah that was held by some of the people. Peter's confession followed by his rebuke of Jesus shows that even if he was right about the title of Messiah/Christ; he was mistaken by what Jesus as the Messiah would do. Suffer and die was not the common expectation of a messiah.


Before McKnight quotes Fuller's statements about Peter's confession, he writes: "'Messiah' (Greek: Christ) is an important term used by the church in interpreting the meaning of Jesus. In Jesus' day there were political and military messianic ideas in vogue among the Jews, and it is frequently asserted that Jesus divested the term 'Messiah' of its Jewish associations, 'spiritualized' it, and used it of himself." (p. 72)


I've long argued that there is nothing in the Old Testament related to the term "Messiah" that points to Jesus' suffering and death.


Whether or not Peter's confession and rebukes happened exactly as recorded or was partly a product of the early church and Mark; the message is the same. Whatever Peter's (and the Jewish) understanding was of "Messiah," Jesus didn't meet it. They crucified him because he was the wrong kind of Messiah.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: readselerttoo on March 30, 2020, 05:24:33 PM
Matthew L. Becker, "Werner Elert in Retrospect," Lutheran Quarterly 20 (Autumn 2006), 249-302.

One may find the article on line or through inter-library loan or what-have-you.  good luck

Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Richard Johnson on March 30, 2020, 07:04:03 PM
Matthew L. Becker, "Werner Elert in Retrospect," Lutheran Quarterly 20 (Autumn 2006), 249-302.

One may find the article on line or through inter-library loan or what-have-you.  good luck

Here it is.

Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dave Benke on March 30, 2020, 07:50:19 PM
I make no judgement on St. Louis. Three of my dear friends were professors there but are now either dead or retired. With regards to my PhD my thesis was entitled "The Impact of the Historical Critical Method on Modern British Christology." I learned a lot that demythologized the seminar-lcms debate. But more than anything else my six years in England made me a student of history. I know too much history of Biblical interpretation and the changes it has gone through to get all excited about the next new thing. I also know that between and the Bible and doctrinal formulation there is a whole lot of contingent history. Finally, I retain from the LCMS a passion for the Bible as the word of God, and rebel either against conservatives who use it only to proof text their current dogma (and by doing so gut the real meaning of the text especially with regards to the Old Testament) or progressives who buy into "critical readings" of texts. In this I am a fellow traveller with Jack Kingsbury. Jack was a member of my intern congregation that I stayed at for an extra two years because of seminex. I counted him a friend and he sat on my ordination committee at Luther when I got into the ALC. He was basically forced out of Union Theological Seminary Virginia because he refused to bow done to what we would call "identity hermeneutics" He endowed a New Testament chair at St. Louis because whatever issues he might have, he figured that they still cared about the text. So do I.

Yes.  I would not want to pursue a degree at an American university because of the changes to a cultural identity politics esp. any discipline having to do with a study of scripture or theology, ie. at a public university.  I am no longer on the ELCA ordained roster because of much that has happened socio-politically (which has influenced the biblical hermeneutical resulting in a depotentiation of a confessionally Lutheran critique) in American Lutheranism of the ELCA kind.  I continue to build professional references with a few people, some conservative and former Seminex who continue in the ELCA, and some in this regional district of the LCMS who startingly share an empathy with the Seminex theological/hermenutical tradition.   And of course there are many on this forum whom I account as friends of a type of critical scholarship which shares in the "Erlangen" school.

The phrase "depotentiation of a confessionally Lutheran critique" is all-time all-star level one.   I can hear Flacius going "you tryin' to depotentiate my confessional critique, bro? You canNOT depotentiate me, man!"  And then they sent him into exile.  But his points, and yours, are well taken.

Dave Benke

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: readselerttoo on March 30, 2020, 07:52:03 PM
Matthew L. Becker, "Werner Elert in Retrospect," Lutheran Quarterly 20 (Autumn 2006), 249-302.

One may find the article on line or through inter-library loan or what-have-you.  good luck

Here it is.

many thanks, Richard.   :)
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: readselerttoo on March 30, 2020, 07:53:51 PM
I make no judgement on St. Louis. Three of my dear friends were professors there but are now either dead or retired. With regards to my PhD my thesis was entitled "The Impact of the Historical Critical Method on Modern British Christology." I learned a lot that demythologized the seminar-lcms debate. But more than anything else my six years in England made me a student of history. I know too much history of Biblical interpretation and the changes it has gone through to get all excited about the next new thing. I also know that between and the Bible and doctrinal formulation there is a whole lot of contingent history. Finally, I retain from the LCMS a passion for the Bible as the word of God, and rebel either against conservatives who use it only to proof text their current dogma (and by doing so gut the real meaning of the text especially with regards to the Old Testament) or progressives who buy into "critical readings" of texts. In this I am a fellow traveller with Jack Kingsbury. Jack was a member of my intern congregation that I stayed at for an extra two years because of seminex. I counted him a friend and he sat on my ordination committee at Luther when I got into the ALC. He was basically forced out of Union Theological Seminary Virginia because he refused to bow done to what we would call "identity hermeneutics" He endowed a New Testament chair at St. Louis because whatever issues he might have, he figured that they still cared about the text. So do I.

Yes.  I would not want to pursue a degree at an American university because of the changes to a cultural identity politics esp. any discipline having to do with a study of scripture or theology, ie. at a public university.  I am no longer on the ELCA ordained roster because of much that has happened socio-politically (which has influenced the biblical hermeneutical resulting in a depotentiation of a confessionally Lutheran critique) in American Lutheranism of the ELCA kind.  I continue to build professional references with a few people, some conservative and former Seminex who continue in the ELCA, and some in this regional district of the LCMS who startingly share an empathy with the Seminex theological/hermenutical tradition.   And of course there are many on this forum whom I account as friends of a type of critical scholarship which shares in the "Erlangen" school.

The phrase "depotentiation of a confessionally Lutheran critique" is all-time all-star level one.   I can hear Flacius going "you tryin' to depotentiate my confessional critique, bro? You canNOT depotentiate me, man!"  And then they sent him into exile.  But his points, and yours, are well taken.

Dave Benke

Dave Benke


 ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: peter_speckhard on March 30, 2020, 09:16:47 PM
Which emoji best expresses, “Depotentiate this, jerk!”
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: readselerttoo on March 30, 2020, 09:24:59 PM
Which emoji best expresses, “Depotentiate this, jerk!”

heh. heh.   Has everyone on the forum learned a new word today?  lol
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dan Fienen on March 31, 2020, 10:45:21 AM

During my seminary days I learned a bit about Historical-Critical interpretation. One book that I read was What Is Form Criticism? by Edgar V. McKnight, Fortress Press, 1969 from their Guides to Biblical Scholarship: New Testament Series. At the end of the last chapter, McKnight offers some examples of Form Criticism in action, including this analysis on pgs. 72-73 of Mark 8:27-33 by Reginald H. Fuller in his The Foundations of New Testament Christology.


Quote
This passage has several elements in it: (1) Peter's confession, (2) a command to silence, (3) a prediction of the passion, (4) a rebuke of Jesus by Peter and a rebuke of Peter by Jesus. Fuller shows that the command to silence is a typical Marcan theme, and it must be eliminated as an addition by Mark in keeping with the theme of the "Messianic Secret." The passion prediction in verse 31 must be credited to the church, and it cannot be taken as belonging originally to the passage. Verse 32 is to be credited to Mark, not to Jesus, for it forms a link between the passion prediction and the rebuke of Peter by Jesus. This leaves a pronouncement story consisting of three parts: the question of Jesus as to who they say he is; the answer of Peter, "You are the Christ"; and the pronouncement by Jesus, "Get behind me, Satan! For you are not on the side of God, but of men." Hence, Jesus rejects messiahship as "a merely human and even diabolical temptation."
(This paragraph is footnoted to Fuller, pg. 109.)


If the result of application of the Historical Critical methodology is to encourage us to take the canonical text and after application of the assured results of scholarly consensus turn it on its head and leave us with a text that denies the messiahship of Jesus, I will not enthusiastically embrace it and use it to guide my preaching to my people, especially during this Lent.


I think that Mark denies the divine-man understanding of messiah that was held by some of the people. Peter's confession followed by his rebuke of Jesus shows that even if he was right about the title of Messiah/Christ; he was mistaken by what Jesus as the Messiah would do. Suffer and die was not the common expectation of a messiah.


Before McKnight quotes Fuller's statements about Peter's confession, he writes: "'Messiah' (Greek: Christ) is an important term used by the church in interpreting the meaning of Jesus. In Jesus' day there were political and military messianic ideas in vogue among the Jews, and it is frequently asserted that Jesus divested the term 'Messiah' of its Jewish associations, 'spiritualized' it, and used it of himself." (p. 72)


I've long argued that there is nothing in the Old Testament related to the term "Messiah" that points to Jesus' suffering and death.


Whether or not Peter's confession and rebukes happened exactly as recorded or was partly a product of the early church and Mark; the message is the same. Whatever Peter's (and the Jewish) understanding was of "Messiah," Jesus didn't meet it. They crucified him because he was the wrong kind of Messiah.

I certainly don't need Higher Critical tools and assumptions to realize that Jesus rejected a number of the ideas that some people had about what the coming Messiah would be like and would do. And that included, as indicated in the pericope, Peter's assumption that being the Christ did not include suffering and dying. But the text, as redacted by the Form Critic Fuller did more than reject false ideas of the Messiah, It had Jesus totally rejecting His identification in any way as the Messiah.


His analysis also leaves us with a New Testament that we simply cannot trust until the scholars trim away what is inauthentic. The effect is to drive a wedge between the Jesus of history - the Jesus who actually lived, said some things, did some things, and eventually died - and the Jesus of faith - the Jesus whom the New Testament as we have received it describes and whom we confess in the Creeds. In essence, the Jesus of faith never existed except in the imaginations of the New Testament authors who are expressing their impressions of their encounter with the divine.


This, to my mind, leaves Christianity as just another philosophy based on thoughts, impressions, and feelings. It is something the people have constructed to help them make sense of their existence and experience. So was Paul lying when he said to the Corinthians, 1 Corinthians 2:1-2 (ESV) 1" And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified." When the Higher Critics get done with the Gospels, is all that we have left a first century Jewish man, an itinerant preacher whom others later decided to reinvent as the object of faith, as it turns out an object of faith based on lies, rumors, and legends?
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Charles Austin on March 31, 2020, 11:39:01 AM
Where do you find this “Jesus of history”?
Where do you find verifiable history, as we know it, concerning every word, every action, everything the historical Jesus did?
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on March 31, 2020, 11:55:05 AM
Want something extra to live-stream during this "stay at home" coming Holy Week? you might consider this:

https://eyewitnessbible.org/holy-week-series/

I watched the first, Palm Sunday, episode. Not bad. It certainly does not take the place of a live-streamed service/sermon, but, again, a little extra for Holy Week shut-ins to watch.

And it's free.   ;)
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dave Benke on March 31, 2020, 12:45:58 PM
Want something extra to live-stream during this "stay at home" coming Holy Week? you might consider this:

https://eyewitnessbible.org/holy-week-series/

I watched the first, Palm Sunday, episode. Not bad. It certainly does not take the place of a live-streamed service/sermon, but, again, a little extra for Holy Week shut-ins to watch.

And it's free.   ;)

This is valuable.  Will pass it along.  In NY there are both live Palm Sunday Processions, Last Supper ceremonies and really a great number of Good Friday Stations of the Cross rites across all the sacramental traditions.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Tom Eckstein on March 31, 2020, 12:48:52 PM
Where do you find this “Jesus of history”?
Where do you find verifiable history, as we know it, concerning every word, every action, everything the historical Jesus did?

Charles, Dan can speak for himself.  But I would say that if you want the Jesus of history all you have to do is look to the New Testament which was written by eye-witnesses.  See this book on this subject:  https://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Eyewitnesses-Gospels-Eyewitness-Testimony-ebook/dp/B00EP9MRK8/ref=sr_1_1?crid=XSKKGAJXGJ23&keywords=jesus+and+the+eyewitnesses+richard+bauckham&qid=1585673041&s=books&sprefix=Jesus+and+the+ey%2Cstripbooks%2C175&sr=1-1 (https://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Eyewitnesses-Gospels-Eyewitness-Testimony-ebook/dp/B00EP9MRK8/ref=sr_1_1?crid=XSKKGAJXGJ23&keywords=jesus+and+the+eyewitnesses+richard+bauckham&qid=1585673041&s=books&sprefix=Jesus+and+the+ey%2Cstripbooks%2C175&sr=1-1)

Also, even though Scripture does not give us "every word, every action, everything the historical Jesus did" (see John 20:30-31), it does indeed give us SOME of the things the historical Jesus said and did.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: James J Eivan on March 31, 2020, 01:06:23 PM
Where do you find this “Jesus of history”?
Where do you find verifiable history, as we know it, concerning every word, every action, everything the historical Jesus did?
Apparently our esteemed theologian has verifiable secular proof of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, Baptism, and the Lord's Supper.

Apparently instead of faith in the words and promises of God in His Holy Scriptures,  our esteemed theologian has 'fact' in secular sources.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: readselerttoo on March 31, 2020, 01:10:50 PM
Where do you find this “Jesus of history”?
Where do you find verifiable history, as we know it, concerning every word, every action, everything the historical Jesus did?

Charles, Dan can speak for himself.  But I would say that if you want the Jesus of history all you have to do is look to the New Testament which was written by eye-witnesses.  See this book on this subject:  https://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Eyewitnesses-Gospels-Eyewitness-Testimony-ebook/dp/B00EP9MRK8/ref=sr_1_1?crid=XSKKGAJXGJ23&keywords=jesus+and+the+eyewitnesses+richard+bauckham&qid=1585673041&s=books&sprefix=Jesus+and+the+ey%2Cstripbooks%2C175&sr=1-1 (https://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Eyewitnesses-Gospels-Eyewitness-Testimony-ebook/dp/B00EP9MRK8/ref=sr_1_1?crid=XSKKGAJXGJ23&keywords=jesus+and+the+eyewitnesses+richard+bauckham&qid=1585673041&s=books&sprefix=Jesus+and+the+ey%2Cstripbooks%2C175&sr=1-1)

Also, even though Scripture does not give us "every word, every action, everything the historical Jesus did" (see John 20:30-31), it does indeed give us SOME of the things the historical Jesus said and did.

It is also to be pointed out that since the day Jesus was raised from the dead we currently have a historical Jesus with us.  Jesus never leaves our history whether in general or in the particular.  As the Church we don't have to rely on past sources for affirmation but only to the scriptures which testify to those who were encountered by the risen Jesus including the 500 as Paul witnessed in 1 Corinthians 15.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 31, 2020, 02:10:08 PM
I certainly don't need Higher Critical tools and assumptions to realize that Jesus rejected a number of the ideas that some people had about what the coming Messiah would be like and would do. And that included, as indicated in the pericope, Peter's assumption that being the Christ did not include suffering and dying. But the text, as redacted by the Form Critic Fuller did more than reject false ideas of the Messiah, It had Jesus totally rejecting His identification in any way as the Messiah.


That's one man's opinion (or two men's opinions) from long ago. Edgar McKnight's book was copyrighted in 1969 and Reginald Fuller's book that he quotes came out in 1965. The use of Form Criticism has evolved a lot since then. It is clear that Mark promotes the "messianic secret". A common understanding of that is that Jesus rejects their understanding of Messiah.


Quote
His analysis also leaves us with a New Testament that we simply cannot trust until the scholars trim away what is inauthentic. The effect is to drive a wedge between the Jesus of history - the Jesus who actually lived, said some things, did some things, and eventually died - and the Jesus of faith - the Jesus whom the New Testament as we have received it describes and whom we confess in the Creeds. In essence, the Jesus of faith never existed except in the imaginations of the New Testament authors who are expressing their impressions of their encounter with the divine.


Our trust is in God. Do we not in our sermons express our impressions of our encounter with the divine? We were not present to see or hear Jesus in person. We may encounter God through our study of scriptures. We may encounter God through the insights of commentaries and the traditions we have inherited. We may also encounter God in the lives of the people we are ministering to, "as you do to the least of these." Why should our hearers trust that what we say is true? We cannot offer eye-witness accounts of Jesus?

Quote
This, to my mind, leaves Christianity as just another philosophy based on thoughts, impressions, and feelings. It is something the people have constructed to help them make sense of their existence and experience. So was Paul lying when he said to the Corinthians, 1 Corinthians 2:1-2 (ESV) 1" And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified." When the Higher Critics get done with the Gospels, is all that we have left a first century Jewish man, an itinerant preacher whom others later decided to reinvent as the object of faith, as it turns out an object of faith based on lies, rumors, and legends?


I believe that the Gospel of Mark is clear that the only way to properly understand Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, is after the crucifixion. The centurion is the "hero" of his story. He expresses the proper faith. Thus, Paul can talk about Jesus as the Christ/Messiah, because he sees him through the cross.

My critique of those who don't take a critical approach to scriptures is that they do not take seriously what God has given us. Gospels are not all the same. In looking for evidence that Jesus did consider himself the Messiah in Mark, I found this conversation in chapter 14 (CEB):

61But Jesus was silent and didn’t answer. Again, the high priest asked, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the blessed one?”

62Jesus said, “I am. And you will see the Human One[1] sitting on the right side of the Almighty[2] and coming on the heavenly clouds.”

A similar scene occurs in the other synoptics, but Jesus has a slightly different answer in each of them.

Matthew 26 (CEB)

63But Jesus was silent.

The high priest said, “By the living God, I demand that you tell us whether you are the Christ, God’s Son.”

64“You said it,” Jesus replied. “But I say to you that from now on you’ll see the Human One[1] sitting on the right side of the Almighty[2] and coming on the heavenly clouds.” 

Luke 22 (CEB)

67They said, “If you are the Christ, tell us!”

He answered, “If I tell you, you won’t believe. 68And if I ask you a question, you won’t answer. 69But from now on, the Human One[1] will be seated on the right side of the power of God.”

[1] Or Son of Man
[2] Or the Power

What should we conclude about these three different answers? Jesus seems to agree with them in Mark when he says, "I am," but immediately calls himself "the Human One" in contrast to the High Priest's words: "Christ" and Son of the blessed one." It's almost like he says, "Yes, but I'm the Human One, not the Divine Man you want me to be." (That I believe is a theme throughout Mark.)

In Matthew, Jesus does not agree with the high priest's words. Essentially he says, "That's what you say." Or "Those are your words." In Luke, Jesus is clear that they would not believe him whatever he might say to them.

The Gospels that God has given us give us three different answers from Jesus to the question. Are they all historical? Did changes occur during the oral transmission of the passion - creations of the early church or mistakes in the transmission of the tradition? Are Jesus' words the creation of the evangelists as they give their readers/hearers their portrait of Jesus?

When I was in seminary, the professors said that the critical methods are about asking questions of the text. The ways scholars answer those questions can differ. I do not completely agree with the answer that Fuller/McKnight come up with in regards to Peter's confession. I don't think it's a matter of critical method - the questions that the text raises - but with the answers they offer to the questions.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 31, 2020, 02:20:27 PM
Where do you find this “Jesus of history”?
Where do you find verifiable history, as we know it, concerning every word, every action, everything the historical Jesus did?

Charles, Dan can speak for himself.  But I would say that if you want the Jesus of history all you have to do is look to the New Testament which was written by eye-witnesses.  See this book on this subject:  https://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Eyewitnesses-Gospels-Eyewitness-Testimony-ebook/dp/B00EP9MRK8/ref=sr_1_1?crid=XSKKGAJXGJ23&keywords=jesus+and+the+eyewitnesses+richard+bauckham&qid=1585673041&s=books&sprefix=Jesus+and+the+ey%2Cstripbooks%2C175&sr=1-1 (https://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Eyewitnesses-Gospels-Eyewitness-Testimony-ebook/dp/B00EP9MRK8/ref=sr_1_1?crid=XSKKGAJXGJ23&keywords=jesus+and+the+eyewitnesses+richard+bauckham&qid=1585673041&s=books&sprefix=Jesus+and+the+ey%2Cstripbooks%2C175&sr=1-1)

Also, even though Scripture does not give us "every word, every action, everything the historical Jesus did" (see John 20:30-31), it does indeed give us SOME of the things the historical Jesus said and did.


I note that Bauckham does not conclude that eye-witnesses will agree on all the details or that eye-witnesses are always accurate in what they report. Just arguing that the evangelists used eye-witnesses doesn't mean that they are accurate histories.


Papias, whom he writes about in chapter 2, believed that Matthew was originally written in Hebrew. The Gospel of Matthew that we have is not a translation from the Hebrew. Either Papias is talking about a different Hebrew Gospel called Matthew that is unknown to us, or he is mistaken. If we conclude he was mistaken, then we might be suspect of everything else he writes about the origins of the Gospels. He is not a reliable source of information.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 31, 2020, 02:22:16 PM
It is also to be pointed out that since the day Jesus was raised from the dead we currently have a historical Jesus with us.  Jesus never leaves our history whether in general or in the particular.  As the Church we don't have to rely on past sources for affirmation but only to the scriptures which testify to those who were encountered by the risen Jesus including the 500 as Paul witnessed in 1 Corinthians 15.


Because Jesus is living and among us now, why shouldn't we believe that our experiences with Jesus in the present time are just as valid as what happened historically?
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Tom Eckstein on March 31, 2020, 02:27:57 PM
I certainly don't need Higher Critical tools and assumptions to realize that Jesus rejected a number of the ideas that some people had about what the coming Messiah would be like and would do. And that included, as indicated in the pericope, Peter's assumption that being the Christ did not include suffering and dying. But the text, as redacted by the Form Critic Fuller did more than reject false ideas of the Messiah, It had Jesus totally rejecting His identification in any way as the Messiah.


That's one man's opinion (or two men's opinions) from long ago. Edgar McKnight's book was copyrighted in 1969 and Reginald Fuller's book that he quotes came out in 1965. The use of Form Criticism has evolved a lot since then. It is clear that Mark promotes the "messianic secret". A common understanding of that is that Jesus rejects their understanding of Messiah.


Quote
His analysis also leaves us with a New Testament that we simply cannot trust until the scholars trim away what is inauthentic. The effect is to drive a wedge between the Jesus of history - the Jesus who actually lived, said some things, did some things, and eventually died - and the Jesus of faith - the Jesus whom the New Testament as we have received it describes and whom we confess in the Creeds. In essence, the Jesus of faith never existed except in the imaginations of the New Testament authors who are expressing their impressions of their encounter with the divine.


Our trust is in God. Do we not in our sermons express our impressions of our encounter with the divine? We were not present to see or hear Jesus in person. We may encounter God through our study of scriptures. We may encounter God through the insights of commentaries and the traditions we have inherited. We may also encounter God in the lives of the people we are ministering to, "as you do to the least of these." Why should our hearers trust that what we say is true? We cannot offer eye-witness accounts of Jesus?

Quote
This, to my mind, leaves Christianity as just another philosophy based on thoughts, impressions, and feelings. It is something the people have constructed to help them make sense of their existence and experience. So was Paul lying when he said to the Corinthians, 1 Corinthians 2:1-2 (ESV) 1" And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified." When the Higher Critics get done with the Gospels, is all that we have left a first century Jewish man, an itinerant preacher whom others later decided to reinvent as the object of faith, as it turns out an object of faith based on lies, rumors, and legends?


I believe that the Gospel of Mark is clear that the only way to properly understand Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, is after the crucifixion. The centurion is the "hero" of his story. He expresses the proper faith. Thus, Paul can talk about Jesus as the Christ/Messiah, because he sees him through the cross.

My critique of those who don't take a critical approach to scriptures is that they do not take seriously what God has given us. Gospels are not all the same. In looking for evidence that Jesus did consider himself the Messiah in Mark, I found this conversation in chapter 14 (CEB):

61But Jesus was silent and didn’t answer. Again, the high priest asked, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the blessed one?”

62Jesus said, “I am. And you will see the Human One[1] sitting on the right side of the Almighty[2] and coming on the heavenly clouds.”

A similar scene occurs in the other synoptics, but Jesus has a slightly different answer in each of them.

Matthew 26 (CEB)

63But Jesus was silent.

The high priest said, “By the living God, I demand that you tell us whether you are the Christ, God’s Son.”

64“You said it,” Jesus replied. “But I say to you that from now on you’ll see the Human One[1] sitting on the right side of the Almighty[2] and coming on the heavenly clouds.” 

Luke 22 (CEB)

67They said, “If you are the Christ, tell us!”

He answered, “If I tell you, you won’t believe. 68And if I ask you a question, you won’t answer. 69But from now on, the Human One[1] will be seated on the right side of the power of God.”

[1] Or Son of Man
[2] Or the Power

What should we conclude about these three different answers? Jesus seems to agree with them in Mark when he says, "I am," but immediately calls himself "the Human One" in contrast to the High Priest's words: "Christ" and Son of the blessed one." It's almost like he says, "Yes, but I'm the Human One, not the Divine Man you want me to be." (That I believe is a theme throughout Mark.)

In Matthew, Jesus does not agree with the high priest's words. Essentially he says, "That's what you say." Or "Those are your words." In Luke, Jesus is clear that they would not believe him whatever he might say to them.

The Gospels that God has given us give us three different answers from Jesus to the question. Are they all historical? Did changes occur during the oral transmission of the passion - creations of the early church or mistakes in the transmission of the tradition? Are Jesus' words the creation of the evangelists as they give their readers/hearers their portrait of Jesus?

When I was in seminary, the professors said that the critical methods are about asking questions of the text. The ways scholars answer those questions can differ. I do not completely agree with the answer that Fuller/McKnight come up with in regards to Peter's confession. I don't think it's a matter of critical method - the questions that the text raises - but with the answers they offer to the questions.

First, even though all four Gospels are unique, it is wrong to think that they each have their own theology - especially conflicting theologies!  Matthew and John were both among the 12, Mark was mentored by Peter (one of the 12), and Luke was mentored by Paul (an apostle chosen by and taught by the risen Christ).  So, they have one theology.

Second, we all know that the Gospels report the same events but have Jesus speaking in slightly different ways - but this is easily understood in terms of the difference between the ipsissima verba versus the ipsissima vox of Jesus.  In other words, even though the Gospels do not give a  unified verbatim record of the exact words that flowed from Jesus' mouth, they DO give us the same VOICE or TEACHING of Jesus expressed in what one might call "inspired paraphrase."

Finally, when Jesus calls Himself as  τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου καθήμενον ἐκ δεξιῶν τῆς δυνάμεως καὶ ἐρχόμενον ἐπὶ τῶν νεφελῶν τοῦ οὐρανοῦ He is very likely referring to Daniel chapter 7 where "one like a son of man" (human) is worshipped as God Himself!  In other words, Jesus was claiming to be God in human flesh, which explains why they then accuse Him of blasphemy!
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dan Fienen on March 31, 2020, 02:28:26 PM
Where do you find this “Jesus of history”?
Where do you find verifiable history, as we know it, concerning every word, every action, everything the historical Jesus did?
I think you misunderstood what I was getting at when talking about the Jesus of history. The comparison that I was making was contrasting "between the Jesus of history - the Jesus who actually lived, said some things, did some things, and eventually died - and the Jesus of faith - the Jesus whom the New Testament as we have received it describes and whom we confess in the Creeds." I certainly do not depend on our secular history writing process to inform me about Jesus, believing what history can verify independent of Scripture about Jesus and discounting the facticity of what cannot be independently verified from extra-Biblical sources. If anything, it is my impression that it is a fairly typical position of Higher Critics to discount anything that cannot be independently verified as mere stories to illustrate a point and thus of dubious factuality.

I walk by faith and not by sight. I do not demand historical proof (whatever that is) concerning every word, every action, everything the historical Jesus did. But I do care whether or not it happened. The heart of the Christian faith is that Jesus died for my sins and rose again to give me life. I think that we have pretty solid historical evidence that Jesus lived and died. We even have a fair amount of evidence that He rose from the dead, but that could be disputed. But I do not base my Easter faith on historical proof. But the significance of those events, that Jesus died for my sins and rose again to give me life is not even the kind of stuff that can be verified from historical evidence. What would be destructive of my faith, however, would be the evidence that these stories never really happened, that they are simply stories told to illustrate some great abstract philosophical or spiritual truth but never actually happened in this world where people actually lived.

The analysis by Fuller as recounted in the book by McKnight would have it that Jesus did not believe that he was the Messiah, that he considered such an idea Satanic and that he could not have predicted his death. Such a Jesus would not be my savior. I believe, however that He was and is God and man and my savior. I cannot establish it beyond a reasonable doubt by extra-Biblical historical evidence and research (although I think there is more evidence than many people think) but that is irrelevant. However, I believe it actually happened, in that sense it was historical, not just a legend or a fable.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Tom Eckstein on March 31, 2020, 02:35:05 PM
Where do you find this “Jesus of history”?
Where do you find verifiable history, as we know it, concerning every word, every action, everything the historical Jesus did?

Charles, Dan can speak for himself.  But I would say that if you want the Jesus of history all you have to do is look to the New Testament which was written by eye-witnesses.  See this book on this subject:  https://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Eyewitnesses-Gospels-Eyewitness-Testimony-ebook/dp/B00EP9MRK8/ref=sr_1_1?crid=XSKKGAJXGJ23&keywords=jesus+and+the+eyewitnesses+richard+bauckham&qid=1585673041&s=books&sprefix=Jesus+and+the+ey%2Cstripbooks%2C175&sr=1-1 (https://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Eyewitnesses-Gospels-Eyewitness-Testimony-ebook/dp/B00EP9MRK8/ref=sr_1_1?crid=XSKKGAJXGJ23&keywords=jesus+and+the+eyewitnesses+richard+bauckham&qid=1585673041&s=books&sprefix=Jesus+and+the+ey%2Cstripbooks%2C175&sr=1-1)

Also, even though Scripture does not give us "every word, every action, everything the historical Jesus did" (see John 20:30-31), it does indeed give us SOME of the things the historical Jesus said and did.


I note that Bauckham does not conclude that eye-witnesses will agree on all the details or that eye-witnesses are always accurate in what they report. Just arguing that the evangelists used eye-witnesses doesn't mean that they are accurate histories.


Papias, whom he writes about in chapter 2, believed that Matthew was originally written in Hebrew. The Gospel of Matthew that we have is not a translation from the Hebrew. Either Papias is talking about a different Hebrew Gospel called Matthew that is unknown to us, or he is mistaken. If we conclude he was mistaken, then we might be suspect of everything else he writes about the origins of the Gospels. He is not a reliable source of information.

Except that the apostles were together eye-witness of the same Jesus AND WERE ALSO LED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT TO RECALL EVERYTHING JESUS HAD TAUGHT THEM! (John 15:12-15 and 17:17-20)
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: readselerttoo on March 31, 2020, 02:58:36 PM
I certainly don't need Higher Critical tools and assumptions to realize that Jesus rejected a number of the ideas that some people had about what the coming Messiah would be like and would do. And that included, as indicated in the pericope, Peter's assumption that being the Christ did not include suffering and dying. But the text, as redacted by the Form Critic Fuller did more than reject false ideas of the Messiah, It had Jesus totally rejecting His identification in any way as the Messiah.


That's one man's opinion (or two men's opinions) from long ago. Edgar McKnight's book was copyrighted in 1969 and Reginald Fuller's book that he quotes came out in 1965. The use of Form Criticism has evolved a lot since then. It is clear that Mark promotes the "messianic secret". A common understanding of that is that Jesus rejects their understanding of Messiah.


Quote
His analysis also leaves us with a New Testament that we simply cannot trust until the scholars trim away what is inauthentic. The effect is to drive a wedge between the Jesus of history - the Jesus who actually lived, said some things, did some things, and eventually died - and the Jesus of faith - the Jesus whom the New Testament as we have received it describes and whom we confess in the Creeds. In essence, the Jesus of faith never existed except in the imaginations of the New Testament authors who are expressing their impressions of their encounter with the divine.


Our trust is in God. Do we not in our sermons express our impressions of our encounter with the divine? We were not present to see or hear Jesus in person. We may encounter God through our study of scriptures. We may encounter God through the insights of commentaries and the traditions we have inherited. We may also encounter God in the lives of the people we are ministering to, "as you do to the least of these." Why should our hearers trust that what we say is true? We cannot offer eye-witness accounts of Jesus?

Quote
This, to my mind, leaves Christianity as just another philosophy based on thoughts, impressions, and feelings. It is something the people have constructed to help them make sense of their existence and experience. So was Paul lying when he said to the Corinthians, 1 Corinthians 2:1-2 (ESV) 1" And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified." When the Higher Critics get done with the Gospels, is all that we have left a first century Jewish man, an itinerant preacher whom others later decided to reinvent as the object of faith, as it turns out an object of faith based on lies, rumors, and legends?


I believe that the Gospel of Mark is clear that the only way to properly understand Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, is after the crucifixion. The centurion is the "hero" of his story. He expresses the proper faith. Thus, Paul can talk about Jesus as the Christ/Messiah, because he sees him through the cross.

My critique of those who don't take a critical approach to scriptures is that they do not take seriously what God has given us. Gospels are not all the same. In looking for evidence that Jesus did consider himself the Messiah in Mark, I found this conversation in chapter 14 (CEB):

61But Jesus was silent and didn’t answer. Again, the high priest asked, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the blessed one?”

62Jesus said, “I am. And you will see the Human One[1] sitting on the right side of the Almighty[2] and coming on the heavenly clouds.”

A similar scene occurs in the other synoptics, but Jesus has a slightly different answer in each of them.

Matthew 26 (CEB)

63But Jesus was silent.

The high priest said, “By the living God, I demand that you tell us whether you are the Christ, God’s Son.”

64“You said it,” Jesus replied. “But I say to you that from now on you’ll see the Human One[1] sitting on the right side of the Almighty[2] and coming on the heavenly clouds.” 

Luke 22 (CEB)

67They said, “If you are the Christ, tell us!”

He answered, “If I tell you, you won’t believe. 68And if I ask you a question, you won’t answer. 69But from now on, the Human One[1] will be seated on the right side of the power of God.”

[1] Or Son of Man
[2] Or the Power

What should we conclude about these three different answers? Jesus seems to agree with them in Mark when he says, "I am," but immediately calls himself "the Human One" in contrast to the High Priest's words: "Christ" and Son of the blessed one." It's almost like he says, "Yes, but I'm the Human One, not the Divine Man you want me to be." (That I believe is a theme throughout Mark.)

In Matthew, Jesus does not agree with the high priest's words. Essentially he says, "That's what you say." Or "Those are your words." In Luke, Jesus is clear that they would not believe him whatever he might say to them.

The Gospels that God has given us give us three different answers from Jesus to the question. Are they all historical? Did changes occur during the oral transmission of the passion - creations of the early church or mistakes in the transmission of the tradition? Are Jesus' words the creation of the evangelists as they give their readers/hearers their portrait of Jesus?

When I was in seminary, the professors said that the critical methods are about asking questions of the text. The ways scholars answer those questions can differ. I do not completely agree with the answer that Fuller/McKnight come up with in regards to Peter's confession. I don't think it's a matter of critical method - the questions that the text raises - but with the answers they offer to the questions.


What do you mean when you say that no one presently can be an eye-witness to Jesus?  That somehow the eye-witnesses were confined to those who saw him immediately after the resurrection?  This maybe is one thing.  Yet His ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit can widen the meaning of being an eye-witness to Jesus today.  Same Jesus.  No difference between those of yesterday and the believers today, imo.  The past really is no awful ditch as Lessing propounded.  It is not that history stopped for the apostles and eyewitnesses and Jesus once he was raised and ascended.  There is a deeper issue to Pentecost than maybe you realize.  See the Acts of the Apostles.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dan Fienen on March 31, 2020, 03:03:38 PM

We certainly do need to ask questions of the text of Scripture that we have received. Since we have received it from a number of manuscripts with variations we need to ask textual critical questions. Since it is from a place and time distant from our own, we need to ask questions of the cultural and linguistic context in which it was originally written. In the Gospels we have four more or less independent witnesses to the events, so we need to ask how they might fit together from their varying viewpoints and how their emphases might affect their reporting. Since we have preserved these four witnesses, observing their differences and what those difference might mean are important. But that does not mean that their differences prove their historical unreliability or that what they report are simply stories with no greater relationship to what actually happened than does the story of George Washington and the cherry tree.


Some tendencies and assumption that I have common to practitioners of Higher Criticism that I find disturbing and unacceptable: The tendency to push the Gospels as far away from the events as possible, authors who were anonymous and who wrote long after the events and from a long tradition of oral transmission and therefore inaccurate. Related to this may well be a tendency to treat the canonical Gospel as inherently little different than and not more authoritative than the raft of pseudepigraphal Gospels. (See for example the work of the Jesus Seminar.) A tendency to dismember the Biblical text in to separate, poorly redacted sources. The tendency to assume that the vocabulary and style of an author would not change during life or in responding to different circumstances. Thus the Pastorals could not be Paul because even though they would have been written late in Paul's life his style and vocabulary could not have changed from his earlier ministry and writings. The tendency to emphasize the differences between parts of the Bible and pit them against each other rather than looking to see if they might, allowing for their different points of view and intended audience, fit together to provide an even fuller picture. The bias against any possibility of miracles, divine foreknowledge, and divine intervention. And I could go on.


It is perhaps against the more extreme HC scholars that I react and against the ones who deny much of the Christian faith. But I refuse to accept that all of Higher Criticism needs to be accepted with open arms no matter how destructive the results are of Creedal Christianity.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: readselerttoo on March 31, 2020, 03:09:21 PM
Where do you find this “Jesus of history”?
Where do you find verifiable history, as we know it, concerning every word, every action, everything the historical Jesus did?

Charles, Dan can speak for himself.  But I would say that if you want the Jesus of history all you have to do is look to the New Testament which was written by eye-witnesses.  See this book on this subject:  https://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Eyewitnesses-Gospels-Eyewitness-Testimony-ebook/dp/B00EP9MRK8/ref=sr_1_1?crid=XSKKGAJXGJ23&keywords=jesus+and+the+eyewitnesses+richard+bauckham&qid=1585673041&s=books&sprefix=Jesus+and+the+ey%2Cstripbooks%2C175&sr=1-1 (https://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Eyewitnesses-Gospels-Eyewitness-Testimony-ebook/dp/B00EP9MRK8/ref=sr_1_1?crid=XSKKGAJXGJ23&keywords=jesus+and+the+eyewitnesses+richard+bauckham&qid=1585673041&s=books&sprefix=Jesus+and+the+ey%2Cstripbooks%2C175&sr=1-1)

Also, even though Scripture does not give us "every word, every action, everything the historical Jesus did" (see John 20:30-31), it does indeed give us SOME of the things the historical Jesus said and did.


I note that Bauckham does not conclude that eye-witnesses will agree on all the details or that eye-witnesses are always accurate in what they report. Just arguing that the evangelists used eye-witnesses doesn't mean that they are accurate histories.


Papias, whom he writes about in chapter 2, believed that Matthew was originally written in Hebrew. The Gospel of Matthew that we have is not a translation from the Hebrew. Either Papias is talking about a different Hebrew Gospel called Matthew that is unknown to us, or he is mistaken. If we conclude he was mistaken, then we might be suspect of everything else he writes about the origins of the Gospels. He is not a reliable source of information.

Except that the apostles were together eye-witness of the same Jesus AND WERE ALSO LED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT TO RECALL EVERYTHING JESUS HAD TAUGHT THEM! (John 15:12-15 and 17:17-20)

All of us as Christians in faith are not subject to the Enlightenment's project of the meaning of history.  Pentecost has changed that.  We do not need to accept an understanding that there is only one way of knowing history as purported since the 18th century.  We are not prisoners of peer review and the conclusions drawn by studying sources from the past.  Pentecost has changed that for Christian believers because by way of Christ and the Holy Spirit the Enlightenment project has no, or at least relative effect unless you wish to believe that there is only one way to "know how history works."
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: readselerttoo on March 31, 2020, 03:15:02 PM
Where do you find this “Jesus of history”?
Where do you find verifiable history, as we know it, concerning every word, every action, everything the historical Jesus did?

Charles, Dan can speak for himself.  But I would say that if you want the Jesus of history all you have to do is look to the New Testament which was written by eye-witnesses.  See this book on this subject:  https://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Eyewitnesses-Gospels-Eyewitness-Testimony-ebook/dp/B00EP9MRK8/ref=sr_1_1?crid=XSKKGAJXGJ23&keywords=jesus+and+the+eyewitnesses+richard+bauckham&qid=1585673041&s=books&sprefix=Jesus+and+the+ey%2Cstripbooks%2C175&sr=1-1 (https://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Eyewitnesses-Gospels-Eyewitness-Testimony-ebook/dp/B00EP9MRK8/ref=sr_1_1?crid=XSKKGAJXGJ23&keywords=jesus+and+the+eyewitnesses+richard+bauckham&qid=1585673041&s=books&sprefix=Jesus+and+the+ey%2Cstripbooks%2C175&sr=1-1)

Also, even though Scripture does not give us "every word, every action, everything the historical Jesus did" (see John 20:30-31), it does indeed give us SOME of the things the historical Jesus said and did.


I note that Bauckham does not conclude that eye-witnesses will agree on all the details or that eye-witnesses are always accurate in what they report. Just arguing that the evangelists used eye-witnesses doesn't mean that they are accurate histories.


Papias, whom he writes about in chapter 2, believed that Matthew was originally written in Hebrew. The Gospel of Matthew that we have is not a translation from the Hebrew. Either Papias is talking about a different Hebrew Gospel called Matthew that is unknown to us, or he is mistaken. If we conclude he was mistaken, then we might be suspect of everything else he writes about the origins of the Gospels. He is not a reliable source of information.

Just because there MAY be an error about this indication of Matthew does NOT make Papias a writer to be distrusted on every account.  Papias had immediate access to those who encountered Jesus both alive and after the resurrection even those who were immediate cohorts of Peter.  The daughters of Philip are another indication.  I think we need to revisit Papias as Bauckham appeals.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on March 31, 2020, 03:36:28 PM
Where do you find this “Jesus of history”?
Where do you find verifiable history, as we know it, concerning every word, every action, everything the historical Jesus did?

The New Testament.  The Church.

Both of which acknowledge that this is not every word, every action, everything the historical Jesus did.

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: readselerttoo on March 31, 2020, 03:40:29 PM
Where do you find this “Jesus of history”?
Where do you find verifiable history, as we know it, concerning every word, every action, everything the historical Jesus did?

The New Testament.  The Church.

Both of which acknowledge that this is not every word, every action, everything the historical Jesus did.

Pax, Steven+


Yes.  This indeed is another line of appropriate thinking in the matter of Jesus and the New Testament.  Thanks, Pr. Tibbetts.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dave Benke on March 31, 2020, 06:35:51 PM
Second, we all know that the Gospels report the same events but have Jesus speaking in slightly different ways - but this is easily understood in terms of the difference between the ipsissima verba versus the ipsissima vox of Jesus.  In other words, even though the Gospels do not give a  unified verbatim record of the exact words that flowed from Jesus' mouth, they DO give us the same VOICE or TEACHING of Jesus expressed in what one might call "inspired paraphrase."


Somewhere in the many boxes of books I am attempting to offload is a copy of the Gospel Harmonization put together by Beck, who did the American Translation of the Bible in the way back when.   That harmonization effort pushed its own story timeline and strung together the words of our Lord according to the author's instincts.  It was fun to read, but became, the longer any bible student consulted the Synopsis Quattuor Evangelii, less than an optimal concept.

I think Tom Eckstein's connecting us to "ipssissima vox" is the way through the thicket when it comes to the words ascribed to our Lord Himself.  Why people ran screaming away from the Jesus Project is that at the end, Jesus was left with a couple of Aramaic utterances and all the rest was made up - oops, there goes Jesus.  The deposit of the faith - not much there. 

For the faithful held apart, this is going to be a most difficult Holy Week, mostly taking place by livestreaming and zoom meeting.  What they understand is that the story of the Passion of our Lord is true, now and forever.  They will hear that proclaimed through the Day of Resurrection.  And they will be strengthened for their now-sequestered lives by Christ the Lord who suffered, was crucified, died, was raised and ascended to glory.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Jeremy Loesch on March 31, 2020, 10:05:12 PM
I've seen another LCMS church asking for guidance on conducting a reverent online communion service with proper oversight. I think the dam has broken on this practice. No going back.

Jeremy

 
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Richard Johnson on March 31, 2020, 10:06:31 PM
I feel your pain.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 31, 2020, 11:48:49 PM

We certainly do need to ask questions of the text of Scripture that we have received. Since we have received it from a number of manuscripts with variations we need to ask textual critical questions. Since it is from a place and time distant from our own, we need to ask questions of the cultural and linguistic context in which it was originally written. In the Gospels we have four more or less independent witnesses to the events, so we need to ask how they might fit together from their varying viewpoints and how their emphases might affect their reporting. Since we have preserved these four witnesses, observing their differences and what those difference might mean are important. But that does not mean that their differences prove their historical unreliability or that what they report are simply stories with no greater relationship to what actually happened than does the story of George Washington and the cherry tree.


Some tendencies and assumption that I have common to practitioners of Higher Criticism that I find disturbing and unacceptable: The tendency to push the Gospels as far away from the events as possible, authors who were anonymous and who wrote long after the events and from a long tradition of oral transmission and therefore inaccurate. Related to this may well be a tendency to treat the canonical Gospel as inherently little different than and not more authoritative than the raft of pseudepigraphal Gospels. (See for example the work of the Jesus Seminar.) A tendency to dismember the Biblical text in to separate, poorly redacted sources. The tendency to assume that the vocabulary and style of an author would not change during life or in responding to different circumstances. Thus the Pastorals could not be Paul because even though they would have been written late in Paul's life his style and vocabulary could not have changed from his earlier ministry and writings. The tendency to emphasize the differences between parts of the Bible and pit them against each other rather than looking to see if they might, allowing for their different points of view and intended audience, fit together to provide an even fuller picture. The bias against any possibility of miracles, divine foreknowledge, and divine intervention. And I could go on.


It is perhaps against the more extreme HC scholars that I react and against the ones who deny much of the Christian faith. But I refuse to accept that all of Higher Criticism needs to be accepted with open arms no matter how destructive the results are of Creedal Christianity.


An interesting comparison can be made between John Dominic Crossan's Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography and Raymond Brown's The Birth of the Messiah and The Death of the Messiah. I see both using historical critical tools. Both look at the same ancient documents: both canonical and extra-canonical. Crossan comes up with less than orthodox answers to his questions. Brown, using the same information, comes up with orthodox answers to his questions. I believe that we need to read folks like Crossan and the Jesus Seminar because we need to know the evidence that they use to reach their conclusions; and see how we might use the same evidence to come to different conclusions.


Much of the newer criticisms, e.g., Narrative Criticism, that began in 1982; ignores the historical questions and issues. It looks at the gospels as stories. Did this really happen? is not a question that is asked. What is more important is how the author uses the stories in his narrative to convey a message to the hearers. Rather than trying to discover what Jesus might have really said before the high priest; we deal with what we have been given. This is what Mark tells us Jesus said to the high priest. This is what Matthew tells us Jesus said to the high priest. The same with Luke. How does each evangelists' version of Jesus' words fit into their whole narrative?
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 31, 2020, 11:58:38 PM
Just because there MAY be an error about this indication of Matthew does NOT make Papias a writer to be distrusted on every account.  Papias had immediate access to those who encountered Jesus both alive and after the resurrection even those who were immediate cohorts of Peter.  The daughters of Philip are another indication.  I think we need to revisit Papias as Bauckham appeals.


You can revisit Papias at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papias_of_Hierapolis


It includes some of the good stuff people like from him and some of the other stuff.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on April 01, 2020, 12:07:06 AM
Where do you find this “Jesus of history”?
Where do you find verifiable history, as we know it, concerning every word, every action, everything the historical Jesus did?

The New Testament.  The Church.

Both of which acknowledge that this is not every word, every action, everything the historical Jesus did.


I have found the Infancy Gospel of James to be quite interesting. It expands the history of Jesus back to the parents of Mary. It includes a story of how Joseph was picked to be her husband. It goes through the birth of John and Jesus. It ends with Herod killing Zechariah because he wouldn't reveal where his son was when the troops were killing all of the baby boys.


The Infancy Gospel of Thomas is even more interesting as it relates different events in young Jesus' life.


Should we read these to better understand the Jesus of history?
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dan Fienen on April 01, 2020, 12:21:45 AM
Does. It matter if Jesus really was the only begotten son of God who died for our sins and rose again, or are they only stories told to illustrate some sort of truth about the human condition and wishful thinking about how God might accept us anyway
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on April 01, 2020, 12:29:22 AM
I think Tom Eckstein's connecting us to "ipssissima vox" is the way through the thicket when it comes to the words ascribed to our Lord Himself.  Why people ran screaming away from the Jesus Project is that at the end, Jesus was left with a couple of Aramaic utterances and all the rest was made up - oops, there goes Jesus.  The deposit of the faith - not much there. 


In some ways, the Jesus Seminar gets a bad rap about the words of Jesus. The Five Gospels presents sayings of Jesus in four different colors: red, pink, gray, or black, depending on how many in the committee believed that it originated with Jesus. When Jesus gives the great commandment in Matthew 22:34-40, it is given a gray color. Jesus may have said those words, but they do not originate with Jesus. They are quotes from the Old Testament. In addition, according to the Jesus Seminar comments, Hillel, a famous Judean rabbi who was a contemporary of Jesus answered the question the same way. The more skeptical view is that Jesus' followers liked Hillel's answer and transferred it to Jesus. The less skeptical view is that Jesus also said it, but it is not a unique saying to Jesus. Even less skeptical would argue that if Hillel said it, he heard it from Jesus.


Jesus' words in Matthew 5:44: "Love your enemies" is red. A saying that originated with Jesus. It's not found anywhere else.


When one wants to discover the new things that Jesus brings to his teachings, one looks to the sayings that seem to have originated with him; rather than words he's reciting from some other source.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on April 01, 2020, 12:41:15 AM
Does. It matter if Jesus really was the only begotten son of God who died for our sins and rose again, or are they only stories told to illustrate some sort of truth about the human condition and wishful thinking about how God might accept us anyway


Something more than thinking Jesus was the only begotten son of God who died for our sins and rose again is necessary. Pinchas Lapide wrote The Resurrection of Jesus: A Jewish Perspective. He believes that Jesus was crucified and raised from the dead as an historical event. He does not believe that that makes him the Messiah.


 https://www.amazon.com/Resurrection-Jesus-Jewish-Perspective/dp/157910908X/ref=sr_1_2?crid=3ISSQ4Q8VPWRR&dchild=1&keywords=the+resurrection+of+jesus+a+jewish+perspective&qid=1585715716&sprefix=the+resurrection+of+Jesus+a+jewish%2Caps%2C208&sr=8-2


However, one who believes that Jesus is living and part of my life today could not have such a faith without also believing that Jesus can no longer be dead in the tomb.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Charles Austin on April 01, 2020, 08:58:43 AM
You prompted a blast from the past, Brian.
Pinchas Lapide used to drop by the Religion News Service newsroom in the early 1970s when I worked there. He was a friend of Lillian Block, the famed RNS editor. In my not so humble opinion, a thoughtful man, but one possessed of some unusual ideas. Some Southern Baptists at that time and following were a fan of his because he said the resurrection of Jesus was a historical event.
I'm not sure I filed away in my head the reasons he was convinced of that.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on April 01, 2020, 09:47:05 AM
Some Southern Baptists at that time and following were a fan of his because he said the resurrection of Jesus was a historical event.

A synonym for historical:  true

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/historical
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: James J Eivan on April 01, 2020, 10:17:15 AM
Second, we all know that the Gospels report the same events but have Jesus speaking in slightly different ways - but this is easily understood in terms of the difference between the ipsissima verba versus the ipsissima vox of Jesus.  In other words, even though the Gospels do not give a  unified verbatim record of the exact words that flowed from Jesus' mouth, they DO give us the same VOICE or TEACHING of Jesus expressed in what one might call "inspired paraphrase."


Somewhere in the many boxes of books I am attempting to offload is a copy of the Gospel Harmonization put together by Beck, who did the American Translation of the Bible in the way back when.   That harmonization effort pushed its own story timeline and strung together the words of our Lord according to the author's instincts.  It was fun to read, but became, the longer any bible student consulted the Synopsis Quattuor Evangelii, less than an optimal concept,
For years my then pastor used Beck's The Christ of the Gospels for the Passion readings through out the Lenten services.   Still today ... years after his retirement,  the current compiled lectionary readings used in the mid week Lenten Services remind of the use of Dr. Beck's compilation.  Dr. Beck's work ... at least in the passion history portion of his The Christ of the Gospels was very faithful to the Gospels he was compiling.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: pastorg1@aol.com on April 01, 2020, 10:23:57 AM
Pinchas Lapide
From now on when I meet somebody new I’m gonna say that’s my name.

Peter (Pinchas Lapide) Garrison
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dave Benke on April 01, 2020, 10:29:30 AM
Second, we all know that the Gospels report the same events but have Jesus speaking in slightly different ways - but this is easily understood in terms of the difference between the ipsissima verba versus the ipsissima vox of Jesus.  In other words, even though the Gospels do not give a  unified verbatim record of the exact words that flowed from Jesus' mouth, they DO give us the same VOICE or TEACHING of Jesus expressed in what one might call "inspired paraphrase."


Somewhere in the many boxes of books I am attempting to offload is a copy of the Gospel Harmonization put together by Beck, who did the American Translation of the Bible in the way back when.   That harmonization effort pushed its own story timeline and strung together the words of our Lord according to the author's instincts.  It was fun to read, but became, the longer any bible student consulted the Synopsis Quattuor Evangelii, less than an optimal concept,
For years my then pastor used Beck's The Christ of the Gospels for the Passion readings through out the Lenten services.   Still today ... years after his retirement,  the current compiled lectionary readings used in the mid week Lenten Services remind of the use of Dr. Beck's compilation.  Dr. Beck's work ... at least in the passion history portion of his The Christ of the Gospels was very faithful to the Gospels he was compiling.

I agree that Beck was "very faithful to the Gospels he was compiling." 

By the same token, if our Lord made a statement in the passion history in three differing word-sets in three Gospels, for example, Beck either - compressed the three into a new one, thus creating a fourth word-set, or - used one of the three, making a personal selection. 

Tom Eckstein's use of the term "ipssissima vox" allows us to hear the three variants as three variant readings, while not having to make a judgment about which one is the "real" one.  They're all the voice of our Lord.  So although Beck is certainly not attempting to be creative, his approach leads us either to question his choices or to trust him as the choice-maker.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dave Benke on April 01, 2020, 10:30:46 AM
Pinchas Lapide
From now on when I meet somebody new I’m gonna say that’s my name.

Peter (Pinchas Lapide) Garrison

Don't let anybody depotentiate you, Pinchas.  You da man.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: James J Eivan on April 01, 2020, 10:46:16 AM
Second, we all know that the Gospels report the same events but have Jesus speaking in slightly different ways - but this is easily understood in terms of the difference between the ipsissima verba versus the ipsissima vox of Jesus.  In other words, even though the Gospels do not give a  unified verbatim record of the exact words that flowed from Jesus' mouth, they DO give us the same VOICE or TEACHING of Jesus expressed in what one might call "inspired paraphrase."


Somewhere in the many boxes of books I am attempting to offload is a copy of the Gospel Harmonization put together by Beck, who did the American Translation of the Bible in the way back when.   That harmonization effort pushed its own story timeline and strung together the words of our Lord according to the author's instincts.  It was fun to read, but became, the longer any bible student consulted the Synopsis Quattuor Evangelii, less than an optimal concept,
For years my then pastor used Beck's The Christ of the Gospels for the Passion readings through out the Lenten services.   Still today ... years after his retirement,  the current compiled lectionary readings used in the mid week Lenten Services remind of the use of Dr. Beck's compilation.  Dr. Beck's work ... at least in the passion history portion of his The Christ of the Gospels was very faithful to the Gospels he was compiling.

I agree that Beck was "very faithful to the Gospels he was compiling." 

By the same token, if our Lord made a statement in the passion history in three differing word-sets in three Gospels, for example, Beck either - compressed the three into a new one, thus creating a fourth word-set, or - used one of the three, making a personal selection. 

Tom Eckstein's use of the term "ipssissima vox" allows us to hear the three variants as three variant readings, while not having to make a judgment about which one is the "real" one.  They're all the voice of our Lord.  So although Beck is certainly not attempting to be creative, his approach leads us either to question his choices or to trust him as the choice-maker.

Dave Benke
There is little if any difference between his "word choice" in his compilation and the word choices the translators use in the various Bible translations in use today. There are far more than four word sets in use by virtue of the numerous translation currently available today. He was a Bible trustworthy translator himself.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dan Fienen on April 01, 2020, 10:54:16 AM
Down through the centuries the Church has had and preserved the four Gospels as separate witnesses to the life and work of Jesus Christ. It has not chosen to merge the four into one for some very good reasons. But there are times when using a version assembled into one narrative for a particular use makes sense, such as serial reading of a single passion narrative during Lenten services. That is not meant to replace the four separate Gospel accounts. In a way it reminds me of the controversies when the Living Bible and Good News for Modern Man versions of the Bible came out. They were acceptable for just sitting down and reading, especially for people with a more limited vocabulary. They had a use. But they still were not adequate for serious Bible study. I still remember having a member argue with me in Bible study that my understanding of a passage couldn't be correct since that was not what the Bible he was reading (Living Bible) said.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on April 01, 2020, 12:43:55 PM
You prompted a blast from the past, Brian.
Pinchas Lapide used to drop by the Religion News Service newsroom in the early 1970s when I worked there. He was a friend of Lillian Block, the famed RNS editor. In my not so humble opinion, a thoughtful man, but one possessed of some unusual ideas. Some Southern Baptists at that time and following were a fan of his because he said the resurrection of Jesus was a historical event.
I'm not sure I filed away in my head the reasons he was convinced of that.


His primary argument is the transformation of the disciples from hiding in a locked room in Jerusalem, to going out into the streets and proclaiming the risen Jesus - even facing arrest and death. He argues that that change is best explained by the resurrection actually happening.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on April 01, 2020, 12:49:48 PM
Some Southern Baptists at that time and following were a fan of his because he said the resurrection of Jesus was a historical event.

A synonym for historical:  true

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/historical (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/historical)


Yes, that's one synonym for historical. Here's a more complete list:


1 the historical background to such studies: DOCUMENTED, recorded, chronicled, attested, factual, verified, confirmed, archival, authentic, actual, true. ANTONYMS legendary

2 famous historical figures: PAST, bygone, ancient, old, former, prior, from the past; literary of yore. ANTONYMS contemporary


"Verified" becomes a problem when the only account of an event comes from one source, e.g., the killing of the innocent in Bethlehem. What kinds of "documents" are required to determine if something is historical or true? There are thousands of books about the civil war. They are documents. Some seek to be "historical," others are novels set in that time period. Still others are somewhere in between: a novel based on historical events.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on April 01, 2020, 01:08:52 PM
You prompted a blast from the past, Brian.
Pinchas Lapide used to drop by the Religion News Service newsroom in the early 1970s when I worked there. He was a friend of Lillian Block, the famed RNS editor. In my not so humble opinion, a thoughtful man, but one possessed of some unusual ideas. Some Southern Baptists at that time and following were a fan of his because he said the resurrection of Jesus was a historical event.
I'm not sure I filed away in my head the reasons he was convinced of that.


I might add that Carl Braaten wrote the introduction to the book (at least the English translation - it was originally written in German). For some more about Carl Braaten, I found an open letter he wrote to Mark Hanson, date unknown. I've posted it in the "Open Letter to Mark Hanson" discussion under Forum Blogs.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on April 01, 2020, 01:23:27 PM
Second, we all know that the Gospels report the same events but have Jesus speaking in slightly different ways - but this is easily understood in terms of the difference between the ipsissima verba versus the ipsissima vox of Jesus.  In other words, even though the Gospels do not give a  unified verbatim record of the exact words that flowed from Jesus' mouth, they DO give us the same VOICE or TEACHING of Jesus expressed in what one might call "inspired paraphrase."


Somewhere in the many boxes of books I am attempting to offload is a copy of the Gospel Harmonization put together by Beck, who did the American Translation of the Bible in the way back when.   That harmonization effort pushed its own story timeline and strung together the words of our Lord according to the author's instincts.  It was fun to read, but became, the longer any bible student consulted the Synopsis Quattuor Evangelii, less than an optimal concept,
For years my then pastor used Beck's The Christ of the Gospels for the Passion readings through out the Lenten services.   Still today ... years after his retirement,  the current compiled lectionary readings used in the mid week Lenten Services remind of the use of Dr. Beck's compilation.  Dr. Beck's work ... at least in the passion history portion of his The Christ of the Gospels was very faithful to the Gospels he was compiling.

I agree that Beck was "very faithful to the Gospels he was compiling." 

By the same token, if our Lord made a statement in the passion history in three differing word-sets in three Gospels, for example, Beck either - compressed the three into a new one, thus creating a fourth word-set, or - used one of the three, making a personal selection. 

Tom Eckstein's use of the term "ipssissima vox" allows us to hear the three variants as three variant readings, while not having to make a judgment about which one is the "real" one.  They're all the voice of our Lord.  So although Beck is certainly not attempting to be creative, his approach leads us either to question his choices or to trust him as the choice-maker.


Being faithful to the gospel message is not quite the same as being faithful to the four Gospels we have been given.


The Church in its wisdom has never adopted a harmonized version of the Gospels, even though many have compiled them. The Church, as one writer puts it, kept all four portraits of Jesus. Four different pictures, but clearly all of the same person.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on April 01, 2020, 01:45:03 PM
 There is little if any difference between his "word choice" in his compilation and the word choices the translators use in the various Bible translations in use today. There are far more than four word sets in use by virtue of the numerous translation currently available today. He was a Bible trustworthy translator himself.



There is a great difference between making a word choice because it harmonizes what's in other gospels rather than highlighting that there are different Greek words and seeking to honestly convey the meaning of the Greek words that each evangelist has given us into English.


Granted, there are times that two different words may be synonyms and can be translated the same way. For instance ἀγαπάω and φιλἐω are used interchangeably in John. Both are used for "the disciple whom Jesus loved" (13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7, 20). Both are used in the dialogue about "do you love me" between Jesus and Peter (21:15-17). I remember The Living Bible made them different: "Do you love me?" "You know that I am your friend." I don't know of any other translation that distinguishes these two Greek words in that conversation. Should they? In some other contexts, the differences between these two words perhaps should be emphasized, such as their use in the synoptics.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on April 01, 2020, 01:50:29 PM
Down through the centuries the Church has had and preserved the four Gospels as separate witnesses to the life and work of Jesus Christ. It has not chosen to merge the four into one for some very good reasons. But there are times when using a version assembled into one narrative for a particular use makes sense, such as serial reading of a single passion narrative during Lenten services. That is not meant to replace the four separate Gospel accounts. In a way it reminds me of the controversies when the Living Bible and Good News for Modern Man versions of the Bible came out. They were acceptable for just sitting down and reading, especially for people with a more limited vocabulary. They had a use. But they still were not adequate for serious Bible study. I still remember having a member argue with me in Bible study that my understanding of a passage couldn't be correct since that was not what the Bible he was reading (Living Bible) said.


I would not read a harmonized version. On the Sunday of the Passion, we read the passion from the synoptic gospel for the year. On Good Friday, the passion from John is read.


However, on Christmas Eve, the birth stories from Luke and Matthew are read, not as a harmonized version, but as separate accounts as part of the eight readings and hymns we do that evening. There are some parallels in the accounts: an angel announcing the birth (to Mary in Luke and to Joseph in a dream in Matthew). There are unlikely visitors (shepherds in Luke and foreign magi in Matthew).
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on April 01, 2020, 02:01:26 PM
Down through the centuries the Church has had and preserved the four Gospels as separate witnesses to the life and work of Jesus Christ. It has not chosen to merge the four into one for some very good reasons. But there are times when using a version assembled into one narrative for a particular use makes sense, such as serial reading of a single passion narrative during Lenten services. That is not meant to replace the four separate Gospel accounts. In a way it reminds me of the controversies when the Living Bible and Good News for Modern Man versions of the Bible came out. They were acceptable for just sitting down and reading, especially for people with a more limited vocabulary. They had a use. But they still were not adequate for serious Bible study. I still remember having a member argue with me in Bible study that my understanding of a passage couldn't be correct since that was not what the Bible he was reading (Living Bible) said.


I remember my mother-in-law exclaiming when she first read from Good News for Modern Man, "This can't be the Bible. I can understand it." Going from the King James Version to Good News, was quite a leap for many people.


Two additional issues were: The Living Bible was a paraphrase from the English (American Standard Version) by one man, Ken Taylor in 1971. The Good News for Modern Man or Today's English Version, was a translation from the original languages by committees. The New Testament was published in 1966, the whole bible in 1976. It ushered in the use of "dynamic equivalence" in its translation philosophy. Rather than translate each word, they looked at phrases. What does this phrase mean in the original language? How do we express the same idea in English?


The translation came under fire from some groups. One issue is that a word-for-word translation might have "the blood of Jesus." The meaning of that phrase within its context is "Jesus' death." That's how they would translate it. That is what it means. Jesus couldn't just cut his wrists and bleed. But the translation was accused of removing the blood of Jesus. Granted, "Jesus' death" ignores the "blood" connections with OT sacrifices and the sprinkling of blood, so it is not a good translation for a study Bible; but it makes clear what the NT writers were referring to.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Richard Johnson on April 01, 2020, 02:45:57 PM

Should we read these to better understand the Jesus of history?

No.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: readselerttoo on April 01, 2020, 03:46:27 PM
Pinchas Lapide
From now on when I meet somebody new I’m gonna say that’s my name.

Peter (Pinchas Lapide) Garrison

Don't let anybody depotentiate you, Pinchas.  You da man.

Dave Benke


hahahahah!  No.  You da man!    ;D
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on April 01, 2020, 03:58:17 PM

Should we read these to better understand the Jesus of history?

No.


Why not? They claim to be historical? What convinces you that they are not?
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dan Fienen on April 01, 2020, 04:05:06 PM

Should we read these to better understand the Jesus of history?

No.


Why not? They claim to be historical? What convinces you that they are not?

A number of reasons.


From the time that they were written they were rejected by the orthodox church.


Their origins were dubious and much later than the canonical Gospels.


Their theology is out of synch with the canonical Scripture.


Do you really want to assert that the pseudepigraphal infancy gospels (not to mention the rest of the pseudepigraphal writings) have as much claim to historicity as the canonical Gospels?
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Jeremy Loesch on April 01, 2020, 04:39:55 PM
I was asked today by an elder about tele-communion, virtual communion, whatever we want to call it.  His question is first, then my reply.  I share this to ask if my reply is good/sufficient/decent/helpful?  I have floated the idea of a ten minute-ish service which would include Confession and Absolution, Psalm 91, Creed, Lord's Prayer, Words of Institution/Distribution, Benediction.  The distribution would be "self serve"...a tray of individual glasses with lots of room in between, and the right number of wafers for the number of people that are there.  (Mom, Dad, teenage daughter comes forward, three wafers are removed from the cellophane sleeve and placed on the paten.)  We are fortunate to have a covered awning where people can drop people off in inclement weather.  A table would be set up with the communion ware and elements on it.  A sheet of paper would be printed off at home by the members or sheets would be printed for people to use and take with them.  That's what I aim to do one day during Holy Week.  The elders seem mostly on board with it.  But here is the communication I share with you. 

From the elder: "I'm not sure about having drive by communion. Is it possible to do face time with those who request communion? They would supply wine and bread, Pastor can consecrate the wine and bread and speak the appropriate words."

From me: "What I have in mind isn't "drive through" communion.  The person, couple, family would come to church, park in the lot, then they would stand with me under the awning for the ten-ish minute service.  

I'm very hesitant to do virtual communion or tele-communion because I think it works against the historic understanding of the Sacrament.  Communion was given to the Church to be administered in the Church at a time when the Church could be together.  For a time Christian congregations, and many other groups, aren't meeting together.  This time will come to an end at some point, and I sure wish I knew when.  Communion was meant to be done together, as the body.  I do not think that virtual communion is part of the best practices of the Christian church.  I'd like to try this ten minute service option first and see if that is helpful in this less-than-ideal situation we find ourselves in.
  
Thanks for thinking about this and asking.  pastor" 

Thanks to you for reading this and offering critiques, suggestions, etc.  As I wrote earlier, the horse is out of the barn, the toothpaste is out of the tube, the water is under the bridge, and innovative practices being introduced at a time when innovative practices aren't called for is going to have deletrious effects on the Church. 

Jeremy
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Rob Morris on April 01, 2020, 04:51:33 PM
This is how I wrote it to my congregation (recall, though: we are still meeting and communing in person as well):

If you are worshiping from home, I really wish I could say you can just commune from home during the live-stream. The problem is this (without getting too wordy): the Lord’s Supper is a mystery. We follow His words and example as best we can, trusting that He really does what He says He does, and that through simple bread and wine we receive Jesus’ own body and blood for forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation. We do this every time we gather together as His Word instructs us to do.

The further we deviate from His example and instruction, the less certain we can be that we are following His instruction. It isn’t that Jesus couldn’t possibly deliver His body and blood through a live-stream. The challenge is that to make this our practice would be so far from His clear example that it might raise as many questions as it answers. And since the whole point of communion is the assurance of the gifts that we are also receiving through the Word, through absolution, and through our own baptism, I think it is better that we not do so.

I long more and more for the joyous day when we can gather freely again, without any concern or doubt. I know so many of you do, too. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” (Matthew 5:6) Dead bodies do not hunger. Likewise, a sign of severe illness is often a total lack of appetite. If you hunger for the Word and Sacrament, then that hunger – uncomfortable as it maybe – is healthy. I feel it, too, and I long for the day we can worship together again without constraint.


All of my pastoral letters are linked here, for what they are worth: http://www.ctklutherannewtown.org/covid19-info.html (http://www.ctklutherannewtown.org/covid19-info.html)

I just looked back over all of them earlier this morning, and I think they've aged pretty well, despite the changing circumstances.

If you followed along with the earlier pages of this thread, you will recognize much that I and others wrote here in some of what I have written to the congregation.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on April 01, 2020, 05:00:59 PM

I would not read a harmonized version. On the Sunday of the Passion, we read the passion from the synoptic gospel for the year. On Good Friday, the passion from John is read.


However, on Christmas Eve, the birth stories from Luke and Matthew are read, not as a harmonized version, but as separate accounts as part of the eight readings and hymns we do that evening. There are some parallels in the accounts: an angel announcing the birth (to Mary in Luke and to Joseph in a dream in Matthew). There are unlikely visitors (shepherds in Luke and foreign magi in Matthew).

In the Orthodox Church the separate accounts of the Passion are read during the Royal Hours of Good Friday, each Gospel being read, in turn, at the First, Third, Sixth, and Ninth Hours.

A harmony of the Gospels is read during the "Unnailing" service at the Vesperal hour Good Friday afternoon.

Similarly, the Nativity narratives are read--unharmonized--during the Royal Hours of the Nativity.  Since there are fewer Gospels from which to read Luke and Matthew are each divided between two of the hours.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Jeremy Loesch on April 01, 2020, 07:17:03 PM
Rob, thank you for sharing that letter. I appreciate reading it.

Jeremy
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on April 01, 2020, 07:46:52 PM

Should we read these to better understand the Jesus of history?

No.


Why not? They claim to be historical? What convinces you that they are not?

A number of reasons.


From the time that they were written they were rejected by the orthodox church.


Their origins were dubious and much later than the canonical Gospels.


Their theology is out of synch with the canonical Scripture.


Do you really want to assert that the pseudepigraphal infancy gospels (not to mention the rest of the pseudepigraphal writings) have as much claim to historicity as the canonical Gospels?


No, I'm wondering about the claim that the canonical Gospel have a greater claim to historicity as the pseudepigraphal writings. What makes them more historical than the rejected writings?
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dave Benke on April 01, 2020, 09:55:40 PM
Here's what I'm finding.  No matter what I write, which is a little, it's what we put out on live-streaming that brings together folks from all over the place.  I wasn't ready for that, and still haven't wrapped my head around it, because ten times the weekly attendance of 100 is taking in Lenten midweek and Sunday services so far.  With three of us in the sanctuary
a) singing
b) reading Scripture
c) commenting on the readings
d) praying

There's a lot of need out there to hear a Gospel message.  A lot. 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: John_Hannah on April 02, 2020, 08:18:46 AM
On "living streaming consecration" ("distance consecration"). A week ago I said to myself this has never been done. I have to correct myself. Now I remember hearing of some fringe tele-evangelist doing just. Here's how it worked. For $19.99 (let us say) you can order a packet of elements and then consume them together with our TV crowd at the appropriate time."   :o ??? :(

Not a good precedent. Better to stay with Israel and Jesus in the wilderness.

Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dave Benke on April 02, 2020, 08:38:53 AM
On "living streaming consecration" ("distance consecration"). A week ago I said to myself this has never been done. I have to correct myself. Now I remember hearing of some fringe tele-evangelist doing just. Here's how it worked. For $19.99 (let us say) you can order a packet of elements and then consume them together with our TV crowd at the appropriate time."   :o ??? :(

Not a good precedent. Better to stay with Israel and Jesus in the wilderness.

Peace, JOHN

Right on the money, John - and free advice!  You could have trademarked "Stay with Jesus in the Wilderness - 10 ways to Beat Temptation in a Time of Trial" and sold pamphlets and dieting advice for those forced to stay at home for $19.99 but you didn't - I thank you for that, because I do intend to trademark that and bank it.  Not.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on April 02, 2020, 08:44:49 AM
From the elder: "I'm not sure about having drive by communion.

Rather than quibble about what the elder names your plan, perhaps he simply is taking seriously ""Stay at home!"

Remember Kolb's horizontal aspect of The Lord's Supper as well as the vertical? (See Will Weedon's eloquent explication below.)

Better to stay with Israel and Jesus in the wilderness.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Weedon on April 02, 2020, 08:46:51 AM
Psalm 42:4 (ESV)
These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival.

What we ache for, people loved by God, is not merely the Eucharist, but the Eucharist experienced in community, as the family of God of which we are a part gathers around the Table of the Lord to feast together. This is why I do not believe that merely celebrating a gajillion small Eucharists for families much less the Unding of a teleeucharist will come close to stilling the ache. It’s for the full Eucharistic feast, the multitude keeping festival together, that we long.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Terry W Culler on April 02, 2020, 11:09:50 AM

Should we read these to better understand the Jesus of history?

No.


Why not? They claim to be historical? What convinces you that they are not?

A number of reasons.


From the time that they were written they were rejected by the orthodox church.


Their origins were dubious and much later than the canonical Gospels.


Their theology is out of synch with the canonical Scripture.


Do you really want to assert that the pseudepigraphal infancy gospels (not to mention the rest of the pseudepigraphal writings) have as much claim to historicity as the canonical Gospels?


No, I'm wondering about the claim that the canonical Gospel have a greater claim to historicity as the pseudepigraphal writings. What makes them more historical than the rejected writings?

Try the fact that they are Spirit breathed
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: peter_speckhard on April 02, 2020, 11:16:25 AM
Psalm 42:4 (ESV)
These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival.

What we ache for, people loved by God, is not merely the Eucharist, but the Eucharist experienced in community, as the family of God of which we are a part gathers around the Table of the Lord to feast together. This is why I do not believe that merely celebrating a gajillion small Eucharists for families much less the Unding of a teleeucharist will come close to stilling the ache. It’s for the full Eucharistic feast, the multitude keeping festival together, that we long.
This also explains why there is so much angst about open and closed communion. It matters not merely that we commune, but with whom we commune. It is an act of proclamation and an act of faith within a community of faith.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Coach-Rev on April 02, 2020, 11:24:11 AM
we will indeed "live stream" the Eucharist.

and for our members, they will be allowed to come and pick up a small, pre-filled chalice, sealed, with wine (not juice), with a small piece of "methodist-like" bread underneath.

The verba will be spoken, as they take their individual cups at home.  They will then take and eat.  They will drink the new covenant.  Hopefully this will be Easter Sunday.  It depends on whether our supplies arrive before then.

Found one outfit in Indiana, "World Communion Cups," that provides them with wine, and not juice.  We ordered 200 of them, and that should give us two services' worth.  In this case it will truly be "members only" as they are the only ones who will know to come and pick them up ahead of time.  https://wccups.com/

I'm sure I'm violating all sorts of rubrics here, but extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Charles Austin on April 02, 2020, 12:27:25 PM
Peter writes:
This also explains why there is so much angst about open and closed communion. It matters not merely that we commune, but with whom we commune. It is an act of proclamation and an act of faith within a community of faith.
I comment:
No “angst” in my circles. Yes, it matters somewhat with whom we commune. But it doesn’t bother me or millions of other Lutherans if the person next to me happens to be a Methodist or a Presbyterian. Or maybe even a Baptist, who has not yet been dunked.
To insist that the Christian community is only created by a rather narrow circle of particular doctrine and/or practice, doesn’t seem right.To say that the proclamation of the gospel is somehow critically flawed or even not present in such a community just doesn’t seem right.
Unity and fellowship is created by the Word, not by the book of Concord.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: peter_speckhard on April 02, 2020, 01:13:32 PM
Peter writes:
This also explains why there is so much angst about open and closed communion. It matters not merely that we commune, but with whom we commune. It is an act of proclamation and an act of faith within a community of faith.
I comment:
No “angst” in my circles. Yes, it matters somewhat with whom we commune. But it doesn’t bother me or millions of other Lutherans if the person next to me happens to be a Methodist or a Presbyterian. Or maybe even a Baptist, who has not yet been dunked.
To insist that the Christian community is only created by a rather narrow circle of particular doctrine and/or practice, doesn’t seem right.To say that the proclamation of the gospel is somehow critically flawed or even not present in such a community just doesn’t seem right.
Unity and fellowship is created by the Word, not by the book of Concord.
Actually, lots of angst in your circles. We’re still hearing about Brian’s wife and the time she couldn’t take communion with her family. She could take communion at a church where she accepted the teaching, but it was important to her to receive communion at that particular place with those particular people, so it became a problem for her and Brian that remains to this day.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on April 02, 2020, 01:29:02 PM
Unity and fellowship is created by the Word, not by the book of Concord.

A blatant unLutheran attempt to play off the Confessions against Scripture.

"The Lutheran Confessions are a summary and explanation of the Bible. They are not placed over the Bible. They do not take the place of the Bible. The Book of Concord is how Lutherans are able to say, together, as a church, "This is what we believe. This is what we teach. This is what we confess." The reason we have the Book of Concord is because of how highly we value correct teaching and preaching of God's Word."

http://bookofconcord.org/faq.php
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dan Fienen on April 02, 2020, 02:36:57 PM
Peter writes:
This also explains why there is so much angst about open and closed communion. It matters not merely that we commune, but with whom we commune. It is an act of proclamation and an act of faith within a community of faith.
I comment:
No “angst” in my circles. Yes, it matters somewhat with whom we commune. But it doesn’t bother me or millions of other Lutherans if the person next to me happens to be a Methodist or a Presbyterian. Or maybe even a Baptist, who has not yet been dunked.
To insist that the Christian community is only created by a rather narrow circle of particular doctrine and/or practice, doesn’t seem right.To say that the proclamation of the gospel is somehow critically flawed or even not present in such a community just doesn’t seem right.
Unity and fellowship is created by the Word, not by the book of Concord.

Thinking especially of your last sentence, by Word, I presume that you mean Scripture. If Scripture alone is adequate to create unity and fellowship, why did the Church early on begin to develop creeds and confessions, leading to after a millennium and a half the Book of Concord? Are you asserting that any teaching and confession should be accepted as a true and accurate exposition of what Scripture says if those who hold it claim that it is? Thus are Arians, Monophysites, Trinitarians, Unitarians, those who believe in justification by grace through faith, Pelagians, decision theologians, those who hold that baptism is simply an act commanded by God that represents no action on God's part but the decision by the believer, those who hold for the real presence in Communion, those for the purely symbolic nature of the sacrament, etc. all perfectly acceptable Christian positions, accurate portrayals of what the Bible teaches? Or does it simply to your way of thinking not matter what a person believes?
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Charles Austin on April 02, 2020, 04:10:21 PM
Short answer, I hope, for we head down a twisty road.
No, Word is more than scripture, Word is Sacrament; Word is the actions of God in the world today; Word is the blessing that abounds with the presence of Jesus in the Christian community. Word is the living God in the world today.
There is no “perfectly acceptable Christian position,” and that includes my view and it includes yours. Our understanding is flawed, it has to be, we’re human. We do not know the full mind of God, we may be getting some things  wrong. It is the ultimate of pride to say that we know the perfect Christian position.
All our attempts at dogmatic perfectionism seem to me are designed to make sure that we are right and everyone else is wrong, to exclude from the community those whose views we don’t like or can’t understand. That keeps us “pure.”
In order to be “pure,“ do I have to pass judgment on the view of the sacrament held by everyone who comes up the aisle to receive? Does anybody do that?but keeps us “pure.“
No, would be impossible, but we pretend that we do it. And doing that we exclude people from our fellowship.
We can make some decisions based on good pastoral practice. For example I think everything I’ve heard these weeks about “distant consecration” or “telecommunion” are just batty.
But if someone in my church says they just don’t “get” this idea of Real Presence or they have a thoroughly Baptist view of holy Communion, I will continue to teach what I think is correct, but I’m not going to exclude them from receiving. Do you guys do that?
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dave Benke on April 02, 2020, 04:12:52 PM
Psalm 42:4 (ESV)
These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival.

What we ache for, people loved by God, is not merely the Eucharist, but the Eucharist experienced in community, as the family of God of which we are a part gathers around the Table of the Lord to feast together. This is why I do not believe that merely celebrating a gajillion small Eucharists for families much less the Unding of a teleeucharist will come close to stilling the ache. It’s for the full Eucharistic feast, the multitude keeping festival together, that we long.
This also explains why there is so much angst about open and closed communion. It matters not merely that we commune, but with whom we commune. It is an act of proclamation and an act of faith within a community of faith.

Speaking of angst, I received the unbidden email from the ACELC under subject line "The Abomination of the DIY Lay-Led Mass."  Just a tinge of angst in that header, no?  That linked to an article or blog in the publication Gottesdienst with a "funny" cartoon of a woman garbed up in home repair gear - "do it yourself".    It ends up being highly clericalist in tone, which I guess isn't unusual for Gottesdienst, but is kind of at a distance from what I understood to be ACELC.  The Neo-Euros (is that the right term?) putting the beatdown on the I Peter 2 crowd.  But the actual point is to put the beatdown on ecclesiastical supervisors who are or are not putting the beatdown on this de novo practice. 

Of course, every crisis provides an opportunity, and the ACELC seems sufficiently filled with angst to push the button right now in terms of handbook regulations and supervisors. 

I am on the same side as these folks when it comes to this practice, which is not really surprising.  We'll see what happens - what I believe is that the first shot out of the box should not be to seek expulsion, but to wrap heads in prayer around what the Church going forward for the next few years - not weeks or months - is going to do about providing the Eucharist to the faithful.  I personally don't think it's become a brave new world, and the practices of the early church, including deacons and elders taking the Meal to God's people, will need to be explored.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Steven W Bohler on April 02, 2020, 04:38:12 PM
Psalm 42:4 (ESV)
These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival.

What we ache for, people loved by God, is not merely the Eucharist, but the Eucharist experienced in community, as the family of God of which we are a part gathers around the Table of the Lord to feast together. This is why I do not believe that merely celebrating a gajillion small Eucharists for families much less the Unding of a teleeucharist will come close to stilling the ache. It’s for the full Eucharistic feast, the multitude keeping festival together, that we long.
This also explains why there is so much angst about open and closed communion. It matters not merely that we commune, but with whom we commune. It is an act of proclamation and an act of faith within a community of faith.

Speaking of angst, I received the unbidden email from the ACELC under subject line "The Abomination of the DIY Lay-Led Mass."  Just a tinge of angst in that header, no?  That linked to an article or blog in the publication Gottesdienst with a "funny" cartoon of a woman garbed up in home repair gear - "do it yourself".    It ends up being highly clericalist in tone, which I guess isn't unusual for Gottesdienst, but is kind of at a distance from what I understood to be ACELC.  The Neo-Euros (is that the right term?) putting the beatdown on the I Peter 2 crowd.  But the actual point is to put the beatdown on ecclesiastical supervisors who are or are not putting the beatdown on this de novo practice. 

Of course, every crisis provides an opportunity, and the ACELC seems sufficiently filled with angst to push the button right now in terms of handbook regulations and supervisors. 

I am on the same side as these folks when it comes to this practice, which is not really surprising.  We'll see what happens - what I believe is that the first shot out of the box should not be to seek expulsion, but to wrap heads in prayer around what the Church going forward for the next few years - not weeks or months - is going to do about providing the Eucharist to the faithful.  I personally don't think it's become a brave new world, and the practices of the early church, including deacons and elders taking the Meal to God's people, will need to be explored.

Dave Benke


I have not read either of those but am wondering: are they actually seeking expulsion for those pastors/congreations?
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Birkholz on April 02, 2020, 04:54:08 PM
Psalm 42:4 (ESV)
These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival.

What we ache for, people loved by God, is not merely the Eucharist, but the Eucharist experienced in community, as the family of God of which we are a part gathers around the Table of the Lord to feast together. This is why I do not believe that merely celebrating a gajillion small Eucharists for families much less the Unding of a teleeucharist will come close to stilling the ache. It’s for the full Eucharistic feast, the multitude keeping festival together, that we long.
This also explains why there is so much angst about open and closed communion. It matters not merely that we commune, but with whom we commune. It is an act of proclamation and an act of faith within a community of faith.

Speaking of angst, I received the unbidden email from the ACELC under subject line "The Abomination of the DIY Lay-Led Mass."  Just a tinge of angst in that header, no?  That linked to an article or blog in the publication Gottesdienst with a "funny" cartoon of a woman garbed up in home repair gear - "do it yourself".    It ends up being highly clericalist in tone, which I guess isn't unusual for Gottesdienst, but is kind of at a distance from what I understood to be ACELC.  The Neo-Euros (is that the right term?) putting the beatdown on the I Peter 2 crowd.  But the actual point is to put the beatdown on ecclesiastical supervisors who are or are not putting the beatdown on this de novo practice. 

Of course, every crisis provides an opportunity, and the ACELC seems sufficiently filled with angst to push the button right now in terms of handbook regulations and supervisors. 

I am on the same side as these folks when it comes to this practice, which is not really surprising.  We'll see what happens - what I believe is that the first shot out of the box should not be to seek expulsion, but to wrap heads in prayer around what the Church going forward for the next few years - not weeks or months - is going to do about providing the Eucharist to the faithful.  I personally don't think it's become a brave new world, and the practices of the early church, including deacons and elders taking the Meal to God's people, will need to be explored.

Dave Benke


I have not read either of those but am wondering: are they actually seeking expulsion for those pastors/congreations?

This video was posted today.  In it the pastor says that his congregation was threatened with expulsion.

https://youtu.be/UpAD4UQ3FYM (https://youtu.be/UpAD4UQ3FYM)
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Richard Johnson on April 02, 2020, 05:03:08 PM
Psalm 42:4 (ESV)
These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival.

What we ache for, people loved by God, is not merely the Eucharist, but the Eucharist experienced in community, as the family of God of which we are a part gathers around the Table of the Lord to feast together. This is why I do not believe that merely celebrating a gajillion small Eucharists for families much less the Unding of a teleeucharist will come close to stilling the ache. It’s for the full Eucharistic feast, the multitude keeping festival together, that we long.

What Will said.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Richard Johnson on April 02, 2020, 05:11:07 PM

I'm sure I'm violating all sorts of rubrics here, but extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures.

In my view, this is really a fallacy. Yes, we are in extraordinary times in many respects. But in other respects, we are not at all in extraordinary times. We are still in full (even enhanced) communication with one another. We are struggling with theological/pastoral/liturgical issues together. We are in a situation that is likely going to last some weeks, even months, but not forever, with no hope of changing.

So the "measures" that we take ought to be taken only after full conversation, study, prayer and consensus not just locally (unless you are, by conviction, a radical congregationalist) but corporately. I don't know what advice you are getting in the NALC, but both the ELCA PB and most of the synod bishops have offered consistent advice that now is a time for fasting from the Eucharist. This is consistent with what Episcopal bishops and Roman Catholic bishops have said, far as I can see.

Find yourself and your congregation the only island of civilization left in dystopian world, and then we can talk "extraordinary times." But for now, in my view, we need to be making decisions together for the good of the whole church.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Richard Johnson on April 02, 2020, 05:15:46 PM

This video was posted today.  In it the pastor says that his congregation was threatened with expulsion.

https://youtu.be/UpAD4UQ3FYM (https://youtu.be/UpAD4UQ3FYM)

I'm not big on the heresy hunters stalking web sites and then complaining to the District President, but frankly this guy's sideways anger at both those pastors and the DP is a real turn-off.

One key here is the admission that the decision for "live-streamed communion" was his alone, that he didn't consult anybody else, his DP, his colleagues. He should have.

That said, one can only pray for him in the pain he is obviously feeling, and for his health (he apparently has an incurable illness). And one can cut him some slack and be gentle.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Charles Austin on April 02, 2020, 05:16:44 PM
What Richard said.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: RDPreus on April 02, 2020, 05:21:07 PM
Psalm 42:4 (ESV)
These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival.

What we ache for, people loved by God, is not merely the Eucharist, but the Eucharist experienced in community, as the family of God of which we are a part gathers around the Table of the Lord to feast together. This is why I do not believe that merely celebrating a gajillion small Eucharists for families much less the Unding of a teleeucharist will come close to stilling the ache. It’s for the full Eucharistic feast, the multitude keeping festival together, that we long.
This also explains why there is so much angst about open and closed communion. It matters not merely that we commune, but with whom we commune. It is an act of proclamation and an act of faith within a community of faith.

Speaking of angst, I received the unbidden email from the ACELC under subject line "The Abomination of the DIY Lay-Led Mass."  Just a tinge of angst in that header, no?  That linked to an article or blog in the publication Gottesdienst with a "funny" cartoon of a woman garbed up in home repair gear - "do it yourself".    It ends up being highly clericalist in tone, which I guess isn't unusual for Gottesdienst, but is kind of at a distance from what I understood to be ACELC.  The Neo-Euros (is that the right term?) putting the beatdown on the I Peter 2 crowd.  But the actual point is to put the beatdown on ecclesiastical supervisors who are or are not putting the beatdown on this de novo practice. 

Of course, every crisis provides an opportunity, and the ACELC seems sufficiently filled with angst to push the button right now in terms of handbook regulations and supervisors. 

I am on the same side as these folks when it comes to this practice, which is not really surprising.  We'll see what happens - what I believe is that the first shot out of the box should not be to seek expulsion, but to wrap heads in prayer around what the Church going forward for the next few years - not weeks or months - is going to do about providing the Eucharist to the faithful.  I personally don't think it's become a brave new world, and the practices of the early church, including deacons and elders taking the Meal to God's people, will need to be explored.

Dave Benke


I have not read either of those but am wondering: are they actually seeking expulsion for those pastors/congreations?

No, they have not.  This is what they said: "Will the District Presidents or the Synod rebuke these pastors and their congregations?  Will they be held accountable for their actions?  Will there be any church discipline where there is no repentance?

"We certainly hope and pray this will take place, but the recent history of our beloved Synod has often shown that such is not the case.  And this is precisely the reason the ACELC was formed in 2011."

To say that the first "shot out of the box" of the ACELC is to "seek expulsion" of those congregations that are misusing the sacrament is to put the worst construction on what they wrote.  Their scheduled conference in June is devoted to the topic of ecclesiastical supervision.  This was the topic and agenda long before this coronavirus pandemic came along.  It was appropriate and timely for the men of the ACELC to write what they wrote. 
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on April 02, 2020, 05:32:21 PM
Peter writes:
This also explains why there is so much angst about open and closed communion. It matters not merely that we commune, but with whom we commune. It is an act of proclamation and an act of faith within a community of faith.
I comment:
No “angst” in my circles. Yes, it matters somewhat with whom we commune. But it doesn’t bother me or millions of other Lutherans if the person next to me happens to be a Methodist or a Presbyterian. Or maybe even a Baptist, who has not yet been dunked.
To insist that the Christian community is only created by a rather narrow circle of particular doctrine and/or practice, doesn’t seem right.To say that the proclamation of the gospel is somehow critically flawed or even not present in such a community just doesn’t seem right.
Unity and fellowship is created by the Word, not by the book of Concord.
Actually, lots of angst in your circles. We’re still hearing about Brian’s wife and the time she couldn’t take communion with her family. She could take communion at a church where she accepted the teaching, but it was important to her to receive communion at that particular place with those particular people, so it became a problem for her and Brian that remains to this day.

What I boldfaced is precisely the problem. She accepted the LCMS's teaching. That's what she had been taught in confirmation and in an LCMS college. (It's also what I was taught about the LCMS back then.) Pastors would quiz visitors to see if they had the proper understanding of the sacrament. Those who agreed with the LCMS's teachings were welcome to share it. She was refused communion not because of her beliefs, but because she was no longer a member of an LCMS congregation. The pastor never talked to her about her beliefs. Upon learning about her church membership from her parents, he declared that she couldn't commune with them.


As they say, the goalpost had been moved from what we had been taught.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Richard Johnson on April 02, 2020, 05:41:07 PM
Paul Hinlicky weighs in on virtual communion, a very thoughtful perspective:

http://mcsletstalk.org/communion-and-community/why-virtual-communion-is-not-nearly-radical-enough/?fbclid=IwAR1wRwV_ZgYej0ege7SjhmDkNx4GjyiUsAeANcyAmSCswL46FE94EzaH7z4 (http://mcsletstalk.org/communion-and-community/why-virtual-communion-is-not-nearly-radical-enough/?fbclid=IwAR1wRwV_ZgYej0ege7SjhmDkNx4GjyiUsAeANcyAmSCswL46FE94EzaH7z4)
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on April 02, 2020, 05:47:12 PM
Psalm 42:4 (ESV)
These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival.

What we ache for, people loved by God, is not merely the Eucharist, but the Eucharist experienced in community, as the family of God of which we are a part gathers around the Table of the Lord to feast together. This is why I do not believe that merely celebrating a gajillion small Eucharists for families much less the Unding of a teleeucharist will come close to stilling the ache. It’s for the full Eucharistic feast, the multitude keeping festival together, that we long.

What Will said.


Couldn't we who are ordained, consecrate elements for the folks living in our house? I often did that for our shut-ins. I have not done that, nor do I plan to. Communion is meant for the community that is gathered together. Because of their special circumstances, shut-ins are not able to attend the assembly, but they become part of it as Sunday bulletins and readings and shortened sermon are part of the ritual. Even more so, as we are returning to the first-second century practice of having deacons take the consecrated elements to those who are unable to assemble, they are treated as part of the gathered community - but at a distance.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: peter_speckhard on April 02, 2020, 06:08:05 PM
Peter writes:
This also explains why there is so much angst about open and closed communion. It matters not merely that we commune, but with whom we commune. It is an act of proclamation and an act of faith within a community of faith.
I comment:
No “angst” in my circles. Yes, it matters somewhat with whom we commune. But it doesn’t bother me or millions of other Lutherans if the person next to me happens to be a Methodist or a Presbyterian. Or maybe even a Baptist, who has not yet been dunked.
To insist that the Christian community is only created by a rather narrow circle of particular doctrine and/or practice, doesn’t seem right.To say that the proclamation of the gospel is somehow critically flawed or even not present in such a community just doesn’t seem right.
Unity and fellowship is created by the Word, not by the book of Concord.
Actually, lots of angst in your circles. We’re still hearing about Brian’s wife and the time she couldn’t take communion with her family. She could take communion at a church where she accepted the teaching, but it was important to her to receive communion at that particular place with those particular people, so it became a problem for her and Brian that remains to this day.

What I boldfaced is precisely the problem. She accepted the LCMS's teaching. That's what she had been taught in confirmation and in an LCMS college. (It's also what I was taught about the LCMS back then.) Pastors would quiz visitors to see if they had the proper understanding of the sacrament. Those who agreed with the LCMS's teachings were welcome to share it. She was refused communion not because of her beliefs, but because she was no longer a member of an LCMS congregation. The pastor never talked to her about her beliefs. Upon learning about her church membership from her parents, he declared that she couldn't commune with them.


As they say, the goalpost had been moved from what we had been taught.
Was the congregation where she held membership in altar and pulpit fellowship with the LCMS? If so, then that pastor acted alone and not in accord with agreed upon LCMS doctrine and practice. If not, then the problem was that she was seeking communion in churches not in fellowship with each other based on where she happened to be that Sunday.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Coach-Rev on April 02, 2020, 06:32:09 PM
Having not been privy to much discussion outside of this thread, I was unaware of some of the historicity around a sacramental fast.  and though we are somewhat of an island unto ourselves out here in the great plains, and though we've been given "some" dispensation to do things in order to fulfill needs that might not be done everywhere (being mindful of keeping doctrine intact, of course), I'm rethinking it.  Thanks.


I'm sure I'm violating all sorts of rubrics here, but extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures.

In my view, this is really a fallacy. Yes, we are in extraordinary times in many respects. But in other respects, we are not at all in extraordinary times. We are still in full (even enhanced) communication with one another. We are struggling with theological/pastoral/liturgical issues together. We are in a situation that is likely going to last some weeks, even months, but not forever, with no hope of changing.

So the "measures" that we take ought to be taken only after full conversation, study, prayer and consensus not just locally (unless you are, by conviction, a radical congregationalist) but corporately. I don't know what advice you are getting in the NALC, but both the ELCA PB and most of the synod bishops have offered consistent advice that now is a time for fasting from the Eucharist. This is consistent with what Episcopal bishops and Roman Catholic bishops have said, far as I can see.

Find yourself and your congregation the only island of civilization left in dystopian world, and then we can talk "extraordinary times." But for now, in my view, we need to be making decisions together for the good of the whole church.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on April 02, 2020, 06:46:52 PM
Peter writes:
This also explains why there is so much angst about open and closed communion. It matters not merely that we commune, but with whom we commune. It is an act of proclamation and an act of faith within a community of faith.
I comment:
No “angst” in my circles. Yes, it matters somewhat with whom we commune. But it doesn’t bother me or millions of other Lutherans if the person next to me happens to be a Methodist or a Presbyterian. Or maybe even a Baptist, who has not yet been dunked.
To insist that the Christian community is only created by a rather narrow circle of particular doctrine and/or practice, doesn’t seem right.To say that the proclamation of the gospel is somehow critically flawed or even not present in such a community just doesn’t seem right.
Unity and fellowship is created by the Word, not by the book of Concord.
Actually, lots of angst in your circles. We’re still hearing about Brian’s wife and the time she couldn’t take communion with her family. She could take communion at a church where she accepted the teaching, but it was important to her to receive communion at that particular place with those particular people, so it became a problem for her and Brian that remains to this day.

What I boldfaced is precisely the problem. She accepted the LCMS's teaching. That's what she had been taught in confirmation and in an LCMS college. (It's also what I was taught about the LCMS back then.) Pastors would quiz visitors to see if they had the proper understanding of the sacrament. Those who agreed with the LCMS's teachings were welcome to share it. She was refused communion not because of her beliefs, but because she was no longer a member of an LCMS congregation. The pastor never talked to her about her beliefs. Upon learning about her church membership from her parents, he declared that she couldn't commune with them.


As they say, the goalpost had been moved from what we had been taught.
Was the congregation where she held membership in altar and pulpit fellowship with the LCMS? If so, then that pastor acted alone and not in accord with agreed upon LCMS doctrine and practice. If not, then the problem was that she was seeking communion in churches not in fellowship with each other based on where she happened to be that Sunday.


Again, you are reflecting the later understanding of church membership and fellowship; rather than having the proper belief about the Real Presence that we had been taught earlier. When we got married, and when she joined an ALC congregation, we were in fellowship. The LCMS was a different church body in the 70's.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dave Benke on April 02, 2020, 07:13:37 PM
Paul Hinlicky weighs in on virtual communion, a very thoughtful perspective:

http://mcsletstalk.org/communion-and-community/why-virtual-communion-is-not-nearly-radical-enough/?fbclid=IwAR1wRwV_ZgYej0ege7SjhmDkNx4GjyiUsAeANcyAmSCswL46FE94EzaH7z4 (http://mcsletstalk.org/communion-and-community/why-virtual-communion-is-not-nearly-radical-enough/?fbclid=IwAR1wRwV_ZgYej0ege7SjhmDkNx4GjyiUsAeANcyAmSCswL46FE94EzaH7z4)

This is just A-1 Alpha material and food for thought throughout the time of fasting.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: John Koke on April 02, 2020, 07:42:08 PM

This video was posted today.  In it the pastor says that his congregation was threatened with expulsion.

https://youtu.be/UpAD4UQ3FYM (https://youtu.be/UpAD4UQ3FYM)

I'm not big on the heresy hunters stalking web sites and then complaining to the District President, but frankly this guy's sideways anger at both those pastors and the DP is a real turn-off.

One key here is the admission that the decision for "live-streamed communion" was his alone, that he didn't consult anybody else, his DP, his colleagues. He should have.

That said, one can only pray for him in the pain he is obviously feeling, and for his health (he apparently has an incurable illness). And one can cut him some slack and be gentle.

Stage IV cancer.  (Disclaimer, my grandparents were members there so I still have family connections with the congregation.)
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on April 02, 2020, 07:53:32 PM
Paul Hinlicky weighs in on virtual communion, a very thoughtful perspective:

http://mcsletstalk.org/communion-and-community/why-virtual-communion-is-not-nearly-radical-enough/?fbclid=IwAR1wRwV_ZgYej0ege7SjhmDkNx4GjyiUsAeANcyAmSCswL46FE94EzaH7z4 (http://mcsletstalk.org/communion-and-community/why-virtual-communion-is-not-nearly-radical-enough/?fbclid=IwAR1wRwV_ZgYej0ege7SjhmDkNx4GjyiUsAeANcyAmSCswL46FE94EzaH7z4)

Indeed! Thank you. Really fleshes out Kolb's vertical - horizontal aspect of the Lord's Supper. Among other things, of course.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Jeremy Loesch on April 02, 2020, 08:18:55 PM

This video was posted today.  In it the pastor says that his congregation was threatened with expulsion.

https://youtu.be/UpAD4UQ3FYM (https://youtu.be/UpAD4UQ3FYM)

I'm not big on the heresy hunters stalking web sites and then complaining to the District President, but frankly this guy's sideways anger at both those pastors and the DP is a real turn-off.

One key here is the admission that the decision for "live-streamed communion" was his alone, that he didn't consult anybody else, his DP, his colleagues. He should have.

That said, one can only pray for him in the pain he is obviously feeling, and for his health (he apparently has an incurable illness). And one can cut him some slack and be gentle.

I agree with you Richard that now is not the time to be heresy hunting. And his self-righteousness was amusing. I don't think he accurately relayed the conversation he had with DP Miller. That is completely at odds with every other picture I have of him.

And I don't believe he is acting alone. The churches that are advocating and planning and have already done this are usingthe same talking points.

Lastly, the pastor is dying of cancer. He is a cancer survivor, it was in remission, and now it has come back. He recently announced that he is going on full disability but is not resigninghis call and will help in the process for his replacement. The pastor and I were at the St. Louis seminary together. He's a nice guy. Friendly. But this is not what we learned at seminary.

Jeremy
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Steven W Bohler on April 02, 2020, 08:38:10 PM

This video was posted today.  In it the pastor says that his congregation was threatened with expulsion.

https://youtu.be/UpAD4UQ3FYM (https://youtu.be/UpAD4UQ3FYM)

I'm not big on the heresy hunters stalking web sites and then complaining to the District President, but frankly this guy's sideways anger at both those pastors and the DP is a real turn-off.

One key here is the admission that the decision for "live-streamed communion" was his alone, that he didn't consult anybody else, his DP, his colleagues. He should have.

That said, one can only pray for him in the pain he is obviously feeling, and for his health (he apparently has an incurable illness). And one can cut him some slack and be gentle.

I agree with you Richard that now is not the time to be heresy hunting. And his self-righteousness was amusing. I don't think he accurately relayed the conversation he had with DP Miller. That is completely at odds with every other picture I have of him.

And I don't believe he is acting alone. The churches that are advocating and planning and have already done this are usingthe same talking points.

Lastly, the pastor is dying of cancer. He is a cancer survivor, it was in remission, and now it has come back. He recently announced that he is going on full disability but is not resigninghis call and will help in the process for his replacement. The pastor and I were at the St. Louis seminary together. He's a nice guy. Friendly. But this is not what we learned at seminary.

Jeremy

Rev. Trickey mentioned the names of the two district pastors who had complained to their common district president.  One of those two is a synodical vice-president and so has some oversight in such matters; that he requested the district president get involved only shows a further concern for handling this appropriately.  I think perhaps Dr. Benke was overstating things when he spoke of people immediately trying to expel pastors/congregations.  This appears to have been handled quite by the procedures to which our synod has agreed.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on April 02, 2020, 09:03:47 PM
Jeremy,

I don't recall him. He would have been 2nd year when we were 4th year, and he would been on vicarage when you did your CPE after graduation.

Which congregation was his field church?
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Voelker on April 02, 2020, 09:20:02 PM
Back in the 80s Nebraska had rural parishes that wanted to practice long-distance communion via videotape or piped-in video from elsewhere, due to pastors not being able to get around to them too often because of distance. This practice was rejected, and I thought the whole matter had been put to bed in the LCMS.

While I agree that this is no time to dogpile anyone, I do hope that this is taken as a signal by our seminaries that their theological education has been insufficiently rigorous, and that we are turning out pastors who have not been trained to think theologically, and who clearly do not have Wittenbergian thought-patterns down. The current flooding has exposed foundations in need of repair, and we should regard such a discovery as salutary, something to be acted upon in a proper season.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Jeremy Loesch on April 02, 2020, 09:25:44 PM
I think he was one year behind us. So he would have been placed in 2000. Played basketball. Don't know which congregation was his field ed site.

Jeremy
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on April 02, 2020, 09:38:39 PM
WJV,

That is quite an unfair accusation. As Jeremy has pointed out, he did not learn this at Sem. At least a couple of times I have mentioned Dr. Kolb's vertical-horizontal aspect of the Lord' Supper. If he was a year (or two) behind me, I guarantee you that he did not learn such a theological viewpoint at Sem StL!

That said, I asked Jeremy where this guy did his field work. There were some of those churches- St John's, Ellisville is the prime example- where the students out there learned an entirely different lib theology. The students seemed to simply do the "cooperate and graduate" thing and then went out and did their own thing.

I was blessed. I told the placement guy that I liked liturgy. I was assigned to the sainted Dr. Lee Maxwell! My training couldn't have gotten any better. And I got to meet and listen to a couple of lectures by his good friend, Will Weedon! I even got to do pulpit supply one Sunday at St Paul, Hamel!

It was diversified too. E.g., I listened to a lecture there by James Nestingen and was totally taken. I later took a Confession/Absolution class of his at Luther Seminary, St Paul, driving 600 miles round trip once a week!
 
Bottom line, I received an excellent, solid theological education at Sem StL. Goodness, I studied at the feet of Nagel, Kolb, Voelz, Gibbs, Bartelt, Feuerhahn, Rossow, and so many others. Since this pastor was there at about the same time, I take exception to the suggestion that his education was "insufficiently rigorous."
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Rob Morris on April 02, 2020, 10:22:54 PM
In my view, this is really a fallacy. Yes, we are in extraordinary times in many respects. But in other respects, we are not at all in extraordinary times...

https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2020/april/most-churches-have-stopped-gathering-few-plan-to-meet-on-ea.html

When 93% of churches have closed their doors, I think we have probably met the threshold for extraordinary times. Then the discussion can ensue what is to be done in extraordinary times... and that discussion should be honest and even include the voices that make us a bit uncomfortable.

I don't agree with the practice of live-streamed communion. But I believe those who would pronounce it heretical had better have more Biblical and Confessional passages in mind than what I have seen. Heteropraxy? Yup. Heterodoxy? Quite possibly. Heresy? As in... people risk hell for believing it? Ummm...

And as I started the thread - livestreaming the Service of the Word while the church doors are locked is also an innovation, unknown to the church until right now. Why is that innovation not opposed by the same Confessional passages that oppose de novo activities? Why fast only from communion? These are questions that deserve some air-time as well.

So, the discussion should be had: what does it mean to be the church in extraordinary times?

But loading up the circular firing squad isn't the answer. And, in fairness, neither is sniping back at them.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Voelker on April 03, 2020, 01:54:37 AM
WJV,

That is quite an unfair accusation. As Jeremy has pointed out, he did not learn this at Sem. At least a couple of times I have mentioned Dr. Kolb's vertical-horizontal aspect of the Lord' Supper. If he was a year (or two) behind me, I guarantee you that he did not learn such a theological viewpoint at Sem StL!

That said, I asked Jeremy where this guy did his field work. There were some of those churches- St John's, Ellisville is the prime example- where the students out there learned an entirely different lib theology. The students seemed to simply do the "cooperate and graduate" thing and then went out and did their own thing.

I was blessed. I told the placement guy that I liked liturgy. I was assigned to the sainted Dr. Lee Maxwell! My training couldn't have gotten any better. And I got to meet and listen to a couple of lectures by his good friend, Will Weedon! I even got to do pulpit supply one Sunday at St Paul, Hamel!

It was diversified too. E.g., I listened to a lecture there by James Nestingen and was totally taken. I later took a Confession/Absolution class of his at Luther Seminary, St Paul, driving 600 miles round trip once a week!
 
Bottom line, I received an excellent, solid theological education at Sem StL. Goodness, I studied at the feet of Nagel, Kolb, Voelz, Gibbs, Bartelt, Feuerhahn, Rossow, and so many others. Since this pastor was there at about the same time, I take exception to the suggestion that his education was "insufficiently rigorous."
I had most of those same profs, too, and paid attention to what they said (as did many others...but just how many?). And Nestingen rocks. My concern is not what is being taught at the sems — it's accurate, at the very least — but what is being learned in those places. You availed yourself of the opportunities in front of you, which is great. But what of those who didn't, or who somehow got through without getting things straight? How many are out there? If this was one church engaging in virtual communion, then it would be one church engaging in virtual communion and there would be local/district discussions that would deal with it, as is proper.  Individual pastors and parishes do their things for good or bad all the time, and there's no reason to get too excited when it happens. Yet this one parish was not alone in doing this, which suggests that the problem is far more wide-ranging — and, as I have run into a good number of pastors who either didn't care about what they had been taught at seminary, or who came through seminary unmarked by it, I can say that it appears pretty clear that the holes in the final sieve in the system are a bit too large.

A side question: do you really think that the field work churches have that much sway over the students? These are men in their 20s, supposedly college-educated, and they are so swayed by the field church they spend an hour or two at a week that it completely overrides the rest of their education? What sort of men are these? Did they grow up in Lutheran churches? Cooperate and Graduate was and probably still is a thing, as in any institution. What I'm missing is the connection of that phenomenon with field work assignments.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: James J Eivan on April 03, 2020, 02:45:21 AM
Psalm 42:4 (ESV)
These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival.

What we ache for, people loved by God, is not merely the Eucharist, but the Eucharist experienced in community, as the family of God of which we are a part gathers around the Table of the Lord to feast together. This is why I do not believe that merely celebrating a gajillion small Eucharists for families much less the Unding of a teleeucharist will come close to stilling the ache. It’s for the full Eucharistic feast, the multitude keeping festival together, that we long.
Having great respect for Rev Weedon,  it's difficult to grasp that one should forgo the blessings of the Sacrament because of lack of (or too small) community.


Despite having a greater number of followers,  our Lord initially instituted His Sacrament with a mere dozen around the table ... including himself.


Whether a time of fasting or time or receiving the Sacrament in groups of ten or less, my our Lord strengthen and preserve us to life everlasting.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on April 03, 2020, 03:01:29 AM
Bottom line, I received an excellent, solid theological education at Sem StL. Goodness, I studied at the feet of Nagel, Kolb, Voelz, Gibbs, Bartelt, Feuerhahn, Rossow, and so many others. Since this pastor was there at about the same time, I take exception to the suggestion that his education was "insufficiently rigorous."
Having a seminary offer an excellent, solid theological education is no guarantee that students will learn it. In visiting with graduates of Luther Seminary, I asked about a classmate of theirs with whom I had gone to Bible School. They chuckled a little at his name and said: “He’s the only student they knew who went through four years of seminary and didn’t learn a damn thing.” He was ordained, but didn’t stay on the roster too long. We had students at our seminary who refused to read some of the authors they were assigned, like Bultmann. No one was required to agree with him or his demythologizing of texts, but we were still supposed to read him, understand his arguments, and if disagreeing, form counter-arguments.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on April 03, 2020, 03:05:00 AM
In my view, this is really a fallacy. Yes, we are in extraordinary times in many respects. But in other respects, we are not at all in extraordinary times...

https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2020/april/most-churches-have-stopped-gathering-few-plan-to-meet-on-ea.html (https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2020/april/most-churches-have-stopped-gathering-few-plan-to-meet-on-ea.html)

When 93% of churches have closed their doors, I think we have probably met the threshold for extraordinary times. Then the discussion can ensue what is to be done in extraordinary times... and that discussion should be honest and even include the voices that make us a bit uncomfortable.

I don't agree with the practice of live-streamed communion. But I believe those who would pronounce it heretical had better have more Biblical and Confessional passages in mind than what I have seen. Heteropraxy? Yup. Heterodoxy? Quite possibly. Heresy? As in... people risk hell for believing it? Ummm...

And as I started the thread - livestreaming the Service of the Word while the church doors are locked is also an innovation, unknown to the church until right now. Why is that innovation not opposed by the same Confessional passages that oppose de novo activities? Why fast only from communion? These are questions that deserve some air-time as well.

So, the discussion should be had: what does it mean to be the church in extraordinary times?

But loading up the circular firing squad isn't the answer. And, in fairness, neither is sniping back at them.


While live streaming is new, televising worship service is nearly as old as television.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Charles Austin on April 03, 2020, 04:01:10 AM
FWIW, churches have not “closed” or “locked” their doors. The church I attend is open every day, with one of the pastors always there, 9am to 4:30pm.
I don’t know what goes on, but I know if I were there and someone came, we would sit 6-8 feet apart and talk. And if appropriate, I would offer the Sacrament, just as I used to do in visiting shut-ins. The mass kit would be on my desk, and we could do this while maintaining the no-contact, proper distance protocol.
Right now, I do not find anything appealing or theologically or pastorally sound about “streaming” the sacrament or “telecommunion.” Feels too much like the late Oral Roberts years ago asking viewers to put their hand on the TV set to receive a blessing. We heard some people wrote and asked whether the brand of the set mattered.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Rob Morris on April 03, 2020, 08:06:27 AM
In my view, this is really a fallacy. Yes, we are in extraordinary times in many respects. But in other respects, we are not at all in extraordinary times...

https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2020/april/most-churches-have-stopped-gathering-few-plan-to-meet-on-ea.html (https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2020/april/most-churches-have-stopped-gathering-few-plan-to-meet-on-ea.html)

When 93% of churches have closed their doors, I think we have probably met the threshold for extraordinary times. Then the discussion can ensue what is to be done in extraordinary times... and that discussion should be honest and even include the voices that make us a bit uncomfortable.

I don't agree with the practice of live-streamed communion. But I believe those who would pronounce it heretical had better have more Biblical and Confessional passages in mind than what I have seen. Heteropraxy? Yup. Heterodoxy? Quite possibly. Heresy? As in... people risk hell for believing it? Ummm...

And as I started the thread - livestreaming the Service of the Word while the church doors are locked is also an innovation, unknown to the church until right now. Why is that innovation not opposed by the same Confessional passages that oppose de novo activities? Why fast only from communion? These are questions that deserve some air-time as well.

So, the discussion should be had: what does it mean to be the church in extraordinary times?

But loading up the circular firing squad isn't the answer. And, in fairness, neither is sniping back at them.


While live streaming is new, televising worship service is nearly as old as television.

But televising worship while preventing anyone from attending is not.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Rob Morris on April 03, 2020, 08:11:09 AM
FWIW, churches have not “closed” or “locked” their doors. The church I attend is open every day, with one of the pastors always there, 9am to 4:30pm.
I don’t know what goes on, but I know if I were there and someone came, we would sit 6-8 feet apart and talk. And if appropriate, I would offer the Sacrament, just as I used to do in visiting shut-ins. The mass kit would be on my desk, and we could do this while maintaining the no-contact, proper distance protocol.
And offering this while prohibiting public worship is your church's usual practice? Or an innovation necessitated by the current realities?

My point isn't that the solution is wrong, but that it, too, is novel.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dave Benke on April 03, 2020, 08:50:20 AM
The pastor's video is arresting.  Not only in the sense that he/his church's practice have been placed under arrest, but in the sense that he speaks literally from his deathbed there in the sanctuary.  The procedure or protocol in these times is somewhat foreshortened, although I don't have the updated bylaws in hand so I could be wrong.  The pastors who went to the district president didn't, apparently, speak with the pastor at all to remonstrate, discuss, pray or otherwise interact with him.  Which when I was a district president, I would have spoken to those two pastors about - talk to the brother and let him know about what he and his congregation has done.  Listen to the brother as well.  No doubt in this case the brother/pastor now understands that he's officially been abandoned by the wider church body in a pastoral way at his life's end, quarantined into the grave.  Maybe that can be and is being repaired; I would hope so.  I did serve for I think two of my terms with that DP, and he was both evangelical and pastoral in his approach. 

Once again, the point of reference for the discussion is the threat to and abrogation of the pastoral office.  At least that's the way the theological approach is explained in the video.  A more comprehensive theological approach, as articulated by Hinlicky, is not presented either in this video or in the connections to online blogs like Gottesdienst.  They are protecting the ordained clergy role as the linchpin of what church is.  Of course, there's way more to it than that, as Hinlicky and I'm sure others (Kolb?) teach and articulate.  And in that sense, there is way more opportunity to present an enduring direction for our interaction with society as well as our own fellowships.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Charles Austin on April 03, 2020, 09:03:28 AM
Pastor Morris, my comment is only a slight textual protest concerning the language which says that churches are "closed" with their doors "locked."
Nothing we do these days is "normal" in the grand sense, but so long as we and our fellow Christians have breath and so long as the Spirit inspires us to preach and teach and serve, churches, or more importantly, "The Church" is not closed, its doors are not locked.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dave Benke on April 03, 2020, 09:05:22 AM
Something brewing in my noggin that may be ripe for live-streaming among our memberships.  And I'm sure it's being done in zoom formats already. 

This is going to be a tough Sunday for me/us in Brooklyn.  Because it has been for a full biblical generation of 40 years the Sunday when those preparing for Holy Communion receive their first Eucharist.  And one of the questions I always ask in the public examination of those 9-10 year olds is to give other words for Holy Communion, one of which is invariably "Eucharist."  And someone or two of the kids then always volunteer to spell it for the congregation, and say what it means. 

In the teaching format, we begin by talking with the kids about their family mealtime habits, because we're going to be talking about a Holy Meal.   And then the kids recount their family mealtime habits, which in working class/working poor households tend to be catch as catch can, because shift workers and two job workers can't be scheduled to sit everyone down together. 

That has changed.  Dramatically.  So people are eating with family together.  My thought is to ask congregants once a week/month/whatever we figure out to eat together at a given time, with as many of us as possible at the online zoom table.  And we'd share recipes, conversation, how we've changed in the way we spend our mealtime, whether there's enough, etc.  And in that way whether through the zoom thing or just by interaction kind of re-boot, re-sanctify a habit I certainly grew up with which was the family meal with prayers before and after and a devotion at the table from Little Visits with God.  I'm going to push that this morning to my congregational email/phone list and see what happens. 

Because something is happening - people in family groups are eating together in the same space like never before.  It's not the Sacrament, but it is sacramental.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Rob Morris on April 03, 2020, 09:22:51 AM
Pastor Morris, my comment is only a slight textual protest concerning the language which says that churches are "closed" with their doors "locked."
Nothing we do these days is "normal" in the grand sense, but so long as we and our fellow Christians have breath and so long as the Spirit inspires us to preach and teach and serve, churches, or more importantly, "The Church" is not closed, its doors are not locked.

I hear you, and I think yours is an important point to maintain... In terms of hours of availability, some churches are more open than ever before - a nice message to get out to people, indeed.

But I still stand by my statement, which read: livestreaming the Service of the Word while the church doors are locked is also an innovation. Most churches are livestreaming services while preventing parishioners from attendance. And that is novel in the 2000-year life of the church. But this novelty has raised very few eyebrows, and some raised eyebrows have not been raised very far. And that surprises me.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Charles Austin on April 03, 2020, 11:32:50 AM
I'm not sure I understand, Pastor Morris, why "preventing parishioners from attendance" in this situation should raise eyebrows. If the building department told me the roof was about to fall in, I would prevent people from coming to church. So if the dangers of infection, transmission of a terrible virus, or disease existed when people came to church, why should we not tell them: "Right now, don't come, we won't have services"?
I wonder if, in the days of persecution those earliest centuries, whether the elders of the community might have said at times "The Romans are really on the prowl for us this week; let's not get together."?
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Coach-Rev on April 03, 2020, 11:51:08 AM
having now been accosted and lambasted by both sides on this issue in the past 24 hours, I see sound, doctrinal arguments for both abstaining AND providing uniform elements to parishioners and consecrating via live stream format.

No matter what, I'm gonna be damned if I do, and damned if I don't. 

And considering the vitriol coming from "the other side," I seriously doubt that anyone outside of those watching/our own members will ever be told what we did or did not do at this point.  My ultimate purpose is to continue to be the pastor to those I've been called to, to proclaim the name of Christ crucified and risen, and the praise the name of the triune God.

Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Rob Morris on April 03, 2020, 11:53:57 AM
I'm not sure I understand, Pastor Morris, why "preventing parishioners from attendance" in this situation should raise eyebrows. If the building department told me the roof was about to fall in, I would prevent people from coming to church. So if the dangers of infection, transmission of a terrible virus, or disease existed when people came to church, why should we not tell them: "Right now, don't come, we won't have services"?
I wonder if, in the days of persecution those earliest centuries, whether the elders of the community might have said at times "The Romans are really on the prowl for us this week; let's not get together."?
Except services are still happening. In the building. But no one is allowed to come. Nor can they simply move to a different location and meet there, as they could if the roof were collapsing. No invective here: if you don't see the difference, I think I may be at a loss to explain it. And this inability to see the difference is part of what surprises me in the church's response as a collective.

One last try, though: if this happened 25 years ago, before the advent of broadband, most churches' plans would look entirely different than they do today. How can that not represent innovation? Yet some innovations are opposed because they are innovations and some innovations are not... that's my last and best attempt to articulate what I am getting at.

Peace in Christ,
Rob
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Charles Austin on April 03, 2020, 11:55:22 AM
I think, and someone can correct me, that the advice from both LCMS and ELCA superiors about "telecommunion" or "streaming" consecrations is: Don't.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Steven W Bohler on April 03, 2020, 12:06:11 PM
I think, and someone can correct me, that the advice from both LCMS and ELCA superiors about "telecommunion" or "streaming" consecrations is: Don't.

Well, we don't have "superiors" in the LCMS, but as far as I know only one district president has given the OK.  The rest have either said nothing or discouraged or said "no".
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Steven W Bohler on April 03, 2020, 12:17:10 PM
I'm not sure I understand, Pastor Morris, why "preventing parishioners from attendance" in this situation should raise eyebrows. If the building department told me the roof was about to fall in, I would prevent people from coming to church. So if the dangers of infection, transmission of a terrible virus, or disease existed when people came to church, why should we not tell them: "Right now, don't come, we won't have services"?
I wonder if, in the days of persecution those earliest centuries, whether the elders of the community might have said at times "The Romans are really on the prowl for us this week; let's not get together."?
Except services are still happening. In the building. But no one is allowed to come. Nor can they simply move to a different location and meet there, as they could if the roof were collapsing. No invective here: if you don't see the difference, I think I may be at a loss to explain it. And this inability to see the difference is part of what surprises me in the church's response as a collective.

One last try, though: if this happened 25 years ago, before the advent of broadband, most churches' plans would look entirely different than they do today. How can that not represent innovation? Yet some innovations are opposed because they are innovations and some innovations are not... that's my last and best attempt to articulate what I am getting at.

Peace in Christ,
Rob

It isn't simply that this is an innovation.  It is that it introduces doubt into the Sacrament.  When the pastor first used a microphone when he spoke the Words of Institution, that was an innovation but no one wondered if it was the Sacrament.  However, when a pastor speaks the words and neither the elements nor the recipients are there, there is doubt.  What is the "this" of "this is My Body...this is My Blood"?  Who is the "for you"?  Who is giving this (the pastor, who stands in the stead of Christ, is not handing it to the recipient)?  That's a lot of doubt, from a lot of places: the giver, what is given, to whom it is given? 
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Rob Morris on April 03, 2020, 12:44:20 PM
I'm not sure I understand, Pastor Morris, why "preventing parishioners from attendance" in this situation should raise eyebrows. If the building department told me the roof was about to fall in, I would prevent people from coming to church. So if the dangers of infection, transmission of a terrible virus, or disease existed when people came to church, why should we not tell them: "Right now, don't come, we won't have services"?
I wonder if, in the days of persecution those earliest centuries, whether the elders of the community might have said at times "The Romans are really on the prowl for us this week; let's not get together."?
Except services are still happening. In the building. But no one is allowed to come. Nor can they simply move to a different location and meet there, as they could if the roof were collapsing. No invective here: if you don't see the difference, I think I may be at a loss to explain it. And this inability to see the difference is part of what surprises me in the church's response as a collective.

One last try, though: if this happened 25 years ago, before the advent of broadband, most churches' plans would look entirely different than they do today. How can that not represent innovation? Yet some innovations are opposed because they are innovations and some innovations are not... that's my last and best attempt to articulate what I am getting at.

Peace in Christ,
Rob

It isn't simply that this is an innovation.  It is that it introduces doubt into the Sacrament.  When the pastor first used a microphone when he spoke the Words of Institution, that was an innovation but no one wondered if it was the Sacrament.  However, when a pastor speaks the words and neither the elements nor the recipients are there, there is doubt.  What is the "this" of "this is My Body...this is My Blood"?  Who is the "for you"?  Who is giving this (the pastor, who stands in the stead of Christ, is not handing it to the recipient)?  That's a lot of doubt, from a lot of places: the giver, what is given, to whom it is given?

Just for the record: I totally agree with all you've written here.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Weedon on April 03, 2020, 01:23:39 PM
There’s a REASON that one of the ancient names for the Eucharist was the Synaxis. Just sayin. 1 Cor. 11, folks... συνερχομένων οὖν ὑμῶν ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτὸ
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: readselerttoo on April 03, 2020, 01:29:24 PM
In the case regarding the pastor reciting the words of institution remotely (tele) and then the individual reciting the words of institution locally, it seems the validity of the sacrament (in terms of rightly administered) would be appropriate although only in extraordinary circumstances as we have with the pandemic.  I recall that in the old ALC the district president could authorize a lay person to consecrate if the pastor was not available. 

Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: readselerttoo on April 03, 2020, 01:41:07 PM
I'm not sure I understand, Pastor Morris, why "preventing parishioners from attendance" in this situation should raise eyebrows. If the building department told me the roof was about to fall in, I would prevent people from coming to church. So if the dangers of infection, transmission of a terrible virus, or disease existed when people came to church, why should we not tell them: "Right now, don't come, we won't have services"?
I wonder if, in the days of persecution those earliest centuries, whether the elders of the community might have said at times "The Romans are really on the prowl for us this week; let's not get together."?
Except services are still happening. In the building. But no one is allowed to come. Nor can they simply move to a different location and meet there, as they could if the roof were collapsing. No invective here: if you don't see the difference, I think I may be at a loss to explain it. And this inability to see the difference is part of what surprises me in the church's response as a collective.

One last try, though: if this happened 25 years ago, before the advent of broadband, most churches' plans would look entirely different than they do today. How can that not represent innovation? Yet some innovations are opposed because they are innovations and some innovations are not... that's my last and best attempt to articulate what I am getting at.

Peace in Christ,
Rob

How different is this situation in terms of Paul in prison or the disciples and Peter being forbidden to preach the Gospel by the civil authorities in Acts of the Aposles 5?  I do see the innovation and the problems which come with our current situation.  Locked doors to a building prevent the public entrance into a space.  But does that have anything to do with the broadcast (I use the term in its broadest sense, lol) of the Gospel?  I don't think the legal authorities are preventing the Gospel from being preached.  What is being prevented is public assembly at this time of the pandemic.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Steven W Bohler on April 03, 2020, 01:56:57 PM
I'm not sure I understand, Pastor Morris, why "preventing parishioners from attendance" in this situation should raise eyebrows. If the building department told me the roof was about to fall in, I would prevent people from coming to church. So if the dangers of infection, transmission of a terrible virus, or disease existed when people came to church, why should we not tell them: "Right now, don't come, we won't have services"?
I wonder if, in the days of persecution those earliest centuries, whether the elders of the community might have said at times "The Romans are really on the prowl for us this week; let's not get together."?
Except services are still happening. In the building. But no one is allowed to come. Nor can they simply move to a different location and meet there, as they could if the roof were collapsing. No invective here: if you don't see the difference, I think I may be at a loss to explain it. And this inability to see the difference is part of what surprises me in the church's response as a collective.

One last try, though: if this happened 25 years ago, before the advent of broadband, most churches' plans would look entirely different than they do today. How can that not represent innovation? Yet some innovations are opposed because they are innovations and some innovations are not... that's my last and best attempt to articulate what I am getting at.

Peace in Christ,
Rob

It isn't simply that this is an innovation.  It is that it introduces doubt into the Sacrament.  When the pastor first used a microphone when he spoke the Words of Institution, that was an innovation but no one wondered if it was the Sacrament.  However, when a pastor speaks the words and neither the elements nor the recipients are there, there is doubt.  What is the "this" of "this is My Body...this is My Blood"?  Who is the "for you"?  Who is giving this (the pastor, who stands in the stead of Christ, is not handing it to the recipient)?  That's a lot of doubt, from a lot of places: the giver, what is given, to whom it is given?

Just for the record: I totally agree with all you've written here.

I'm glad that you agree.  But I am puzzled why you keep asking about it, and keep framing it in terms of the objection solely being that of innovation. 
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dave Benke on April 03, 2020, 01:58:17 PM
I'm not sure I understand, Pastor Morris, why "preventing parishioners from attendance" in this situation should raise eyebrows. If the building department told me the roof was about to fall in, I would prevent people from coming to church. So if the dangers of infection, transmission of a terrible virus, or disease existed when people came to church, why should we not tell them: "Right now, don't come, we won't have services"?
I wonder if, in the days of persecution those earliest centuries, whether the elders of the community might have said at times "The Romans are really on the prowl for us this week; let's not get together."?
Except services are still happening. In the building. But no one is allowed to come. Nor can they simply move to a different location and meet there, as they could if the roof were collapsing. No invective here: if you don't see the difference, I think I may be at a loss to explain it. And this inability to see the difference is part of what surprises me in the church's response as a collective.

One last try, though: if this happened 25 years ago, before the advent of broadband, most churches' plans would look entirely different than they do today. How can that not represent innovation? Yet some innovations are opposed because they are innovations and some innovations are not... that's my last and best attempt to articulate what I am getting at.

Peace in Christ,
Rob

It isn't simply that this is an innovation.  It is that it introduces doubt into the Sacrament.  When the pastor first used a microphone when he spoke the Words of Institution, that was an innovation but no one wondered if it was the Sacrament.  However, when a pastor speaks the words and neither the elements nor the recipients are there, there is doubt.  What is the "this" of "this is My Body...this is My Blood"?  Who is the "for you"?  Who is giving this (the pastor, who stands in the stead of Christ, is not handing it to the recipient)?  That's a lot of doubt, from a lot of places: the giver, what is given, to whom it is given?

I agree with the general sentiment of doubt here.  I definitely would refer anyone to Paul Hinlicky's article for a thorough exploration of the topic.  Here's one "doubt" that doesn't hold up under scrutiny, SW - Who is giving this (the pastor, who stands in the stead of Christ, is not handing it to the recipient)?   Thousands of Missouri Synod congregations have people other than the pastor "handing it to the recipient", that is, involved in the distribution of the Sacrament.  No doubt is raised when others assist in distribution.  Why?  Because the pastor has consecrated the Sacrament and is the Administrator.  I'm with you in that normally the pastor, during the Divine Service, would distribute the Host and therefore be in charge of admission to the altar.  That's not always the case, though, and others in thousands of congregations are involved in distribution without any doubt being cast on the Meal. 

What is at issue here is not distribution, but con-celebration by those other than ordained pastors.  Instead of one celebrant, there are many, home by home. 

I just wrote an email to our leadership team on the continuation of the fast through Easter, and referenced the words of our Lord, "blessed are those who hunger and thirst after Righteousness, for they will be fed," as key to my own proleptic/hopeful prayer and practice until (date unknown).

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Steven W Bohler on April 03, 2020, 02:06:34 PM
I get your point, Dr. Benke, about those who assist at communion.  What I was getting at is those who are receiving at home are giving it to themselves, which I do not believe we have our communion assistants do in worship -- I commune the one who assists me, not that he communes himself.  But that IS what happens at these home communions.  And if that is not a problem, why stop there?  Why do we need a pastor to speak the words?  After all, it is really Jesus who is the Host who gives Himself in the host.  The Words of Institution are His words. So, why not just cut out the middle-man, so to speak?  Why can't a person simply speak the Words of Institution from a hymnal or internet or memory, and then commune himself?

It's kind of the same thing with why we do not have laymen preach.  Not that they don't have the capability, or even the knowledge.  It is because there is an office through which Christ speaks.  And gives His Body and Blood.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Eileen Smith on April 03, 2020, 02:19:46 PM
I'm not sure I understand, Pastor Morris, why "preventing parishioners from attendance" in this situation should raise eyebrows. If the building department told me the roof was about to fall in, I would prevent people from coming to church. So if the dangers of infection, transmission of a terrible virus, or disease existed when people came to church, why should we not tell them: "Right now, don't come, we won't have services"?
I wonder if, in the days of persecution those earliest centuries, whether the elders of the community might have said at times "The Romans are really on the prowl for us this week; let's not get together."?
Except services are still happening. In the building. But no one is allowed to come. Nor can they simply move to a different location and meet there, as they could if the roof were collapsing. No invective here: if you don't see the difference, I think I may be at a loss to explain it. And this inability to see the difference is part of what surprises me in the church's response as a collective.

One last try, though: if this happened 25 years ago, before the advent of broadband, most churches' plans would look entirely different than they do today. How can that not represent innovation? Yet some innovations are opposed because they are innovations and some innovations are not... that's my last and best attempt to articulate what I am getting at.

Peace in Christ,
Rob

It isn't simply that this is an innovation.  It is that it introduces doubt into the Sacrament.  When the pastor first used a microphone when he spoke the Words of Institution, that was an innovation but no one wondered if it was the Sacrament.  However, when a pastor speaks the words and neither the elements nor the recipients are there, there is doubt.  What is the "this" of "this is My Body...this is My Blood"?  Who is the "for you"?  Who is giving this (the pastor, who stands in the stead of Christ, is not handing it to the recipient)?  That's a lot of doubt, from a lot of places: the giver, what is given, to whom it is given?

I do agree that some, perhaps many, will doubt that they are partaking of Jesus body and blood and that is, in and of itself, the reason not to live streamed in any way.   I've not read all the posts herein so I apologize if this has been addressed but what sort of doubts does this introduce as to the role of the pastor?  We have seen all sorts of authority, be it civil, our schools, our church, give way to the watering down of authority.  How much more will this do after things return to normal - or whatever normal turns out to be.  Years ago (late 70's) as more and more congregations introduced LBW/LW we saw laity taking on roles that were solely the function of the   A confirmation student pointed out one Sunday that her mother distributed communion that day and other laity also had roles. Her question:  why do we need pastors?  This came from a 13 year old and I don't think we are in danger of councils meeting and dismissing the pastor as non-essential.   But can some of that authority to preach, teach, and administer the sacraments be diminished if too much of that authority is seen to be given away, albeit temporarily.  Musings from someone with way too much time on her hands.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Weedon on April 03, 2020, 02:40:45 PM
FWIW, here is the prayer I intend to offer in the Prayer of the Church in that place where we normally pray for a worthy communion.

Lord God, in His unfailing mercy and love, Your Son graciously instituted for us His holy Supper on the day before He suffered. Although we cannot at this time receive in our mouths His true body and blood, nevertheless we beg You to stir up our minds and hearts to the salutary remembrance of His benefits. Grant that by faith we may still spiritually partake of Him by recalling the Words of His new and eternal Testament, in which He promised: “This is my body, which is given for you” and “this cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you, for the forgiveness of sins.” Grant that we may ever rejoice in how Your Son once offered Himself upon the altar of the cross in our place—a Ransom pure, holy, and undefiled. Fill us now with  His blood-bought forgiveness. Give every heavenly benediction and grace to all those who devoutly remember this day His holy sacrifice. Gather us from the ends of the earth to celebrate with all the faithful the marriage feast of the Lamb in His Kingdom which has no end. 
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Richard Johnson on April 03, 2020, 02:47:22 PM

Because something is happening - people in family groups are eating together in the same space like never before.  It's not the Sacrament, but it is sacramental.

Dave Benke

I don't find it a good idea when churches sponsor some kind of pseudo-Seder as part of their Holy Week thing, a "re-enacted last supper" idea. But your comment makes me think that someone might do us a good service if they prepared a sort of "seder-like" liturgy that might be used by families in their homes, perhaps on Maundy Thursday or on Easter Day. Not trying to mimic the Seder directly, but a "question and answer" kind of format that would help families "remember" the story of our salvation at their Easter dinner (which, at least at our house, will much less populated than usual . . . which is to say, just wife and I, not a collection of friends).
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Coach-Rev on April 03, 2020, 02:49:58 PM
I'm not sure I understand, Pastor Morris, why "preventing parishioners from attendance" in this situation should raise eyebrows. If the building department told me the roof was about to fall in, I would prevent people from coming to church. So if the dangers of infection, transmission of a terrible virus, or disease existed when people came to church, why should we not tell them: "Right now, don't come, we won't have services"?
I wonder if, in the days of persecution those earliest centuries, whether the elders of the community might have said at times "The Romans are really on the prowl for us this week; let's not get together."?
Except services are still happening. In the building. But no one is allowed to come. Nor can they simply move to a different location and meet there, as they could if the roof were collapsing. No invective here: if you don't see the difference, I think I may be at a loss to explain it. And this inability to see the difference is part of what surprises me in the church's response as a collective.

One last try, though: if this happened 25 years ago, before the advent of broadband, most churches' plans would look entirely different than they do today. How can that not represent innovation? Yet some innovations are opposed because they are innovations and some innovations are not... that's my last and best attempt to articulate what I am getting at.

Peace in Christ,
Rob

It isn't simply that this is an innovation.  It is that it introduces doubt into the Sacrament.  When the pastor first used a microphone when he spoke the Words of Institution, that was an innovation but no one wondered if it was the Sacrament.  However, when a pastor speaks the words and neither the elements nor the recipients are there, there is doubt.  What is the "this" of "this is My Body...this is My Blood"?  Who is the "for you"?  Who is giving this (the pastor, who stands in the stead of Christ, is not handing it to the recipient)?  That's a lot of doubt, from a lot of places: the giver, what is given, to whom it is given?

Just for the record: I totally agree with all you've written here.

And for the record, I could not disagree more strongly.  I believe that to so quickly call for a Sacramental "fast" indicates that we don't really believe in the doctrine and theology we claim to regarding the body and blood of Christ.  That's my .02.

And truthfully, while not happening here per se, I am truly tired of both sides telling the other just how wrong they are in their particular understanding of "extraordinary measures for extraordinary times."  Should we choose to go ahead with the verba spoken on our live stream, with uniform elements being held by each of the participants, it would NEVER become a norm for how we would regularly administer the Sacrament, just as how it is not the norm that we don't take communion to the elderly and shutins because they cannot be at church in person.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Richard Johnson on April 03, 2020, 02:53:58 PM

Except services are still happening. In the building. But no one is allowed to come.

I guess it depends on how we understand "services happening." We just finished preparing our Palm Sunday service. There were four of us, each in a different location. The rector was actually in the church, since he lives next door, but the rest of us were in our homes. The organist will be recording his music from his home and it will be spliced in. So the service wasn't really "happening in the building." It was happening in a variety of locations, and when it is posted on Sunday, those locations will include the homes of the faithful.

As for innovation, yeah, sure, and we innovate all the time. Electric lights were an innovation, and padded pews. But the question really is whether the nature of any particular innovation is truly adiaphora, or whether it is theologically or pastorally problematic. My objection to the live-streamed Eucharist isn't that it is an innovation, but that it violates aspects of the Eucharist that are essential.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Richard Johnson on April 03, 2020, 02:58:26 PM
In the case regarding the pastor reciting the words of institution remotely (tele) and then the individual reciting the words of institution locally, it seems the validity of the sacrament (in terms of rightly administered) would be appropriate although only in extraordinary circumstances as we have with the pandemic.  I recall that in the old ALC the district president could authorize a lay person to consecrate if the pastor was not available.

In some ways, that is even more problematic. Who is actually doing the consecrating here? Is it the pastor? Or is it the layperson who is repeating the words?

And there's a difference between an ecclesiastical superior "authorizing" a particular person to fill a particular role and a pastor, on his or her own, simply giving a blanket "you are hereby authorized" (without even really knowing whom he might be authorizing).

We won't even get into the question of whether reciting the words of institution alone are the consecratory act; that's a debate for another day.

Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Richard Johnson on April 03, 2020, 03:01:53 PM
FWIW, here is the prayer I intend to offer in the Prayer of the Church in that place where we normally pray for a worthy communion.

Lord God, in His unfailing mercy and love, Your Son graciously instituted for us His holy Supper on the day before He suffered. Although we cannot at this time receive in our mouths His true body and blood, nevertheless we beg You to stir up our minds and hearts to the salutary remembrance of His benefits. Grant that by faith we may still spiritually partake of Him by recalling the Words of His new and eternal Testament, in which He promised: “This is my body, which is given for you” and “this cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you, for the forgiveness of sins.” Grant that we may ever rejoice in how Your Son once offered Himself upon the altar of the cross in our place—a Ransom pure, holy, and undefiled. Fill us now with  His blood-bought forgiveness. Give every heavenly benediction and grace to all those who devoutly remember this day His holy sacrifice. Gather us from the ends of the earth to celebrate with all the faithful the marriage feast of the Lamb in His Kingdom which has no end.

Excellent. Here's what we did:

Let us pray. Lord Jesus, we believe that you are present in the sacrament of the Eucharist. We love you above all things, and we long to receive the Bread of Heaven and the Cup of Salvation. Since we cannot presently receive you in your sacrament, come spiritually into our hearts. Grant to us, in due season and according to your great kindness, so again to share in the celebration and to receive the sacrament of your Body and Blood, that we may know the joy of being fellow citizens with the saints and a members of the Household of God. Until that time, nourish us with your Word, strengthen our faith, and conform our lives to yours. Bless us and your whole church as we pray as you have taught us. Our Father . . .
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: RDPreus on April 03, 2020, 03:06:48 PM
FWIW, here is the prayer I intend to offer in the Prayer of the Church in that place where we normally pray for a worthy communion.

Lord God, in His unfailing mercy and love, Your Son graciously instituted for us His holy Supper on the day before He suffered. Although we cannot at this time receive in our mouths His true body and blood, nevertheless we beg You to stir up our minds and hearts to the salutary remembrance of His benefits. Grant that by faith we may still spiritually partake of Him by recalling the Words of His new and eternal Testament, in which He promised: “This is my body, which is given for you” and “this cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you, for the forgiveness of sins.” Grant that we may ever rejoice in how Your Son once offered Himself upon the altar of the cross in our place—a Ransom pure, holy, and undefiled. Fill us now with  His blood-bought forgiveness. Give every heavenly benediction and grace to all those who devoutly remember this day His holy sacrifice. Gather us from the ends of the earth to celebrate with all the faithful the marriage feast of the Lamb in His Kingdom which has no end.

Beautiful!  Thank you for sharing this.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Steven W Bohler on April 03, 2020, 03:44:24 PM
I'm not sure I understand, Pastor Morris, why "preventing parishioners from attendance" in this situation should raise eyebrows. If the building department told me the roof was about to fall in, I would prevent people from coming to church. So if the dangers of infection, transmission of a terrible virus, or disease existed when people came to church, why should we not tell them: "Right now, don't come, we won't have services"?
I wonder if, in the days of persecution those earliest centuries, whether the elders of the community might have said at times "The Romans are really on the prowl for us this week; let's not get together."?
Except services are still happening. In the building. But no one is allowed to come. Nor can they simply move to a different location and meet there, as they could if the roof were collapsing. No invective here: if you don't see the difference, I think I may be at a loss to explain it. And this inability to see the difference is part of what surprises me in the church's response as a collective.

One last try, though: if this happened 25 years ago, before the advent of broadband, most churches' plans would look entirely different than they do today. How can that not represent innovation? Yet some innovations are opposed because they are innovations and some innovations are not... that's my last and best attempt to articulate what I am getting at.

Peace in Christ,
Rob

It isn't simply that this is an innovation.  It is that it introduces doubt into the Sacrament.  When the pastor first used a microphone when he spoke the Words of Institution, that was an innovation but no one wondered if it was the Sacrament.  However, when a pastor speaks the words and neither the elements nor the recipients are there, there is doubt.  What is the "this" of "this is My Body...this is My Blood"?  Who is the "for you"?  Who is giving this (the pastor, who stands in the stead of Christ, is not handing it to the recipient)?  That's a lot of doubt, from a lot of places: the giver, what is given, to whom it is given?

Just for the record: I totally agree with all you've written here.

And for the record, I could not disagree more strongly.  I believe that to so quickly call for a Sacramental "fast" indicates that we don't really believe in the doctrine and theology we claim to regarding the body and blood of Christ.  That's my .02.

And truthfully, while not happening here per se, I am truly tired of both sides telling the other just how wrong they are in their particular understanding of "extraordinary measures for extraordinary times."  Should we choose to go ahead with the verba spoken on our live stream, with uniform elements being held by each of the participants, it would NEVER become a norm for how we would regularly administer the Sacrament, just as how it is not the norm that we don't take communion to the elderly and shutins because they cannot be at church in person.

1. With what are you disagreeing?  That such a thing introduces doubt?  Well, it does.  That is precisely why we are having this discussion.  If there were not doubt, there would be no disagreement on doing it.

2. What of our understanding of the doctrine of the Supper are you saying I am not believing? 

3. And what of our understanding of the doctrine of the Office of the Holy Ministry?  That God has called and put THAT man there, to act in the stead of Christ -- to baptize, to preach and teach, to absolve, to commune?  Emergency baptisms, I get.  But emergency communion? 
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: DCharlton on April 03, 2020, 03:45:19 PM
I don't know if anyone has discussed this yet, but I have questions about whether any of the other Means of Grace are effective by livestreaming.  Most of our discussion is focusing on virtual Communion, and by implication virtual Baptism, but is a virtual Absolution any more appropriate?  For that matter, if you believe that Preaching is sacramental, in that the preaching offers a promise of forgiveness of sins for Jesus sake "for you" to a certain group of people gathering at a particular time and place, is virtual preaching really possible.  Virtual teaching and virtual edification, perhaps, but virtual promising?  I'm not sure. 

Those of us who have attended STS General Retreats are familiar with the idea of a pastor acting in persona Christi, as a many others.  Can a pastor act in persona Christi when the pastor him/herself is not present?
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: readselerttoo on April 03, 2020, 03:54:32 PM
In the case regarding the pastor reciting the words of institution remotely (tele) and then the individual reciting the words of institution locally, it seems the validity of the sacrament (in terms of rightly administered) would be appropriate although only in extraordinary circumstances as we have with the pandemic.  I recall that in the old ALC the district president could authorize a lay person to consecrate if the pastor was not available.

In some ways, that is even more problematic. Who is actually doing the consecrating here? Is it the pastor? Or is it the layperson who is repeating the words?

And there's a difference between an ecclesiastical superior "authorizing" a particular person to fill a particular role and a pastor, on his or her own, simply giving a blanket "you are hereby authorized" (without even really knowing whom he might be authorizing).

We won't even get into the question of whether reciting the words of institution alone are the consecratory act; that's a debate for another day.

Yes.  I agree with the questioning...and yet it is the Lord who said these words.  I would venture to say that these discussions fall into the category of the "right" administration of the sacrament and that the issue is about the validity of where and what the church is.  The issue about administration and right administration of the sacraments comes into play here in the Augsburg Confession:   

Article VII: Of the Church.
1] Also they teach that one holy Church is to continue forever. The Church is the congregation of saints, in which the Gospel is rightly taught and the Sacraments are rightly administered.

2] And to the true unity of the Church it is enough to agree concerning the doctrine of the Gospel and 3] the administration of the Sacraments. Nor is it necessary that human traditions, that is, rites or ceremonies, instituted by men, should be everywhere alike. 4] As Paul says: One faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of all, etc. Eph. 4:5-6.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Weedon on April 03, 2020, 04:24:40 PM
But this is precisely a discussion about agreement in the administration (“reaching”) of the Sacraments not about adiaphora. Our Lord TOOK into his hands the bread and blessed it and gave it... and He said DO THIS. When the pastor is unable to follow the institution of Christ, not even being able to take in his hands either element to be consecrated and distributed, we do not have the dominical mandate. When the pastor does not “reach” the Sacrament (at least its principal part), we do not have the dominical mandate. And the Formula is utterly clear: “In an assembly of Christians bread and wine are taken, consecrated, distributed, received, eaten and drunk, and the Lord’s death is shown forth at the same time. St. Paul also places before our eyes this entire action of the breaking of bread or of distribution and reception.” FC SD VII:84 As Luther put so pertinently: It is NOT the Christian’s Supper; it is the Lord’s. And so we may not do with it as we see fit, but are bound to His institution or we have no grounds for supposing that what we are dealing with IS His Body and Blood for our forgiveness.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: aletheist on April 03, 2020, 04:31:16 PM
Most of our discussion is focusing on virtual Communion, and by implication virtual Baptism, but is a virtual Absolution any more appropriate?
I had not thought about it before, but obviously a pastor being live-streamed cannot hear anyone's confession, which is the basis upon which he pronounces the absolution.  On the other hand, we are always free to confess our sins to one another and share the assurance of forgiveness on the basis of the Gospel itself.

For that matter, if you believe that Preaching is sacramental, in that the preaching offers a promise of forgiveness of sins for Jesus sake "for you" to a certain group of people gathering at a particular time and place, is virtual preaching really possible.
This does not strike me as problematic.  We routinely distinguish between Word and Sacrament, preaching the one and administering the other.  Faith comes by hearing, which due to modern technology does not require the preacher and listener to be in the same place.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dave Benke on April 03, 2020, 04:36:41 PM
I get your point, Dr. Benke, about those who assist at communion.  What I was getting at is those who are receiving at home are giving it to themselves, which I do not believe we have our communion assistants do in worship -- I commune the one who assists me, not that he communes himself.  But that IS what happens at these home communions.  And if that is not a problem, why stop there?  Why do we need a pastor to speak the words?  After all, it is really Jesus who is the Host who gives Himself in the host.  The Words of Institution are His words. So, why not just cut out the middle-man, so to speak?  Why can't a person simply speak the Words of Institution from a hymnal or internet or memory, and then commune himself?

It's kind of the same thing with why we do not have laymen preach.  Not that they don't have the capability, or even the knowledge.  It is because there is an office through which Christ speaks.  And gives His Body and Blood.

Agreed on the first paragraph.  On the second paragraph, we do have "laymen" preach - one example is those whom we call in the LCMS vicars.  In fact they must preach.  Even though they are in the "lay" category.  The point there is that their proclamation and teaching is under the supervision of an ordained pastor.  So that aspect of the ministry of the Word is deemed appropriate to those not (yet) ordained. 

Precisely when it comes to Sacramental administration there is more of an issue with - to continue the example - vicars.  A waiver can be gotten from the seminaries, using some quotes from Walther, as I recall, for vicars to have extraordinary consecration powers.  That waiver is sketchy.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Richard Johnson on April 03, 2020, 04:54:14 PM
Most of our discussion is focusing on virtual Communion, and by implication virtual Baptism, but is a virtual Absolution any more appropriate?
I had not thought about it before, but obviously a pastor being live-streamed cannot hear anyone's confession, which is the basis upon which he pronounces the absolution.  On the other hand, we are always free to confess our sins to one another and share the assurance of forgiveness on the basis of the Gospel itself.


I just did a Lenten class (via Zoom) last night on confession & absolution (in the BCP, called "Reconciliation of a Penitent"), so this has been at the top of my mind. You seem to suggest that the pastor pronounces absolution on the basis of hearing a confession, with which I think I agree (though it calls into question whether the general confession and absolution has any sacramental efficacy). But I would think a pastor could hear a confession electronically (via Zoom, telephone, skype, whatever), provided it was a private session and the confidentiality of the confession could be assured; and I see no reason why the pastor couldn't pronounce the absolution in the same way. It would lack the opportunity for the pastor to lay his hands on the head of the penitent, but I'm not sure that is actually the "sign" of the sacrament (and nobody else seems to be sure either).
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Steven W Bohler on April 03, 2020, 05:10:33 PM
I get your point, Dr. Benke, about those who assist at communion.  What I was getting at is those who are receiving at home are giving it to themselves, which I do not believe we have our communion assistants do in worship -- I commune the one who assists me, not that he communes himself.  But that IS what happens at these home communions.  And if that is not a problem, why stop there?  Why do we need a pastor to speak the words?  After all, it is really Jesus who is the Host who gives Himself in the host.  The Words of Institution are His words. So, why not just cut out the middle-man, so to speak?  Why can't a person simply speak the Words of Institution from a hymnal or internet or memory, and then commune himself?

It's kind of the same thing with why we do not have laymen preach.  Not that they don't have the capability, or even the knowledge.  It is because there is an office through which Christ speaks.  And gives His Body and Blood.

Agreed on the first paragraph.  On the second paragraph, we do have "laymen" preach - one example is those whom we call in the LCMS vicars.  In fact they must preach.  Even though they are in the "lay" category.  The point there is that their proclamation and teaching is under the supervision of an ordained pastor.  So that aspect of the ministry of the Word is deemed appropriate to those not (yet) ordained. 

Precisely when it comes to Sacramental administration there is more of an issue with - to continue the example - vicars.  A waiver can be gotten from the seminaries, using some quotes from Walther, as I recall, for vicars to have extraordinary consecration powers.  That waiver is sketchy.

Dave Benke

Vicars are kind of in-between, aren't they?  Not really laity, not yet ordained.  But they DO have a call of sorts, and we do have a rite for their installation.  But, at least for the vicars I supervised, they did not preach anything I did not first approve.  Nor did they give communion (that is, they assisted me with the distribution but did not preside, nor did they commune shut-ins -- although I must admit I did commune shut-ins when I was a vicar, as directed by my supervising pastor).
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: aletheist on April 03, 2020, 05:13:29 PM
Most of our discussion is focusing on virtual Communion, and by implication virtual Baptism, but is a virtual Absolution any more appropriate?
I had not thought about it before, but obviously a pastor being live-streamed cannot hear anyone's confession, which is the basis upon which he pronounces the absolution.  On the other hand, we are always free to confess our sins to one another and share the assurance of forgiveness on the basis of the Gospel itself.
You seem to suggest that the pastor pronounces absolution on the basis of hearing a confession, with which I think I agree (though it calls into question whether the general confession and absolution has any sacramental efficacy).
The pastor hears the general confession when those speaking it are in the sanctuary with him, and pronounces the absolution on that basis.  At least, that is my understanding of the rites that the LCMS uses.

But I would think a pastor could hear a confession electronically (via Zoom, telephone, skype, whatever), provided it was a private session and the confidentiality of the confession could be assured; and I see no reason why the pastor couldn't pronounce the absolution in the same way.
Yes, I specifically had in mind the general confession and absolution during a live-streamed worship service that goes in only one direction, from the pastor to those watching/listening.  Like the ones my congregation has been conducting.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Weedon on April 03, 2020, 05:25:55 PM
Richard Johnson, thanks also for sharing that beautiful prayer. I hear echoes of the traditional Roman prayer in it; I love the way you all shaped that.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Coach-Rev on April 03, 2020, 05:31:15 PM
1. With what are you disagreeing?  That such a thing introduces doubt?  Well, it does.  That is precisely why we are having this discussion.  If there were not doubt, there would be no disagreement on doing it.

Yes.  Perhaps with someone who has a weak understanding of the Sacrament it could.  For those who do not, abstaining sends a clear signal that WE, who administer the Sacrament, don't really trust or believe what we claim it to be, namely "Jesus' body and blood, given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins."  And what does Luther say of this?  The words "for you" only require a believing heart.

Quote
  2. What of our understanding of the doctrine of the Supper are you saying I am not believing? 

I'm not saying you don't but it sends the signal to the laity that we don't believe in the power or efficacy of the Sacrament as worded in Luther's Catechism above.  I am saying that it does the opposite of what some of you are claiming - it creates doubt when we FAIL to administer it in these times.

Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: aletheist on April 03, 2020, 06:00:44 PM
1. With what are you disagreeing?  That such a thing introduces doubt?  Well, it does.  That is precisely why we are having this discussion.  If there were not doubt, there would be no disagreement on doing it.
Perhaps with someone who has a weak understanding of the Sacrament it could.
Certainly with many who have a solid understanding of the Sacrament it does introduce doubt, hence this entire thread.

For those who do not, abstaining sends a clear signal that WE, who administer the Sacrament, don't really trust or believe what we claim it to be, namely "Jesus' body and blood, given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins."
That is because it is not "Jesus's body and blood, given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins" when it is not being administered in accordance with Christ's institution.  He was in the same room with the disciples, the bread, and the wine on the night when He was betrayed.

And what does Luther say of this?  The words "for you" only require a believing heart.
In answer to which question?  Not whether the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ are really present under the bread and the wine, which is not affected by the faith or unbelief of the recipient, but who receives the Sacrament worthily.  Context is important.

2. What of our understanding of the doctrine of the Supper are you saying I am not believing?
I'm not saying you don't but it sends the signal to the laity that we don't believe in the power or efficacy of the Sacrament as worded in Luther's Catechism above.  I am saying that it does the opposite of what some of you are claiming - it creates doubt when we FAIL to administer it in these times.
No, this misses the whole point, which is to maintain assurance that what people are receiving is really the Sacrament.  We cannot have that assurance when our practice clearly deviates from Christ's institution.
Quote from: FC SD VII.85-86
If the institution of Christ be not observed as He appointed it, there is no sacrament. This is by no means to be rejected, but can and should be urged and maintained with profit in the Church of God. And the use or action here does not mean chiefly faith, neither the oral participation only, but the entire external, visible action of the Lord's Supper instituted by Christ, the consecration, or words of institution, the distribution and reception, or oral partaking of the consecrated bread and wine, of the body and blood of Christ.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: DCharlton on April 03, 2020, 06:25:05 PM
Most of our discussion is focusing on virtual Communion, and by implication virtual Baptism, but is a virtual Absolution any more appropriate?
I had not thought about it before, but obviously a pastor being live-streamed cannot hear anyone's confession, which is the basis upon which he pronounces the absolution.  On the other hand, we are always free to confess our sins to one another and share the assurance of forgiveness on the basis of the Gospel itself.
You seem to suggest that the pastor pronounces absolution on the basis of hearing a confession, with which I think I agree (though it calls into question whether the general confession and absolution has any sacramental efficacy).
The pastor hears the general confession when those speaking it are in the sanctuary with him, and pronounces the absolution on that basis.  At least, that is my understanding of the rites that the LCMS uses.

But I would think a pastor could hear a confession electronically (via Zoom, telephone, skype, whatever), provided it was a private session and the confidentiality of the confession could be assured; and I see no reason why the pastor couldn't pronounce the absolution in the same way.
Yes, I specifically had in mind the general confession and absolution during a live-streamed worship service that goes in only one direction, from the pastor to those watching/listening.  Like the ones my congregation has been conducting.

I actually think this expresses too low a view of preaching.  I tend to consider Absolution to be a Sacrament, and preaching to be sacramental.  It depends on which definition of preaching one is using at the time, or course.  I'm speaking of preaching as first order discourse, rather than as second order discourse.  Of course, as second order discourse, preaching delivers lots of useful information about what God has done for us in Christ.  As first order discourse, it delivers a promise.  The clearest example of this kind of preaching is the Absolution itself.  "As a called and ordained minister of the Church of Christ, and by his authority, I declare to you the entire forgiveness of all your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."  To borrow an idea from Emil Brunner, who probably wouldn't agree with the application, it is a personal encounter.  I see a difference between the viva vox evangelii not the virtual vox evangelii.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dave Benke on April 03, 2020, 07:11:14 PM
I get your point, Dr. Benke, about those who assist at communion.  What I was getting at is those who are receiving at home are giving it to themselves, which I do not believe we have our communion assistants do in worship -- I commune the one who assists me, not that he communes himself.  But that IS what happens at these home communions.  And if that is not a problem, why stop there?  Why do we need a pastor to speak the words?  After all, it is really Jesus who is the Host who gives Himself in the host.  The Words of Institution are His words. So, why not just cut out the middle-man, so to speak?  Why can't a person simply speak the Words of Institution from a hymnal or internet or memory, and then commune himself?

It's kind of the same thing with why we do not have laymen preach.  Not that they don't have the capability, or even the knowledge.  It is because there is an office through which Christ speaks.  And gives His Body and Blood.

Agreed on the first paragraph.  On the second paragraph, we do have "laymen" preach - one example is those whom we call in the LCMS vicars.  In fact they must preach.  Even though they are in the "lay" category.  The point there is that their proclamation and teaching is under the supervision of an ordained pastor.  So that aspect of the ministry of the Word is deemed appropriate to those not (yet) ordained. 

Precisely when it comes to Sacramental administration there is more of an issue with - to continue the example - vicars.  A waiver can be gotten from the seminaries, using some quotes from Walther, as I recall, for vicars to have extraordinary consecration powers.  That waiver is sketchy.

Dave Benke

Vicars are kind of in-between, aren't they?  Not really laity, not yet ordained.  But they DO have a call of sorts, and we do have a rite for their installation.  But, at least for the vicars I supervised, they did not preach anything I did not first approve.  Nor did they give communion (that is, they assisted me with the distribution but did not preside, nor did they commune shut-ins -- although I must admit I did commune shut-ins when I was a vicar, as directed by my supervising pastor).

My vicars (2) are preaching.  They are not consecrating. 

I think the point is that there is a point, there is a difference between preaching under supervision and consecrating at any time.  I am listening to the dialog on electronic preaching and its validity as it relates to electronic consecration, and some of those points by D Charlton are well made.  Absolution for many IS a sacrament, and proclamation of the Gospel IS sacramental.  So should we not preach online?  Should we not pronounce absolution online?  Worth pondering if we're going to absolutize not consecrating online.  Again, I think the Hinlicky conversation is more fully orbed than the one that just says Only the Ordained because They're Ordained. 

These are important dialogues, important conversations.  From my perspective as a now and into an unknown future shutin in the Once-Big Apple, I have to ask whether there is any timeline on my spiritual fast, whether I'm OK with being in the wilderness with Jesus for a year or more.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Coach-Rev on April 03, 2020, 08:04:31 PM

No, this misses the whole point, which is to maintain assurance that what people are receiving is really the Sacrament.  We cannot have that assurance when our practice clearly deviates from Christ's institution.
Quote from: FC SD VII.85-86
If the institution of Christ be not observed as He appointed it, there is no sacrament. This is by no means to be rejected, but can and should be urged and maintained with profit in the Church of God. And the use or action here does not mean chiefly faith, neither the oral participation only, but the entire external, visible action of the Lord's Supper instituted by Christ, the consecration, or words of institution, the distribution and reception, or oral partaking of the consecrated bread and wine, of the body and blood of Christ.

Let me ask you then:  Do you use the common cup ONLY?  Because if not, your argument doesn't hold water.

And I will again reiterate that Luther clearly articulates, "Fasting and bodily preparation are, indeed, fine outward training. But a person is truly worthy and well prepared who has faith in these words, “Given … and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.”
But anyone who does not believe these words, or doubts, is unworthy and unfit. For the words “for you” require hearts that truly believe."
McCain, P. T. (Ed.). (2005). Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions (p. 343). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House.

Now tell me how you can judge the hearts of everyone who receives the Sacrament?  I guarantee there are those in churches across America that weekly do not measure up to their respective denominations' practices and beliefs when it comes to this Sacrament.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Weedon on April 03, 2020, 08:14:54 PM
Jeff,

Forgive me for being blunt, but I feel I must be. I don’t believe it’s a matter of worthy or unworthy reception. I do believe it’s a matter of them not receiving anything but bread and wine; and no amount of faith they muster can PUT Christ where He has not promised to be for them. That doesn’t mean they can’t be blessed by meditating upon and hearing the Words of the Testament. It does mean that where they are not spoken in the assembly by a man IN the assembly over the elements who has been called by the Church to serve in this way, and so to distribute Christ’s body and blood for the forgiveness of sins to those gathered, there is no Eucharist.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: aletheist on April 03, 2020, 08:23:45 PM
No, this misses the whole point, which is to maintain assurance that what people are receiving is really the Sacrament.  We cannot have that assurance when our practice clearly deviates from Christ's institution.
Quote from: FC SD VII.85-86
If the institution of Christ be not observed as He appointed it, there is no sacrament. This is by no means to be rejected, but can and should be urged and maintained with profit in the Church of God. And the use or action here does not mean chiefly faith, neither the oral participation only, but the entire external, visible action of the Lord's Supper instituted by Christ, the consecration, or words of institution, the distribution and reception, or oral partaking of the consecrated bread and wine, of the body and blood of Christ.
Let me ask you then:  Do you use the common cup ONLY?  Because if not, your argument doesn't hold water.
Read the quote from the Formula of Concord again, it does not say anything about a common cup:  "the consecration, or words of institution, the distribution and reception, or oral partaking of the consecrated bread and wine, of the body and blood of Christ."  In any case, I am a layman, and as a matter of personal preference I do drink from the common cup when it is offered for the very reason that I consider it to be more faithful to the institution of Christ.

And I will again reiterate that Luther clearly articulates, "Fasting and bodily preparation are, indeed, fine outward training. But a person is truly worthy and well prepared who has faith in these words, “Given … and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” But anyone who does not believe these words, or doubts, is unworthy and unfit. For the words “for you” require hearts that truly believe."
And I will again reiterate that Luther is talking about someone who receives the Sacrament when it is administered in accordance with Christ's institution.  The fact that someone is worthy (i.e., has faith) has nothing to do with whether or not he/she really does receive.

Now tell me how you can judge the hearts of everyone who receives the Sacrament?  I guarantee there are those in churches across America that weekly do not measure up to their respective denominations' practices and beliefs when it comes to this Sacrament.
I am not judging anyone's hearts.  I am simply repeating what we as Lutherans believe, teach, and confess in the Formula of Concord:  "If the institution of Christ be not observed as He appointed it, there is no sacrament."
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Richard Johnson on April 03, 2020, 08:38:56 PM
This is a conversation that could go down a lot of rabbit holes. To say that the Supper must be celebrated "as the Lord instituted it" is certainly what we believe, teach and confess. But what does that mean exactly? Should the liturgy be in Aramaic? Should it be administered only to men? Does it require a particular kind of bread? Are the "words of institution" required, and if so, which evangelist's or apostle's version? Must it be administered at night?

These are all, in a sense, silly questions, but if you're going to base on argument on "what Christ instituted," you'd best be prepared to have some kind of answer, some kind of principle on which you based your answer. Why is it OK to administer the sacrament in the morning, but not over the internet?

For me, the answer lies somewhere in the realm of Tradition. Over the centuries, the church has determined that some of these matters are totally unimportant, even if it means departing from what Jesus precisely did (as far as we know). And that is precisely why it is not appropriate, perhaps even not possible, to depart from that Tradition in such a radical way as "digital communion," without a robust and healthy consensus of the whole church.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: aletheist on April 03, 2020, 08:53:46 PM
To say that the Supper must be celebrated "as the Lord instituted it" is certainly what we believe, teach and confess. But what does that mean exactly?
Again, the Formula says:  "the entire external, visible action of the Lord's Supper instituted by Christ, the consecration, or words of institution, the distribution and reception, or oral partaking of the consecrated bread and wine, of the body and blood of Christ."

For me, the answer lies somewhere in the realm of Tradition. Over the centuries, the church has determined that some of these matters are totally unimportant, even if it means departing from what Jesus precisely did (as far as we know). And that is precisely why it is not appropriate, perhaps even not possible, to depart from that Tradition in such a radical way as "digital communion," without a robust and healthy consensus of the whole church.
I agree; as I said very early in this thread, "This is a case where a perfectly adequate response is simply to say that the church throughout the ages has never done it that way."
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Weedon on April 03, 2020, 08:57:35 PM
Maybe I’m being simplistic, Richard, but it seems to me quite clear from the Institution that what Christ commands His followers to do is what He did: namely, gathered together, to take bread, bless with His own words, break and distribute His body; to take the cup in hand, speak thanksgiving over it as He taught, and then to distribute His new covenant blood of forgiveness. The Lutheran Church has actually given thought to these matters. Her dogmaticians (as beautifully summarized in Schmid) teach clearly that there IS no emergency Eucharist in the same way there is an emergency Baptism. They explain it matters not what the bread is made of, whether wheat or barley, whether leavened or not. That as long as it is wine, fermented fruit of the grape, we are good. This as far as earthly elements go. As far as administration, it is to be administered only by those who are “rite vocatus.” I know it goes against all kinds of current practice, but it IS what the AC says. No one preaches, teaches, or reaches the sacrament “ohne ordentlichen Beruf.”  And similarly, if we actually followed the Symbols, our pastors would not be reaching it to any that had not been examined and absolved!

How beautifully did Luther describe the certainty of the Lutheran Mass in his On the Private Mass. Do you remember this passage?

For God be praised, in our churches we can show a Christian a true Christian mass according to the ordinance and institution of Christ, as well as according to the true intention of Christ and the church.  There our pastor, bishop, or minister in the pastoral office, rightly and honorably and publicly called, having been previously consecrated, anointed, and born in baptism as a priest of Christ, without regard to the private chrism, goes before the altar.  Publicly and plainly he sings what Christ has ordained and instituted in the Lord’s Supper.  He takes the bread and wine, gives thanks, and distributes and gives them to the rest of us who are there and want to receive them, on the strength of the words of Christ, ‘This is my body, this is my blood.  Do this” etc. 

Particularly we who want to receive the sacrament kneel beside, behind, and around him, man, woman, young, old, master, servant, wife, maid, parents, and children, even as God brings us together there, all of us true, holy priests, sanctified by Christ’s blood, anointed by the Holy Spirit, and consecrated in baptism.  On the basis of this our inborn hereditary priestly honor and attire we are present, have, as Revelation 4 pictures it, our golden crowns on our heads, harps and golden censors in our hands; and we let our pastor say what Christ has ordained, not for himself as though it were for his person, but he is the mouth for all of us and we all speak the words with him from the heart and in faith, directed to the Lamb of God who is present for us and among us, and who according to his ordinance nourishes us with his body and blood.  This is our mass, and it is the true mass which is not lacking among us. 
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Birkholz on April 03, 2020, 09:12:00 PM
President Harrison has issued a Pastoral Letter that deals with this issue, among others:
https://blogs.lcms.org/2020/holy-week-pastoral-letter-from-president-harrison (https://blogs.lcms.org/2020/holy-week-pastoral-letter-from-president-harrison)

In it, he references this statement from the Systematic Faculties of both LCMS Seminaries:
https://files.lcms.org/wl/?id=HYHW3tSQsmrGbuP5ACNTRsz7SWL6j2QD (https://files.lcms.org/wl/?id=HYHW3tSQsmrGbuP5ACNTRsz7SWL6j2QD)
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on April 03, 2020, 10:02:09 PM
Maybe I’m being simplistic...

Wow! You are back, in full force! Good stuff. Thanks, Will!
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Rob Morris on April 03, 2020, 10:19:30 PM
I'll post this on both "Livestream" threads, but thanks everyone for the lively and, I think, very collegial discussion... I think these are the kinds of conversations that should, no... must be happening at this time. Yes, it is challenging/freewheeling/sometimes frustrating. But I, for one, really appreciate the exchanges.

So, thanks.
Rob
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Richard Johnson on April 03, 2020, 10:36:26 PM
Maybe I’m being simplistic, Richard, but it seems to me quite clear from the Institution that what Christ commands His followers to do is what He did: namely, gathered together, to take bread, bless with His own words, break and distribute His body; to take the cup in hand, speak thanksgiving over it as He taught, and then to distribute His new covenant blood of forgiveness.

Sometimes, Will, simplistic is good. Agree entirely. And thanks for the quote.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on April 04, 2020, 12:45:08 AM
Unity and fellowship is created by the Word, not by the book of Concord.

A blatant unLutheran attempt to play off the Confessions against Scripture. 

"The Lutheran Confessions are a summary and explanation of the Bible. They are not placed over the Bible. They do not take the place of the Bible. The Book of Concord is how Lutherans are able to say, together, as a church, "This is what we believe. This is what we teach. This is what we confess." The reason we have the Book of Concord is because of how highly we value correct teaching and preaching of God's Word."

http://bookofconcord.org/faq.php

Or even this from the ELCA's own Constitution:

"This church accepts the Unaltered Augsburg Confession as a true witness to the Gospel, acknowledging as one with it in faith and doctrine all churches that likewise accept the teachings of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession."

Sigh!  Yet another illustration of why being in meetings with ELCA colleagues usually turns so insufferable: we don't even know who we are any more, and we're so damn proud that.  :'(

Gud hjälp oss!

Steven+
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on April 04, 2020, 12:49:21 AM
Psalm 42:4 (ESV)
These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival.

What we ache for, people loved by God, is not merely the Eucharist, but the Eucharist experienced in community, as the family of God of which we are a part gathers around the Table of the Lord to feast together. This is why I do not believe that merely celebrating a gajillion small Eucharists for families much less the Unding of a teleeucharist will come close to stilling the ache. It’s for the full Eucharistic feast, the multitude keeping festival together, that we long.

What Will said.

Amen.  Amen.  Amen.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on April 04, 2020, 01:24:25 AM
This is a conversation that could go down a lot of rabbit holes. To say that the Supper must be celebrated "as the Lord instituted it" is certainly what we believe, teach and confess. But what does that mean exactly? Should the liturgy be in Aramaic? Should it be administered only to men? Does it require a particular kind of bread? Are the "words of institution" required, and if so, which evangelist's or apostle's version? Must it be administered at night?

These are all, in a sense, silly questions, but if you're going to base on argument on "what Christ instituted," you'd best be prepared to have some kind of answer, some kind of principle on which you based your answer. Why is it OK to administer the sacrament in the morning, but not over the internet?

For me, the answer lies somewhere in the realm of Tradition. Over the centuries, the church has determined that some of these matters are totally unimportant, even if it means departing from what Jesus precisely did (as far as we know). And that is precisely why it is not appropriate, perhaps even not possible, to depart from that Tradition in such a radical way as "digital communion," without a robust and healthy consensus of the whole church.


Another rabbit hole would be about the presence of Jesus in the Upper Room. Would it have been in the bread and cup; or in his actual body present in the room with the disciples? Similarly, when Jesus broke bread with the two in Emmaus. He was really present; so I don't think we can talk about his presence in, with, and under the bread.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Steven W Bohler on April 04, 2020, 09:08:32 AM
An essay by Rev. David Jay Webber (ELS): http://www.angelfire.com/ny4/djw/FamilyCommunionInternetCommunion.pdf
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: John_Hannah on April 04, 2020, 09:16:11 AM
This is a conversation that could go down a lot of rabbit holes. To say that the Supper must be celebrated "as the Lord instituted it" is certainly what we believe, teach and confess. But what does that mean exactly? Should the liturgy be in Aramaic? Should it be administered only to men? Does it require a particular kind of bread? Are the "words of institution" required, and if so, which evangelist's or apostle's version? Must it be administered at night?

These are all, in a sense, silly questions, but if you're going to base on argument on "what Christ instituted," you'd best be prepared to have some kind of answer, some kind of principle on which you based your answer. Why is it OK to administer the sacrament in the morning, but not over the internet?

For me, the answer lies somewhere in the realm of Tradition. Over the centuries, the church has determined that some of these matters are totally unimportant, even if it means departing from what Jesus precisely did (as far as we know). And that is precisely why it is not appropriate, perhaps even not possible, to depart from that Tradition in such a radical way as "digital communion," without a robust and healthy consensus of the whole church.

I agree. We must recognize that we are (a tiny) part of the "whole Christ Church on earth." (SC. II, 3)

Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Coach-Rev on April 04, 2020, 09:31:56 AM
I, too, appreciate the input.  All I can say is that I've never been a pastor in the midst of a pandemic before.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Coach-Rev on April 04, 2020, 09:37:50 AM
Jeff,

Forgive me for being blunt...

No forgiveness needed!  ;)
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dave Benke on April 04, 2020, 11:27:15 AM
Here's an interesting take on the Eucharist through the Roman Catholic side of the aisle from Cardinal Raymond Burke - Spiritual Communion and Perfect Contrition (related to Sacrament of Penance).

For those who cannot have access to the Holy Mass and Holy Communion, I commend the devout practice of Spiritual Communion. When we are rightly disposed to receive Holy Communion, that is, when we are in the state of grace, not conscious of any mortal sin which we have committed and for which we have not yet been forgiven in the Sacrament of Penance, and desire to receive Our Lord in Holy Communion but are unable to do so, we unite ourselves spiritually with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, praying to Our Eucharistic Lord in the words of Saint Alphonsus Liguori: “Since I am unable now to receive Thee sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart.” Spiritual Communion is a beautiful expression of love for Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. It will not fail to bring to us abundant grace.

At the same time, when we are conscious of having committed a mortal sin and are unable to have access to the Sacrament of Penance or Confession, the Church invites us to make an act of perfect contrition, that is, of sorrow for sin, which “arises from a love by which God is loved above all else.”. An act of perfect contrition “obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1452). An act of perfect contrition disposes our soul for Spiritual Communion.


Dave Benke
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Richard Johnson on April 05, 2020, 07:51:40 PM
This is what my bishop has said in a "pastoral letter":

I will neither encourage nor discourage the practice of “Communion in Diaspora” from being considered by pastors, deacons and congregational leaders, as they understand the most faithful way to move into the season of Easter in their context. I take this position for two reasons: One, I cannot endorse what is not described in our historical and confessional practices of Holy Communion, and two, neither do I feel I have the authority to overrule how the Holy Spirit may be working in, with and under the ministries of the pastors of our Synod who have prayerfully discerned with their leadership that Holy Communion needs to be offered to those who previously were present at the table and cannot gather for worship in this time. There will be no discipline or sanctions from my office for rostered ministers who have discerned that offering Communion in Diaspora during the COVID-19 Pandemic is a responsible and appropriate pastoral act in their context. When the pandemic no longer restrains us from gathering for worship, such means of providing for communion online will end.

Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: peter_speckhard on April 05, 2020, 08:41:00 PM
This is what my bishop has said in a "pastoral letter":

I will neither encourage nor discourage the practice of “Communion in Diaspora” from being considered by pastors, deacons and congregational leaders, as they understand the most faithful way to move into the season of Easter in their context. I take this position for two reasons: One, I cannot endorse what is not described in our historical and confessional practices of Holy Communion, and two, neither do I feel I have the authority to overrule how the Holy Spirit may be working in, with and under the ministries of the pastors of our Synod who have prayerfully discerned with their leadership that Holy Communion needs to be offered to those who previously were present at the table and cannot gather for worship in this time. There will be no discipline or sanctions from my office for rostered ministers who have discerned that offering Communion in Diaspora during the COVID-19 Pandemic is a responsible and appropriate pastoral act in their context. When the pandemic no longer restrains us from gathering for worship, such means of providing for communion online will end.
Richard, did you find this guidance helpful? It seems to me the more dangerous precedent than online communion is a bishop unwilling to "overrule" what the Holy Spirit "may" be doing that contradicts our confession of faith. Why bother with a confession of faith then?

I also don't share the confidence that "such means of providing for communion will end." When did the Holy Spirit say that? By what authority does the bishop make that declaration? And why should it end just because this one particular disease is no longer a threat? Some people have health issues that make them vulnerable to contagion even in normal times. Why deprive them of safe, online communion just because the government has lifted a stay-at-home order?

For a bishop's pastoral letter, it just doesn't seem very well thought through to me.

 
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Eileen Smith on April 05, 2020, 09:16:29 PM
As we started to see closings of businesses and learned more about safe distancing, pastors whom I know had a very difficult time in making the decision to close.  In the case of the congregation in which I'm a member we closed a week after the Roman Catholic congregations [did so].  The Roman Catholic priests had it a bit easier in that they were mandated to close.  As to closing and its ramifications (tele-communion being one) wouldn't it help the parish pastor to have a bishop just say no.  A friend told me that the bishop of MNYS has a weekly Zoom meeting with his deans and in one of those meetings said no tele-communion.    I understand that Lutheran bishops/presidents do not have the sort of oversight as does a RC bishop, but in these difficult days couldn't an exception be made to allow that authority?  Who knows - the Holy Spirit may be working in, with, and under those bishops/presidents who choose to give guidance.   
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Richard Johnson on April 05, 2020, 09:32:04 PM
This is what my bishop has said in a "pastoral letter":

I will neither encourage nor discourage the practice of “Communion in Diaspora” from being considered by pastors, deacons and congregational leaders, as they understand the most faithful way to move into the season of Easter in their context. I take this position for two reasons: One, I cannot endorse what is not described in our historical and confessional practices of Holy Communion, and two, neither do I feel I have the authority to overrule how the Holy Spirit may be working in, with and under the ministries of the pastors of our Synod who have prayerfully discerned with their leadership that Holy Communion needs to be offered to those who previously were present at the table and cannot gather for worship in this time. There will be no discipline or sanctions from my office for rostered ministers who have discerned that offering Communion in Diaspora during the COVID-19 Pandemic is a responsible and appropriate pastoral act in their context. When the pandemic no longer restrains us from gathering for worship, such means of providing for communion online will end.
Richard, did you find this guidance helpful? It seems to me the more dangerous precedent than online communion is a bishop unwilling to "overrule" what the Holy Spirit "may" be doing that contradicts our confession of faith. Why bother with a confession of faith then?

I also don't share the confidence that "such means of providing for communion will end." When did the Holy Spirit say that? By what authority does the bishop make that declaration? And why should it end just because this one particular disease is no longer a threat? Some people have health issues that make them vulnerable to contagion even in normal times. Why deprive them of safe, online communion just because the government has lifted a stay-at-home order?

For a bishop's pastoral letter, it just doesn't seem very well thought through to me.

Absolutely agree. Not very well thought through, and not very "episcopal." He prefaced this by saying that he personally couldn't see himself receiving the Eucharist in this way, but if this keeps up, who knows? I haven't had time to listen to the recorded Zoom meeting (some 90 pastors involved), but I read the "executive summary" of the discussion, and it was (unsurprisingly) lacking in much theological acumen. You know, observations like "Communion is grace-based, not place-based." But remember, this is the same synod where some years ago, after dithering about whether to file disciplinary charges against congregations that had called illicitly ordained gay pastors, the bishop finally decided that "grace wins." We're gracious, you betcha.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Richard Johnson on April 05, 2020, 09:34:34 PM
One of the nice things about sojourning with the Episcopalians is that their bishop is quite clear and directive, and they respect her judgment. While allowing for some variation in local circumstances, for instance, she has given her approval for services to be recorded in the church building--provided not more than four are present: celebrant, assistant, musician, and technology person. And maybe a singer, if he or she stays at the other end of the building from the others. Takes a lot of anxiety off the rector's shoulders: this is what we're doing, this is what we're not doing, and why? Because the bishop says so.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on April 05, 2020, 09:44:57 PM
This is what my bishop has said in a "pastoral letter":

I will neither encourage nor discourage the practice of “Communion in Diaspora” from being considered by pastors, deacons and congregational leaders, as they understand the most faithful way to move into the season of Easter in their context. I take this position for two reasons: One, I cannot endorse what is not described in our historical and confessional practices of Holy Communion, and two, neither do I feel I have the authority to overrule how the Holy Spirit may be working in, with and under the ministries of the pastors of our Synod who have prayerfully discerned with their leadership that Holy Communion needs to be offered to those who previously were present at the table and cannot gather for worship in this time. There will be no discipline or sanctions from my office for rostered ministers who have discerned that offering Communion in Diaspora during the COVID-19 Pandemic is a responsible and appropriate pastoral act in their context. When the pandemic no longer restrains us from gathering for worship, such means of providing for communion online will end.
Richard, did you find this guidance helpful? It seems to me the more dangerous precedent than online communion is a bishop unwilling to "overrule" what the Holy Spirit "may" be doing that contradicts our confession of faith. Why bother with a confession of faith then?

I also don't share the confidence that "such means of providing for communion will end." When did the Holy Spirit say that? By what authority does the bishop make that declaration? And why should it end just because this one particular disease is no longer a threat? Some people have health issues that make them vulnerable to contagion even in normal times. Why deprive them of safe, online communion just because the government has lifted a stay-at-home order?

For a bishop's pastoral letter, it just doesn't seem very well thought through to me.

Absolutely agree. Not very well thought through, and not very "episcopal." He prefaced this by saying that he personally couldn't see himself receiving the Eucharist in this way, but if this keeps up, who knows? I haven't had time to listen to the recorded Zoom meeting (some 90 pastors involved), but I read the "executive summary" of the discussion, and it was (unsurprisingly) lacking in much theological acumen. You know, observations like "Communion is grace-based, not place-based." But remember, this is the same synod where some years ago, after dithering about whether to file disciplinary charges against congregations that had called illicitly ordained gay pastors, the bishop finally decided that "grace wins." We're gracious, you betcha.


It is also the synod that removed two congregations for calling illicitly ordained gay pastors.


If we wanted our bishops to be our theologians, then we need to elect those with advanced degrees in theology. We don't usually do that. The first bishop of the Missouri-Kansas (now Central States) Synod, Charles Maahs, has a Th.D. from Tübingen. However, he was serving as a parish pastor in Overland Park, KS, not teaching theology in a college or seminary. (We met weekly at his congregation for a pericope study.)
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: DCharlton on April 05, 2020, 11:07:09 PM
This is what my bishop has said in a "pastoral letter":

I will neither encourage nor discourage the practice of “Communion in Diaspora” from being considered by pastors, deacons and congregational leaders, as they understand the most faithful way to move into the season of Easter in their context. I take this position for two reasons: One, I cannot endorse what is not described in our historical and confessional practices of Holy Communion, and two, neither do I feel I have the authority to overrule how the Holy Spirit may be working in, with and under the ministries of the pastors of our Synod who have prayerfully discerned with their leadership that Holy Communion needs to be offered to those who previously were present at the table and cannot gather for worship in this time. There will be no discipline or sanctions from my office for rostered ministers who have discerned that offering Communion in Diaspora during the COVID-19 Pandemic is a responsible and appropriate pastoral act in their context. When the pandemic no longer restrains us from gathering for worship, such means of providing for communion online will end.

So the only authority that Article 28 says a bishop has "by divine right", as opposed to "human right", is the one kind of authority this bishop is certain he doesn't have?  So much for judging doctrine and condemning doctrine contrary to the Gospel.  And so much for the obligation to be obedient to bishops in such cases. 
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: peter_speckhard on April 05, 2020, 11:44:34 PM

If we wanted our bishops to be our theologians, then we need to elect those with advanced degrees in theology.
Well, you certainly seem to have dodged that bullet.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: therevbrucefoster on April 06, 2020, 07:36:39 AM
"If we wanted our bishops to be our theologians, then we need to elect those with advanced degrees in theology."

It is touching that you, Brian, think that earning an advanced degree in theology would in any sense make a person a theologian! Since such theologians spend most of their time condemning others who have the same advanced degrees of being heretics or incompetents your belief seems implausible to me.

Not that it makes a wit of difference to my observation I have a PhD in Systematics from Cambridge University UK.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: James_Gale on April 06, 2020, 09:16:22 AM
This is what my bishop has said in a "pastoral letter":

I will neither encourage nor discourage the practice of “Communion in Diaspora” from being considered by pastors, deacons and congregational leaders, as they understand the most faithful way to move into the season of Easter in their context. I take this position for two reasons: One, I cannot endorse what is not described in our historical and confessional practices of Holy Communion, and two, neither do I feel I have the authority to overrule how the Holy Spirit may be working in, with and under the ministries of the pastors of our Synod who have prayerfully discerned with their leadership that Holy Communion needs to be offered to those who previously were present at the table and cannot gather for worship in this time. There will be no discipline or sanctions from my office for rostered ministers who have discerned that offering Communion in Diaspora during the COVID-19 Pandemic is a responsible and appropriate pastoral act in their context. When the pandemic no longer restrains us from gathering for worship, such means of providing for communion online will end.

So the only authority that Article 28 says a bishop has "by divine right", as opposed to "human right", is the one kind of authority this bishop is certain he doesn't have?  So much for judging doctrine and condemning doctrine contrary to the Gospel.  And so much for the obligation to be obedient to bishops in such cases.
That's not all.  I wonder how the bishop's professed lack of "authority to overrule how the Holy Spirit may be working" dissipates along with the pandemic.   
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: pastorg1@aol.com on April 06, 2020, 10:12:51 AM
Not doing something is doing something. Not over ruling is not not over ruling. The Holy Spirit blows where it wishes; best to shelter in the Confessions and Tradition and not be puffed-up with false humility?

Peter (Pinchas Lapide) Garrison
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: John_Hannah on April 06, 2020, 10:15:38 AM
I don't see any example of strong authority anywhere in our history as American Lutherans . It seems to be in our genes that we are suspicious of any oversight. It's an inherited weakness.   :)

Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Steven W Bohler on April 06, 2020, 10:16:46 AM
I don't see any example of strong authority anywhere in our history as American Lutherans . It seems to be in our genes that we are suspicious of any oversight. It's inherited weakness.   :)

Peace, JOHN

Buffalo Synod.  Grabau.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dave Likeness on April 06, 2020, 10:27:38 AM
I agree with Pastor Bruce Foster.  Advanced degrees do not make a theologian.

Martin H. Franzmann was an outstanding theologian in the LCMS.  He only had
a Bachelor of Arts degree and an honorary Doctor of Divinity. During his 20
years on the faculty of Concordia Seminary, St Louis he was a first rate N.T.
scholar.  For some years he was the Chairman of the Department of
Exegetical Theology. He wrote commentaries on Matthew, Romans and
Revelation as well as an Introduction to the New Testament.

Franzmann wrote "Seven Theses on Reformation Hermeneutics"  and it was
adopted by the Commission on Theology and Church Relations in 1969.
He wrote other important papers for the LCMS as well as some outstanding
hymns. Martin Franzmann was a humble man who used his talents to serve
the Lord. 
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Steven W Bohler on April 06, 2020, 10:49:59 AM
FWIW, here is the prayer I intend to offer in the Prayer of the Church in that place where we normally pray for a worthy communion.

Lord God, in His unfailing mercy and love, Your Son graciously instituted for us His holy Supper on the day before He suffered. Although we cannot at this time receive in our mouths His true body and blood, nevertheless we beg You to stir up our minds and hearts to the salutary remembrance of His benefits. Grant that by faith we may still spiritually partake of Him by recalling the Words of His new and eternal Testament, in which He promised: “This is my body, which is given for you” and “this cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you, for the forgiveness of sins.” Grant that we may ever rejoice in how Your Son once offered Himself upon the altar of the cross in our place—a Ransom pure, holy, and undefiled. Fill us now with  His blood-bought forgiveness. Give every heavenly benediction and grace to all those who devoutly remember this day His holy sacrifice. Gather us from the ends of the earth to celebrate with all the faithful the marriage feast of the Lamb in His Kingdom which has no end.

I plan on using this in place of the concluding collect of LSB's Divine Service, Setting Three at our online Maundy Thursday service.  Thank you!
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: John_Hannah on April 06, 2020, 10:50:29 AM
I don't see any example of strong authority anywhere in our history as American Lutherans . It seems to be in our genes that we are suspicious of any oversight. It's inherited weakness.   :)

Peace, JOHN

Buffalo Synod.  Grabau.

As with Bishop Stephan, it did not end well, although not so abruptly as Stephan. I have been told by pastors who served congregations of the former Buffalo Synod that these congregation to this day are exceptionally anti-clerical as a result of Grabau. There may be a strain of anti-clericalism in Missouri as well. Look at Christian News with its long history of bitter attacks against pastors as though their lay members should rise up against them. This has been tolerated for too many years.

Peace. JOHN
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Richard Johnson on April 06, 2020, 11:11:08 AM
Here's where all this leads, from an ELCA Clergy Facebook page:

On a lighter note, for those providing online communion to a worshipping community:

What's the most interesting food & beverage you've seen your people using for communion in their homes? What the most interesting option you've used yourself so far?


I won't stun you with the answers.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: therevbrucefoster on April 06, 2020, 11:33:31 AM
I was one of Martin Franzmann's last students He had gone to England and was the tutor at Westfield House where I stayed while studying at Cambridge. He had vast knowledge and a gentle spirit. He was torn about by the battle in LCMS and never really felt at home on either side. But it is not just Franzmann who shows the unimportance of "advanced theological degrees. Two of the greatest theologians I have ever had the good fortune to study under, C.F.D. Moule, Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity and Henry Chadwick, Regius Chair of Divinity did not have advanced degrees, and in Chadwick's case he didn't even study theology at university, he was a music major. He simply went through the ordinary preparation for ordination in the C of E which was not even as demanding as an American seminary (you will all remember how Bonhoeffer ws shocked at the poor quality of teaching at Union). Both these men spent their lives in deep research, were passionate for the Gospel, and cared about students. On the other hand I have had so called professors with PhDs from world class universities who once they got tenure didn't do anything but coast.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dan Fienen on April 06, 2020, 11:47:20 AM
Another great theological professor without the advanced degrees was Harry Huth who taught at Springfield and Fort Wayne while I was there. He may not have had the letters after his name, but he was a knowledgeable about the Lutheran Confessions as anyone I ever studied under.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Sam Sessa on April 07, 2020, 11:01:27 PM
(Long-time lurker, first-time commenter.)

I believe that there is a deeper question that both sides have yet to address: What and where is the church?

In effect, when a church live streams their worship service, are the people on the other end of the screen participating in the Church or are the merely having an elaborate personal devotion.

As confessional Lutherans, we look to God’s Word as the norm for faith and life. Next, we look to the confessions as an accurate summation of, and short-hand for scripture.

In AC VII we read:

[1] It is also taught that at all times there must be and remain one holy, Christian church. It is the assembly of all believers among whom the gospel is purely preached and the holy sacraments are administered according to the gospel.
[2] For this is enough for the true unity of the Christian church that there the gospel is preached harmoniously according to a pure understanding and the sacraments are administered in conformity with the divine Word. [3] It is not necessary for the true unity of the Christian church that uniform ceremonies, instituted by human beings, be observed everywhere. [4] As Paul says in Ephesians 4[:4–5*]: “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism.”


The Una Sancta is gathered together by the Spirit through Christians gathered around God’s Word and Gifts. The Una Sancta is the gathering of individuals, congregations, and denominations, across the whole of the earth, and truly, through of all time. It is not physical proximity that accomplishes this miracle, but the Spirit working through Word and Sacrament.

As the third line says, “It is not necessary for the true unity of the Christian church that uniform ceremonies, instituted by human beings, be observed everywhere.” Recently, we have usually taken this to mean organs or guitars. Today, we are must ask ourselves: Is possible for the Una Sancta to be gathered through electronic communication?

Either those at home watching and joining together through electronic means are coming together as the Una Sancta as they gather around God’s Word and His Gifts, or they are not. If they aren’t the Una Sancta, then what they do in the privacy of their homes is the equivalent of an extravagant devotion. Filled with God’s Law and Gospel to be sure, but merely an individual practice devoid of communion together in the Spirit.

I would argue that what is occurring in homes across the country is the true gathering of the Una Sancta as Christians gather together around God’s Word and Sacrament. It is the Spirit that takes God’s Word and makes it efficacious for what it sets out to do. It is the Spirit who draws, gathers and enlightens. It is the Spirit who takes the vocal intonations of the preacher, whether magnified electronically in a physical worship space or magnified electronically through the internet to bring life.

The Gospel is not contained by physical space, nor is Christ’s body, nor is the Spirit. And while live streaming is an extremely new innovation in the history of the Church, it is truly not that different than local projection by electronic means in a physical sanctuary.

I won’t pretend to explain how the Spirit joins us all together as the Una Sancta but I know that where Jesus has promised to locate Himself: wherever His Word is purely preached and His Gifts administered according to the Gospel.

(Thanks Mike, I'll take my answer off the air)
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on April 07, 2020, 11:54:07 PM
A virtual assembly? 
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: James J Eivan on April 07, 2020, 11:58:44 PM
(Long-time lurker, first-time commenter.)

I believe that there is a deeper question that both sides have yet to address: What and where is the church?

In effect, when a church live streams their worship service, are the people on the other end of the screen participating in the Church or are the merely having an elaborate personal devotion.

As confessional Lutherans, we look to God’s Word as the norm for faith and life. Next, we look to the confessions as an accurate summation of, and short-hand for scripture.

In AC VII we read:

[1] It is also taught that at all times there must be and remain one holy, Christian church. It is the assembly of all believers among whom the gospel is purely preached and the holy sacraments are administered according to the gospel.
[2] For this is enough for the true unity of the Christian church that there the gospel is preached harmoniously according to a pure understanding and the sacraments are administered in conformity with the divine Word. [3] It is not necessary for the true unity of the Christian church that uniform ceremonies, instituted by human beings, be observed everywhere. [4] As Paul says in Ephesians 4[:4–5*]: “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism.”


The Una Sancta is gathered together by the Spirit through Christians gathered around God’s Word and Gifts. The Una Sancta is the gathering of individuals, congregations, and denominations, across the whole of the earth, and truly, through of all time. It is not physical proximity that accomplishes this miracle, but the Spirit working through Word and Sacrament.

As the third line says, “It is not necessary for the true unity of the Christian church that uniform ceremonies, instituted by human beings, be observed everywhere.” Recently, we have usually taken this to mean organs or guitars. Today, we are must ask ourselves: Is possible for the Una Sancta to be gathered through electronic communication?

Either those at home watching and joining together through electronic means are coming together as the Una Sancta as they gather around God’s Word and His Gifts, or they are not. If they aren’t the Una Sancta, then what they do in the privacy of their homes is the equivalent of an extravagant devotion. Filled with God’s Law and Gospel to be sure, but merely an individual practice devoid of communion together in the Spirit.

I would argue that what is occurring in homes across the country is the true gathering of the Una Sancta as Christians gather together around God’s Word and Sacrament. It is the Spirit that takes God’s Word and makes it efficacious for what it sets out to do. It is the Spirit who draws, gathers and enlightens. It is the Spirit who takes the vocal intonations of the preacher, whether magnified electronically in a physical worship space or magnified electronically through the internet to bring life.

The Gospel is not contained by physical space, nor is Christ’s body, nor is the Spirit. And while live streaming is an extremely new innovation in the history of the Church, it is truly not that different than local projection by electronic means in a physical sanctuary.

I won’t pretend to explain how the Spirit joins us all together as the Una Sancta but I know that where Jesus has promised to locate Himself: wherever His Word is purely preached and His Gifts administered according to the Gospel.

(Thanks Mike, I'll take my answer off the air)

Welcome aboard Sam ... it is great to have you join us.  While I have not digested the meat of your post, I did notice you used Church and church. You may or may not have deliberately used the upper and lower case in your post since neither occurrence was at the beginning of a sentence.


For some,  Church with the uppercase ‘C’ indicates the true invisible Church, the Holy Christian Church, the Communion of Saints,  the Una Sancta as you mentioned above.  The lowercase ‘c’ can indicate the local congregation, the building that houses the sanctuary (the building we normally gather to for worship) a denomination (ie LCMS, WELS, ELS, ELCA etc), or the gathering (ie church is at @ 7p Thursday.)

Is there any significance in your use of Church and church in your post?  Thanks!

Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: peter_speckhard on April 08, 2020, 09:07:14 AM
I think there is a big difference between two-way online communication, like Skype or Zoom or even FaceTime, and live-streaming or broadcasting services. Everyone who happens to have The Lutheran Hour on their radio is not thereby the assemble Church. It may be that people can gather from a distance, but to be gathered meaningfully they have to have some sense of with whom they are gathered.

If one broadcasted the words, “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and invited the audience to pour water on themselves while listening, would they be baptized?

Recently drones were flying over sidewalks urging people to stay home. Could drones do the work of the pastoral ministry? They could certainly speak words. A church gathered electronically might never even know if their “pastor” was a robot. And might not even care.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Mike in Pennsylvania on April 08, 2020, 09:16:50 AM
Welcome indeed, Mr. (Pr.?)Sessa.  I think your point is well taken when it comes to the Word.  I have long argued that "the Word" should not be limited to sermons in a pulpit, but that God's Word and Spirit can and does also use printed sermons, broadcast sermons, on-line sermons, Bible studies, and other forms.  And God's Spirit can use the Word in any of these forms to create faith and thus Church.
Sacraments are a different matter, however.  They necessarily involve actual people in the same place, even if it is a home communion with a shut-in or an emergency baptism and not the Sunday gathering.
As many have noted, Lutherans in the past often held communion services less than once a month.  However one may think that misguided, those Lutherans were not deprived of the Word or the Spirit, and thus were true Church.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Coach-Rev on April 08, 2020, 10:41:27 AM
Here's where all this leads, from an ELCA Clergy Facebook page:

On a lighter note, for those providing online communion to a worshipping community:

What's the most interesting food & beverage you've seen your people using for communion in their homes? What the most interesting option you've used yourself so far?


I won't stun you with the answers.

I"m not on any such pages, but in discussions on the NALC clergy page yesterday, someone who travels in both camps identified "Cheez-It's" as one such object.  Clear back in my youth, it was suggested (circa mid 1980's at Augustana College - IL) that for Lutherans, beer and pretzels should be used for the elements.   :o
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: RandyBosch on April 08, 2020, 10:44:13 AM
"If we wanted our bishops to be our theologians, then we need to elect those with advanced degrees in theology."

It is touching that you, Brian, think that earning an advanced degree in theology would in any sense make a person a theologian! Since such theologians spend most of their time condemning others who have the same advanced degrees of being heretics or incompetents your belief seems implausible to me.

Not that it makes a wit of difference to my observation I have a PhD in Systematics from Cambridge University UK.

The conceit often present in academia precludes accepting those outside of it as having intellectual capabilities or achievements.  Max Weber addressed this in a talk to students about a century ago.  In the linked Aeon article, "The Scholar's Vocation" ( https://bit.ly/2yHYUE5 )  , Chad Wellman concluded that,

"In a disenchanted age, we all, not just the self-christened intellectuals, must go about the work of learning how to live.  Whoever continues to look out over the horizon hoping for a prophet or history or reason to bring meaning avoids the work of becoming human."

I have an alphabet soup full of university degrees and earned or awarded honoraria behind my name that I don't post (nothing theological...don't worry!).  What I learned in college was... How To Learn, and the real education applied that foundation to work in the
"real world".

In my opinion, the article is worth a thoughtful read.

Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dave Benke on April 08, 2020, 12:35:01 PM
"If we wanted our bishops to be our theologians, then we need to elect those with advanced degrees in theology."

It is touching that you, Brian, think that earning an advanced degree in theology would in any sense make a person a theologian! Since such theologians spend most of their time condemning others who have the same advanced degrees of being heretics or incompetents your belief seems implausible to me.

Not that it makes a wit of difference to my observation I have a PhD in Systematics from Cambridge University UK.

The conceit often present in academia precludes accepting those outside of it as having intellectual capabilities or achievements.  Max Weber addressed this in a talk to students about a century ago.  In the linked Aeon article, "The Scholar's Vocation" ( https://bit.ly/2yHYUE5 )  , Chad Wellman concluded that,

"In a disenchanted age, we all, not just the self-christened intellectuals, must go about the work of learning how to live.  Whoever continues to look out over the horizon hoping for a prophet or history or reason to bring meaning avoids the work of becoming human."

I have an alphabet soup full of university degrees and earned or awarded honoraria behind my name that I don't post (nothing theological...don't worry!).  What I learned in college was... How To Learn, and the real education applied that foundation to work in the
"real world".

In my opinion, the article is worth a thoughtful read.

Thanks for this, Randy - have read through it once but it deserves several re-reads from different directions.  The theological enterprise actually (my opinion) suffers from its academic moniker - "the queen of the sciences."  Luther was, as we know, himself an academic, but a "back in the day" polymath academic with at the very least a pastoral direction for much of what he wrote and taught.  Which is good.  Even as he inveighed against the scholastics, he engendered a scholasticism among Lutherans that took place at least partly in reaction to the pietistic movement, but ended up giving us the division between head and heart that has plagued conservative Lutheranism throughout (the mainline-ish posturing today is pretty much unmoored theologically).  Which is taken up to some degree by Weber, as he outlines the factory-like educational enterprise, which is not disconnected from theological training. 

Anyway, if theology is a science, then it's about assembling data, no?  The folks who do theology inside the bubble are good for it, because they just prooftext Bible passages up against one another, usually context-free.  That's viewed as the prolegomena to systematics, which is taking the prooftexted passages, riffing them through the confessional documents, and double prooftexting.  Wash, rinse, repeat.  On the mainline side of the aisle it is to let the culture dictate the agenda and then try to pull something contextual from the bible/confessions back in.  Either way, the dynamic of that interaction is too limited, in my opinion, and secondly is not always directed at its heart to and from the Gospel. 

The task of pastors on the ground is to decode all of that and apply it to the lives, hearts and minds of a specific group of people never leaving or losing sight of the Gospel.  So there are four parties of the first part - the biblical texts, the confessional documents, the pastor and the people of God.  Welcome to Sunday Morning Live-Streaming at St. Peter's Lutheran in the first weeks of the Corona Virus Era.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on April 09, 2020, 08:48:04 AM
Cheetos? Sometimes ideas of even localized communion can be weird. "Take, eat. This guinea pig is ..."  :o

https://scontent.fdsm1-1.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/92550850_10158145386369347_9115532864115441664_n.jpg?_nc_cat=104&_nc_sid=110474&_nc_ohc=9KOgYgpxWP0AX-hfCba&_nc_ht=scontent.fdsm1-1.fna&oh=4fd87aef99502e682e9e7cb37fb835f8&oe=5EB31D78

Peruvian painting of The Last Supper by Marcos Zapata, 1753. Cusco Cathedral.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dave Benke on April 09, 2020, 10:06:26 AM
Cheetos? Sometimes ideas of even localized communion can be weird. "Take, eat. This guinea pig is ..."  :o

https://scontent.fdsm1-1.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/92550850_10158145386369347_9115532864115441664_n.jpg?_nc_cat=104&_nc_sid=110474&_nc_ohc=9KOgYgpxWP0AX-hfCba&_nc_ht=scontent.fdsm1-1.fna&oh=4fd87aef99502e682e9e7cb37fb835f8&oe=5EB31D78

Peruvian painting of The Last Supper by Marcos Zapata, 1753. Cusco Cathedral.

In places where there are/were no lambs and contact with the outside world - how best to explain  "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."?

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on April 09, 2020, 10:15:43 AM
In places where there are/were no lambs and contact with the outside world - how best to explain  "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."?

No lambs in Peru?! But that's beside the point, isn't it? How best to explain the Lamb of God? Certainly not by roasting a lamb, much less a guinea pig! It's a New Covenant, Dave.

"After this night, no longer would the body of a lamb be eaten with unleavened bread; now the body of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, is eaten in unleavened bread. No longer would the flesh of a sacrificial animal be roasted over the fire and then eaten; now the flesh of the sacrificial Son, sacrificed by the fire of divine wrath upon the cross, is eaten. No longer would the defense of God's people be the body and blood of a regular lamb; now our defense is the body and blood of the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, and who gives His flesh to eat and His blood to drink for the life of the world.
         
Tonight is a night of new and greater gifts. Everything given this night is of surpassingly greater value than what was given in ancient times. The captivity of the Israelites in Egypt, under the tyranny of Pharaoh, was child's play compared to the captivity of the world in sin, under the tyranny of Satan. Theirs was captivity only of the body, but ours of the soul and body. The tyrant Pharaoh was only a weak, mortal man, but the tyrant Satan is a strong, immortal spirit. So their redemption was by the blood of a beast, but the world's redemption was by the blood of the Son of God. They ate the flesh of a lamb, but we eat the flesh of The Lamb, a man whose flesh is divine. And they were saved only from the sword of a Destroying Angel, but we are saved from the everlasting flames of hell.  And in this night, Christ points us to our sacred day of exodus and the promised land which lies ahead. He points us to a sacred meal, which strengthens us for the journey, and is the means by which we pass from Satan's yoke to our Father's kingdom."
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: RandyBosch on April 09, 2020, 10:27:08 AM
Cheetos? Sometimes ideas of even localized communion can be weird. "Take, eat. This guinea pig is ..."  :o

https://scontent.fdsm1-1.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/92550850_10158145386369347_9115532864115441664_n.jpg?_nc_cat=104&_nc_sid=110474&_nc_ohc=9KOgYgpxWP0AX-hfCba&_nc_ht=scontent.fdsm1-1.fna&oh=4fd87aef99502e682e9e7cb37fb835f8&oe=5EB31D78

Peruvian painting of The Last Supper by Marcos Zapata, 1753. Cusco Cathedral.

In places where there are/were no lambs and contact with the outside world - how best to explain  "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."?

Dave Benke

Where are sheep found/not found on earth?  Not in Antartica, but otherwise pretty much everywhere:
https://worldmapper.org/maps/sheep-2016/
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: James J Eivan on April 09, 2020, 12:22:10 PM
In places where there are/were no lambs and contact with the outside world - how best to explain  "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."?

Dave Benke
Through catechizing .... The Biblical concept of 'hope' is far different than the secular concept of 'hope'. 
The parable of the wheat and tares is gutted of its significance when transitions reduce it to wheat and weeds.  It is VERY significant that the tare plant is identical to early growth wheat plant ... this is not common knowledge .. it must be taught!


Without detailed teaching,  even the concept of sheep and lambs is not fully understood  ... sheep are extremely stupid animals .... some times ... at least in Biblical times a shepherd would break the leg of a wayward sheep to teach it to rely on the shepherd.  All this ... and this is how the Lord refers to us.
Many biblical concepts are not intuitive  ... they must be taught  ..not substituted.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dave Benke on April 09, 2020, 03:41:45 PM
Cheetos? Sometimes ideas of even localized communion can be weird. "Take, eat. This guinea pig is ..."  :o

https://scontent.fdsm1-1.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/92550850_10158145386369347_9115532864115441664_n.jpg?_nc_cat=104&_nc_sid=110474&_nc_ohc=9KOgYgpxWP0AX-hfCba&_nc_ht=scontent.fdsm1-1.fna&oh=4fd87aef99502e682e9e7cb37fb835f8&oe=5EB31D78

Peruvian painting of The Last Supper by Marcos Zapata, 1753. Cusco Cathedral.

In places where there are/were no lambs and contact with the outside world - how best to explain  "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."?

Dave Benke

Where are sheep found/not found on earth?  Not in Antartica, but otherwise pretty much everywhere:
https://worldmapper.org/maps/sheep-2016/

The conversation I had back in the day was with missionaries to the wilds of Papua New Guinea who found no tribal knowledge of sheep, only pigs.  But I wasn't there, maybe there were sheep two villages and a couple of high hills over to the left.  Or the missionaries made a left when they should have made a right and ended up in Antarctica. 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on April 09, 2020, 05:32:17 PM
Cheetos? Sometimes ideas of even localized communion can be weird. "Take, eat. This guinea pig is ..."  :o

https://scontent.fdsm1-1.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/92550850_10158145386369347_9115532864115441664_n.jpg?_nc_cat=104&_nc_sid=110474&_nc_ohc=9KOgYgpxWP0AX-hfCba&_nc_ht=scontent.fdsm1-1.fna&oh=4fd87aef99502e682e9e7cb37fb835f8&oe=5EB31D78 (https://scontent.fdsm1-1.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/92550850_10158145386369347_9115532864115441664_n.jpg?_nc_cat=104&_nc_sid=110474&_nc_ohc=9KOgYgpxWP0AX-hfCba&_nc_ht=scontent.fdsm1-1.fna&oh=4fd87aef99502e682e9e7cb37fb835f8&oe=5EB31D78)

Peruvian painting of The Last Supper by Marcos Zapata, 1753. Cusco Cathedral.

In places where there are/were no lambs and contact with the outside world - how best to explain  "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."?


Or, when the culture doesn't have word for "sin". I recall that being a discussion back in seminary.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Steven W Bohler on April 09, 2020, 09:04:29 PM
Cheetos? Sometimes ideas of even localized communion can be weird. "Take, eat. This guinea pig is ..."  :o

https://scontent.fdsm1-1.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/92550850_10158145386369347_9115532864115441664_n.jpg?_nc_cat=104&_nc_sid=110474&_nc_ohc=9KOgYgpxWP0AX-hfCba&_nc_ht=scontent.fdsm1-1.fna&oh=4fd87aef99502e682e9e7cb37fb835f8&oe=5EB31D78 (https://scontent.fdsm1-1.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/92550850_10158145386369347_9115532864115441664_n.jpg?_nc_cat=104&_nc_sid=110474&_nc_ohc=9KOgYgpxWP0AX-hfCba&_nc_ht=scontent.fdsm1-1.fna&oh=4fd87aef99502e682e9e7cb37fb835f8&oe=5EB31D78)

Peruvian painting of The Last Supper by Marcos Zapata, 1753. Cusco Cathedral.

In places where there are/were no lambs and contact with the outside world - how best to explain  "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."?


Or, when the culture doesn't have word for "sin". I recall that being a discussion back in seminary.

Or when the culture has the word for "sin" but denies its reality by calling it a choice, a lifestyle, an expression of freedom, or such.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: peter_speckhard on April 09, 2020, 09:11:09 PM
Cheetos? Sometimes ideas of even localized communion can be weird. "Take, eat. This guinea pig is ..."  :o

https://scontent.fdsm1-1.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/92550850_10158145386369347_9115532864115441664_n.jpg?_nc_cat=104&_nc_sid=110474&_nc_ohc=9KOgYgpxWP0AX-hfCba&_nc_ht=scontent.fdsm1-1.fna&oh=4fd87aef99502e682e9e7cb37fb835f8&oe=5EB31D78 (https://scontent.fdsm1-1.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/92550850_10158145386369347_9115532864115441664_n.jpg?_nc_cat=104&_nc_sid=110474&_nc_ohc=9KOgYgpxWP0AX-hfCba&_nc_ht=scontent.fdsm1-1.fna&oh=4fd87aef99502e682e9e7cb37fb835f8&oe=5EB31D78)

Peruvian painting of The Last Supper by Marcos Zapata, 1753. Cusco Cathedral.

In places where there are/were no lambs and contact with the outside world - how best to explain  "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."?


Or, when the culture doesn't have word for "sin". I recall that being a discussion back in seminary.

Or when the culture has the word for "sin" but denies its reality by calling it a choice, a lifestyle, an expression of freedom, or such.
Whether the culture has a word for it, that word still has to be taught and learned before anyone knows it. Teaching it to a child might differ from teaching it to a grownup, but it has to be taught either way. The advantage a concept like sin has, of course, is that every culture has experienced the concept of it in some form or other because people have consciences.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on April 09, 2020, 09:44:28 PM

Or, when the culture doesn't have word for "sin". I recall that being a discussion back in seminary.

Try The Book of Strange New Things (here reviewed (https://www.firstthings.com/article/2015/03/jesus-lovers) in First Things) for a fairly recent (science fiction) novel about a missionary in such a culture.  It's certainly not the first sf story to address the matter from a Christian perspective.  And, of course, missionaries have been dealing with such cultures for about as long as there have been missionaries.

As a sidelight, the world the missionary comes from -- our own -- is collapsing.

Christe eleison, Steven+
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Charles Austin on April 09, 2020, 10:43:34 PM
Notes on Holy Thursday-Brooklyn and Minnesota
   The difference between Eastern and Central time enabled me to virtually attend two Holy Thursday services. Here are some comments, more on the second than on the first and I know I will take some hits for what I post here. Doesn’t matter.
   I was a tv participant in the service at St. Peter's, Brooklyn. Bishop/DP/Pastor Benke’s church is quite lovely. It is spacious and plain in a pleasing way. Obviously, it was not full, I think he said 6 people, properly separated; but I could imagine it full and ringing with several forms of the Spirit. I loved singing along with “There’s Power in the Blood” and beginning the service with “Just As I Am.” And Dave’s message was topical, relevant and appropriate. I’m sure things are “better” at St. Peter’s, Brooklyn, when the church is full of his lively, diverse flock; but as a virtual visitor this unusual Holy Thursday, I was nourished by song and Word. Thanks, Dave. Minor criticism: surely you can sing "I am Jesus' Little Lamb" without looking at the text!  ;)
   I had to switch channels while Dave's closing prayers were still going on so I could reach the next stop on this tour.
  Now. Brace yourselves. A large Lutheran church near me was having a “virtual communion service” and Beloved Spouse and I decided to take part. (She has always really loved Maundy Thursday services.)
 This afternoon, I baked unleavened bread. Poured a glass of wine and set a small round of the bread on a plate placed on the coffee table in our living room.
   Music from an organist and quartet began the service, followed by confession and absolution, scripture, another hymn and the sermon. The sung communion liturgy was from ELW and we sort of sang along. I prefer a full eucharistic prayer, but the bare Verba was used and I lifted our elements during the recitation. I broke the bread, said “The Body and Blood of Christ, given and shed for us,” and we ate and drank.
   A communion blessing and post-communion prayer followed, then the stripping of the altar. When that was completed, the pastors came to the front of the altar, then exited in silence.
   OK, so what’s going on here? Don’t I oppose such services? I do, mostly. Then why did I take part?
   There are two reasons. One is the special feeling Beloved Spouse and I have for this night and the fulness of the liturgy. The second is that I wanted the experience, to see how it felt, apart from all the head-talk theologizing that has gone on in recent weeks.
    I’ll be brief. And perhaps even inconsistent. Not citing any scripture or formulas from the Confessions; that's another kind of discussion. So shoot me for considering feelings.
    It felt good. Really good. I’m not sure why.
    Beloved Spouse and I heard the Word. We prayed the prayer of confession and heard the absolution. We heard scripture proclaimed in the sermon, and we received bread and wine in the same manner as if we had been present at church with a full congregation.
   Was it the Sacrament?  No. Yes. Maybe. Does anyone really know? And if it was something else, does it matter? 
   The bulletin from the church spoke as if it was the Sacrament. I’m not sure I would have stated things as clearly (but then I do not think I would have done it were I the pastor.)
   Would I advocate this apart from today’s special situation? No. Definitely not. Maybe.
   May the time come soon when we don’t even have to think about this kind of thing.
   But as I often say, life is complicated.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Steven W Bohler on April 09, 2020, 11:14:02 PM
Notes on Holy Thursday-Brooklyn and Minnesota
   The difference between Eastern and Central time enabled me to virtually attend two Holy Thursday services. Here are some comments, more on the second than on the first and I know I will take some hits for what I post here. Doesn’t matter.
   I was a tv participant in the service at St. Peter's, Brooklyn. Bishop/DP/Pastor Benke’s church is quite lovely. It is spacious and plain in a pleasing way. Obviously, it was not full, I think he said 6 people, properly separated; but I could imagine it full and ringing with several forms of the Spirit. I loved singing along with “There’s Power in the Blood” and beginning the service with “Just As I Am.” And Dave’s message was topical, relevant and appropriate. I’m sure things are “better” at St. Peter’s, Brooklyn, when the church is full of his lively, diverse flock; but as a virtual visitor this unusual Holy Thursday, I was nourished by song and Word. Thanks, Dave. Minor criticism: surely you can sing "I am Jesus' Little Lamb" without looking at the text!  ;)
   I had to switch channels while Dave's closing prayers were still going on so I could reach the next stop on this tour.
  Now. Brace yourselves. A large Lutheran church near me was having a “virtual communion service” and Beloved Spouse and I decided to take part. (She has always really loved Maundy Thursday services.)
 This afternoon, I baked unleavened bread. Poured a glass of wine and set a small round of the bread on a plate placed on the coffee table in our living room.
   Music from an organist and quartet began the service, followed by confession and absolution, scripture, another hymn and the sermon. The sung communion liturgy was from ELW and we sort of sang along. I prefer a full eucharistic prayer, but the bare Verba was used and I lifted our elements during the recitation. I broke the bread, said “The Body and Blood of Christ, given and shed for us,” and we ate and drank.
   A communion blessing and post-communion prayer followed, then the stripping of the altar. When that was completed, the pastors came to the front of the altar, then exited in silence.
   OK, so what’s going on here? Don’t I oppose such services? I do, mostly. Then why did I take part?
   There are two reasons. One is the special feeling Beloved Spouse and I have for this night and the fulness of the liturgy. The second is that I wanted the experience, to see how it felt, apart from all the head-talk theologizing that has gone on in recent weeks.
    I’ll be brief. And perhaps even inconsistent. Not citing any scripture or formulas from the Confessions; that's another kind of discussion. So shoot me for considering feelings.
    It felt good. Really good. I’m not sure why.
    Beloved Spouse and I heard the Word. We prayed the prayer of confession and heard the absolution. We heard scripture proclaimed in the sermon, and we received bread and wine in the same manner as if we had been present at church with a full congregation.
   Was it the Sacrament?  No. Yes. Maybe. Does anyone really know? And if it was something else, does it matter? 
   The bulletin from the church spoke as if it was the Sacrament. I’m not sure I would have stated things as clearly (but then I do not think I would have done it were I the pastor.)
   Would I advocate this apart from today’s special situation? No. Definitely not. Maybe.
   May the time come soon when we don’t even have to think about this kind of thing.
   But as I often say, life is complicated.

Wish I could say I was surprised.  You ask: "Was it the Sacrament?"  And then you answer: "No. Yes. Maybe. Does anyone really know? And if it was something else, does it matter?"  Does it matter if you received the Body and Blood of the Lord, or only bread and wine?  Luther weeps.  Or curses.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on April 09, 2020, 11:27:45 PM
Wish I could say I was surprised.  You ask: "Was it the Sacrament?"  And then you answer: "No. Yes. Maybe. Does anyone really know? And if it was something else, does it matter?"  Does it matter if you received the Body and Blood of the Lord, or only bread and wine?  Luther weeps.  Or curses.

Aye.

And 19th Century German Reformed (UCC antecedant) theologian John Williamson Nevin challenges, as he did Lutheran Observor Editor Benjamin Kurtz, "and you call yourself a Lutheran!"
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Charles Austin on April 09, 2020, 11:43:27 PM
So, Pastor Bohler, let me ask a simple question. Is it possible; is it remotely possible that God could act sacramentally through what I described? Is our way of “bringing“ God into the sacrament the only way to do it? Is our description of how God acts sacramentally the only valid description? Yes, I believe we Lutherans are right in how we do that. But are we the only ones to get it right?
Supposing, in this situation, I didn’t receive the body and blood of Christ? I received forgiveness through the words of absolution or through my own request for God’s forgiveness. I received spiritual comfort. I will receive the sacrament in the sacred “Lutheran” way sometime in the near future. So is my old buddy Martin going to weep and curse at me because on this occasion I sought another means of solace?
Yes, Mr. Shelley, I call myself and Lutheran, and I’m even a little proud about it.
But, thank you for proving me right as I told myself I could predict what the responses to my post would be. With you two I was right on target.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Steven W Bohler on April 10, 2020, 12:28:55 AM
So, Pastor Bohler, let me ask a simple question. Is it possible; is it remotely possible that God could act sacramentally through what I described? Is our way of “bringing“ God into the sacrament the only way to do it? Is our description of how God acts sacramentally the only valid description? Yes, I believe we Lutherans are right in how we do that. But are we the only ones to get it right?
Supposing, in this situation, I didn’t receive the body and blood of Christ? I received forgiveness through the words of absolution or through my own request for God’s forgiveness. I received spiritual comfort. I will receive the sacrament in the sacred “Lutheran” way sometime in the near future. So is my old buddy Martin going to weep and curse at me because on this occasion I sought another means of solace?
Yes, Mr. Shelley, I call myself and Lutheran, and I’m even a little proud about it.
But, thank you for proving me right as I told myself I could predict what the responses to my post would be. With you two I was right on target.

1. "Is it possible that God could act...?"  Wrong/bad/evil question.  Not what "could" God do, but what does He promise to do (and where).
2. 'Is our way of 'bringing' God into the sacrament the only way to do it?"  Another wrong/bad/evil question.  We do not bring God into the Sacrament at all.  He puts Himself there, as He promises.
3. No one is saying you did not receive forgiveness or spiritual comfort through the absolution or your prayers.  But that is not what is under discussion, is it?
4. It is not a Lutheran "description" to repeat/do what God Himself promises/does.  Such a word choice belies your problem: we do not describe, we do what Christ says.  You want to make the Supper into a multiple choice thing; it is not.
5. "But are we the only ones to get it right?"  Well, anyone who takes Christ's words as they stand gets it right.  Lutherans do.
6. "So is my old buddy Martin going to weep and curse at me because on this occasion I sought another means of solace?"  He would weep and/or curse at your earlier question of "does it matter?".
7. It should not come as a surprise, as you said, how I (and others) would respond to your horrific words of injecting doubt into what ought to be something certain.  Just as your doing so was no surprise to me (and, I suppose, others).
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: peter_speckhard on April 10, 2020, 12:32:56 AM
So, Pastor Bohler, let me ask a simple question. Is it possible; is it remotely possible that God could act sacramentally through what I described? Is our way of “bringing“ God into the sacrament the only way to do it? Is our description of how God acts sacramentally the only valid description? Yes, I believe we Lutherans are right in how we do that. But are we the only ones to get it right?
Supposing, in this situation, I didn’t receive the body and blood of Christ? I received forgiveness through the words of absolution or through my own request for God’s forgiveness. I received spiritual comfort. I will receive the sacrament in the sacred “Lutheran” way sometime in the near future. So is my old buddy Martin going to weep and curse at me because on this occasion I sought another means of solace?
Yes, Mr. Shelley, I call myself and Lutheran, and I’m even a little proud about it.
But, thank you for proving me right as I told myself I could predict what the responses to my post would be. With you two I was right on target.
Charles, you are a disgrace. You know that it is irrelevant what God coulddo. The only thing that is relevant is what He has promised to do. God coulddeclare that every time I opened a pink umbrella, someone would be saved from temporal death and eternal damnation. Yet if I, as a pastor, told people to open pink umbrellas on the hope that He would do so, I'd be a false prophet at best and a damned buffoon at worst. God hasn't declared any such thing. Nor has He declared that people fooling around with bread and wine in their apartments are receiving the body and blood of Christ. The fact that you think of Communion as something WE have decided rather than something God has decided, shows you have no idea what you are talking about.

Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Steven W Bohler on April 10, 2020, 12:39:15 AM
So, Pastor Bohler, let me ask a simple question. Is it possible; is it remotely possible that God could act sacramentally through what I described? Is our way of “bringing“ God into the sacrament the only way to do it? Is our description of how God acts sacramentally the only valid description? Yes, I believe we Lutherans are right in how we do that. But are we the only ones to get it right?
Supposing, in this situation, I didn’t receive the body and blood of Christ? I received forgiveness through the words of absolution or through my own request for God’s forgiveness. I received spiritual comfort. I will receive the sacrament in the sacred “Lutheran” way sometime in the near future. So is my old buddy Martin going to weep and curse at me because on this occasion I sought another means of solace?
Yes, Mr. Shelley, I call myself and Lutheran, and I’m even a little proud about it.
But, thank you for proving me right as I told myself I could predict what the responses to my post would be. With you two I was right on target.
Charles, you are a disgrace. You know that it is irrelevant what God coulddo. The only thing that is relevant is what He has promised to do. God coulddeclare that every time I opened a pink umbrella, someone would be saved from temporal death and eternal damnation. Yet if I, as a pastor, told people to open pink umbrellas on the hope that He would do so, I'd be a false prophet at best and a damned buffoon at worst. God hasn't declared any such thing. Nor has He declared that people fooling around with bread and wine in their apartments are receiving the body and blood of Christ. The fact that you think of Communion as something WE have decided rather than something God has decided, shows you have no idea what you are talking about.

:)
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dan Fienen on April 10, 2020, 01:30:34 AM
Notes on Holy Thursday-Brooklyn and Minnesota
   The difference between Eastern and Central time enabled me to virtually attend two Holy Thursday services. Here are some comments, more on the second than on the first and I know I will take some hits for what I post here. Doesn’t matter.
   I was a tv participant in the service at St. Peter's, Brooklyn. Bishop/DP/Pastor Benke’s church is quite lovely. It is spacious and plain in a pleasing way. Obviously, it was not full, I think he said 6 people, properly separated; but I could imagine it full and ringing with several forms of the Spirit. I loved singing along with “There’s Power in the Blood” and beginning the service with “Just As I Am.” And Dave’s message was topical, relevant and appropriate. I’m sure things are “better” at St. Peter’s, Brooklyn, when the church is full of his lively, diverse flock; but as a virtual visitor this unusual Holy Thursday, I was nourished by song and Word. Thanks, Dave. Minor criticism: surely you can sing "I am Jesus' Little Lamb" without looking at the text!  ;)
   I had to switch channels while Dave's closing prayers were still going on so I could reach the next stop on this tour.
  Now. Brace yourselves. A large Lutheran church near me was having a “virtual communion service” and Beloved Spouse and I decided to take part. (She has always really loved Maundy Thursday services.)
 This afternoon, I baked unleavened bread. Poured a glass of wine and set a small round of the bread on a plate placed on the coffee table in our living room.
   Music from an organist and quartet began the service, followed by confession and absolution, scripture, another hymn and the sermon. The sung communion liturgy was from ELW and we sort of sang along. I prefer a full eucharistic prayer, but the bare Verba was used and I lifted our elements during the recitation. I broke the bread, said “The Body and Blood of Christ, given and shed for us,” and we ate and drank.
   A communion blessing and post-communion prayer followed, then the stripping of the altar. When that was completed, the pastors came to the front of the altar, then exited in silence.
   OK, so what’s going on here? Don’t I oppose such services? I do, mostly. Then why did I take part?
   There are two reasons. One is the special feeling Beloved Spouse and I have for this night and the fulness of the liturgy. The second is that I wanted the experience, to see how it felt, apart from all the head-talk theologizing that has gone on in recent weeks.
    I’ll be brief. And perhaps even inconsistent. Not citing any scripture or formulas from the Confessions; that's another kind of discussion. So shoot me for considering feelings.
    It felt good. Really good. I’m not sure why.
    Beloved Spouse and I heard the Word. We prayed the prayer of confession and heard the absolution. We heard scripture proclaimed in the sermon, and we received bread and wine in the same manner as if we had been present at church with a full congregation.
   Was it the Sacrament?  No. Yes. Maybe. Does anyone really know? And if it was something else, does it matter? 
   The bulletin from the church spoke as if it was the Sacrament. I’m not sure I would have stated things as clearly (but then I do not think I would have done it were I the pastor.)
   Would I advocate this apart from today’s special situation? No. Definitely not. Maybe.
   May the time come soon when we don’t even have to think about this kind of thing.
   But as I often say, life is complicated.
If nothing else, the responses so far have given you some smug satisfaction, you got the reactions you wanted and fed your satisfaction at being more daring than those you look down on. That alone should be enough for some warm fuzzies. They were so predictable, but then so were you. I wonder what you think my reaction will be, but then I probably shouldn't need to wonder.


I won't try to psychoanalyze your reaction. The familiar action alone, especially with the heightened emotions at this  difficult time may be explanation enough. If it brought you and your beloved spouse some emotional and spiritual comfort at this extraordinary time, that is perhaps sufficient excuse.


I think intent counts for something. The intent of the church whose service you participated with remotely and your intent in participating is significant. Since the sixties there have been a number of stunt communions done pushing the boundaries at times for the purpose of pushing the boundaries, a poke in the eye at those who would be traditional. Using odd elements (cheetos, indeed! or beer and pretzels) or wanting to set ones own family as a conventicle with it's own paterpontifix. But your celebration was none of that. You weren't setting up a mockery of the regular communion, or even a convenient substitute for when one couldn't be bothered to get out and go to church. I have no doubt but what when restrictions are lifted you'll go back to regular communion.


Was it "really" communion (whatever that might mean)? I find it difficult to say for sure. Which is reason enough for me to make me dubious of trying such an expedience. Scripture and the Confessions say a number of things about communion, but don't really pin down the details of how the officiant confects the real presence. I seem to remember a CTCR document pointing out that neither Scripture nor the Confessions specifically restrict consecration of the elements to ordained clergy. (I could be wrong on that.) Neither did they even consider such a virtual celebration. Even if the real presence wasn't really connected, and how could we objectively determine that it was not done in mockery or disrespect. And it brought you comfort in a trying time. What's so wrong with that?


Still and all it is not something I would want to participate in on either side. I'd be concerned about setting a precedent for less extraordinary times. Too much would be lost if we were to allow an emergency expedience become a regular alternative. It also would concern me that for me at least either as remote officiant or recipient I would have doubts about Jesus' sacramental presence. It also would be significant for me that my ecclesiastical superiors and colleagues counsel against it. I may not always head their counsel but I typically need stronger reason to do so than this kind of speculative reasoning.


So I very much doubt that I would do this for these reasons and many of the other reasons people have written. But I've never felt that "don't do anything I wouldn't do" wears well as an absolute command to those not under my authority.


Sorry for the long rambling rumination but your post gave me occasion  to work through what I think and feel about this extraordinary (I sincerely hope it is extraordinary not the new normal) response to these extraordinary times. Also sorry I'm not more definite and enthusiastic in agreeing with you or more acerbic in condemnation. I know how you hate it but I'm feeling rather on the one hand but on the other hand about this. If it bothers you too much let me know and I'll try to write something particularly scathing and condemnatory.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on April 10, 2020, 03:36:43 AM
Notes on Holy Thursday-Brooklyn and Minnesota
   The difference between Eastern and Central time enabled me to virtually attend two Holy Thursday services. Here are some comments, more on the second than on the first and I know I will take some hits for what I post here. Doesn’t matter.
   I was a tv participant in the service at St. Peter's, Brooklyn. Bishop/DP/Pastor Benke’s church is quite lovely. It is spacious and plain in a pleasing way. Obviously, it was not full, I think he said 6 people, properly separated; but I could imagine it full and ringing with several forms of the Spirit. I loved singing along with “There’s Power in the Blood” and beginning the service with “Just As I Am.” And Dave’s message was topical, relevant and appropriate. I’m sure things are “better” at St. Peter’s, Brooklyn, when the church is full of his lively, diverse flock; but as a virtual visitor this unusual Holy Thursday, I was nourished by song and Word. Thanks, Dave. Minor criticism: surely you can sing "I am Jesus' Little Lamb" without looking at the text!  ;)
   I had to switch channels while Dave's closing prayers were still going on so I could reach the next stop on this tour.
  Now. Brace yourselves. A large Lutheran church near me was having a “virtual communion service” and Beloved Spouse and I decided to take part. (She has always really loved Maundy Thursday services.)
 This afternoon, I baked unleavened bread. Poured a glass of wine and set a small round of the bread on a plate placed on the coffee table in our living room.
   Music from an organist and quartet began the service, followed by confession and absolution, scripture, another hymn and the sermon. The sung communion liturgy was from ELW and we sort of sang along. I prefer a full eucharistic prayer, but the bare Verba was used and I lifted our elements during the recitation. I broke the bread, said “The Body and Blood of Christ, given and shed for us,” and we ate and drank.
   A communion blessing and post-communion prayer followed, then the stripping of the altar. When that was completed, the pastors came to the front of the altar, then exited in silence.
   OK, so what’s going on here? Don’t I oppose such services? I do, mostly. Then why did I take part?
   There are two reasons. One is the special feeling Beloved Spouse and I have for this night and the fulness of the liturgy. The second is that I wanted the experience, to see how it felt, apart from all the head-talk theologizing that has gone on in recent weeks.
    I’ll be brief. And perhaps even inconsistent. Not citing any scripture or formulas from the Confessions; that's another kind of discussion. So shoot me for considering feelings.
    It felt good. Really good. I’m not sure why.
    Beloved Spouse and I heard the Word. We prayed the prayer of confession and heard the absolution. We heard scripture proclaimed in the sermon, and we received bread and wine in the same manner as if we had been present at church with a full congregation.
   Was it the Sacrament?  No. Yes. Maybe. Does anyone really know? And if it was something else, does it matter? 
   The bulletin from the church spoke as if it was the Sacrament. I’m not sure I would have stated things as clearly (but then I do not think I would have done it were I the pastor.)
   Would I advocate this apart from today’s special situation? No. Definitely not. Maybe.
   May the time come soon when we don’t even have to think about this kind of thing.
   But as I often say, life is complicated.

Wish I could say I was surprised.  You ask: "Was it the Sacrament?"  And then you answer: "No. Yes. Maybe. Does anyone really know? And if it was something else, does it matter?"  Does it matter if you received the Body and Blood of the Lord, or only bread and wine?  Luther weeps.  Or curses.


Luther made mistakes. It's quite possible that God could bless folks hearing the Word, hearing Jesus' blessed words over bread and wine; and eating and drinking bread and wine in their homes.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on April 10, 2020, 03:42:51 AM
So, Pastor Bohler, let me ask a simple question. Is it possible; is it remotely possible that God could act sacramentally through what I described? Is our way of “bringing“ God into the sacrament the only way to do it? Is our description of how God acts sacramentally the only valid description? Yes, I believe we Lutherans are right in how we do that. But are we the only ones to get it right?
Supposing, in this situation, I didn’t receive the body and blood of Christ? I received forgiveness through the words of absolution or through my own request for God’s forgiveness. I received spiritual comfort. I will receive the sacrament in the sacred “Lutheran” way sometime in the near future. So is my old buddy Martin going to weep and curse at me because on this occasion I sought another means of solace?
Yes, Mr. Shelley, I call myself and Lutheran, and I’m even a little proud about it.
But, thank you for proving me right as I told myself I could predict what the responses to my post would be. With you two I was right on target.
Charles, you are a disgrace. You know that it is irrelevant what God coulddo. The only thing that is relevant is what He has promised to do. God coulddeclare that every time I opened a pink umbrella, someone would be saved from temporal death and eternal damnation. Yet if I, as a pastor, told people to open pink umbrellas on the hope that He would do so, I'd be a false prophet at best and a damned buffoon at worst. God hasn't declared any such thing. Nor has He declared that people fooling around with bread and wine in their apartments are receiving the body and blood of Christ. The fact that you think of Communion as something WE have decided rather than something God has decided, shows you have no idea what you are talking about.


God promises that where two or three are gathered in his name, Jesus Christ is there. You cannot say that Jesus was not present when Charles and his wife gathered in Jesus' name, heard the Word, and ate bread and drank wine. Does Jesus' promised presence in our gathering any less real that his promised presence in the blessed bread and wine?
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Charles Austin on April 10, 2020, 06:10:47 AM
Oops. I was wrong. I under-estimated the viciousness of the responses.
   BTW. Peter, I am not “preaching” that virtual communion “does” anything.
   I may be wrong, but I believe that relying solely on the Councils, the Confessions and the dictates of the Church in its temporal form will not “get us through” what we face in 21st Century life. At least a focused, rigid reliance on those things will not get all of us through.
   But relying on the Word - the living, active, real, present and surprising Word not bound by previous manifestations that have been legalized into doctrine and church law - will get us through.
  So was that service “The Sacrament” as defined by our Confessions and our interpretations of those worthy documents? No.
  But could one say that -  in this crisis setting, and in the longings, prayers and actions of the faithful - Jesus was present, even sacramentally present, in the Word, the bread, the wine, and the virtual community?
  Yes.
  But I am not requiring  or even asking you, Pastor Bohler and Peter, or anyone else to say that. And if I choose to say it, that is not an assault on what you (and I) have said previously. Nor is it something that I would automatically continue to say in other times.
 
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Steven W Bohler on April 10, 2020, 09:49:36 AM
Notes on Holy Thursday-Brooklyn and Minnesota
   The difference between Eastern and Central time enabled me to virtually attend two Holy Thursday services. Here are some comments, more on the second than on the first and I know I will take some hits for what I post here. Doesn’t matter.
   I was a tv participant in the service at St. Peter's, Brooklyn. Bishop/DP/Pastor Benke’s church is quite lovely. It is spacious and plain in a pleasing way. Obviously, it was not full, I think he said 6 people, properly separated; but I could imagine it full and ringing with several forms of the Spirit. I loved singing along with “There’s Power in the Blood” and beginning the service with “Just As I Am.” And Dave’s message was topical, relevant and appropriate. I’m sure things are “better” at St. Peter’s, Brooklyn, when the church is full of his lively, diverse flock; but as a virtual visitor this unusual Holy Thursday, I was nourished by song and Word. Thanks, Dave. Minor criticism: surely you can sing "I am Jesus' Little Lamb" without looking at the text!  ;)
   I had to switch channels while Dave's closing prayers were still going on so I could reach the next stop on this tour.
  Now. Brace yourselves. A large Lutheran church near me was having a “virtual communion service” and Beloved Spouse and I decided to take part. (She has always really loved Maundy Thursday services.)
 This afternoon, I baked unleavened bread. Poured a glass of wine and set a small round of the bread on a plate placed on the coffee table in our living room.
   Music from an organist and quartet began the service, followed by confession and absolution, scripture, another hymn and the sermon. The sung communion liturgy was from ELW and we sort of sang along. I prefer a full eucharistic prayer, but the bare Verba was used and I lifted our elements during the recitation. I broke the bread, said “The Body and Blood of Christ, given and shed for us,” and we ate and drank.
   A communion blessing and post-communion prayer followed, then the stripping of the altar. When that was completed, the pastors came to the front of the altar, then exited in silence.
   OK, so what’s going on here? Don’t I oppose such services? I do, mostly. Then why did I take part?
   There are two reasons. One is the special feeling Beloved Spouse and I have for this night and the fulness of the liturgy. The second is that I wanted the experience, to see how it felt, apart from all the head-talk theologizing that has gone on in recent weeks.
    I’ll be brief. And perhaps even inconsistent. Not citing any scripture or formulas from the Confessions; that's another kind of discussion. So shoot me for considering feelings.
    It felt good. Really good. I’m not sure why.
    Beloved Spouse and I heard the Word. We prayed the prayer of confession and heard the absolution. We heard scripture proclaimed in the sermon, and we received bread and wine in the same manner as if we had been present at church with a full congregation.
   Was it the Sacrament?  No. Yes. Maybe. Does anyone really know? And if it was something else, does it matter? 
   The bulletin from the church spoke as if it was the Sacrament. I’m not sure I would have stated things as clearly (but then I do not think I would have done it were I the pastor.)
   Would I advocate this apart from today’s special situation? No. Definitely not. Maybe.
   May the time come soon when we don’t even have to think about this kind of thing.
   But as I often say, life is complicated.

Wish I could say I was surprised.  You ask: "Was it the Sacrament?"  And then you answer: "No. Yes. Maybe. Does anyone really know? And if it was something else, does it matter?"  Does it matter if you received the Body and Blood of the Lord, or only bread and wine?  Luther weeps.  Or curses.


Luther made mistakes. It's quite possible that God could bless folks hearing the Word, hearing Jesus' blessed words over bread and wine; and eating and drinking bread and wine in their homes.

The "possibility" angle has been discussed already, Rev. Stoffergen.  Yes, God can do anything.  But He does not.  So, this telecommunion and Rev. Speckhard's pink umbrellas are to be avoided because it is error to justify things solely on the "possibility" that God might be OK with it.  He tells us where His Body and Blood are found -- and THAT is where we seek their blessings.  Not in maybe-it-is-here-too things.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Steven W Bohler on April 10, 2020, 09:53:04 AM
So, Pastor Bohler, let me ask a simple question. Is it possible; is it remotely possible that God could act sacramentally through what I described? Is our way of “bringing“ God into the sacrament the only way to do it? Is our description of how God acts sacramentally the only valid description? Yes, I believe we Lutherans are right in how we do that. But are we the only ones to get it right?
Supposing, in this situation, I didn’t receive the body and blood of Christ? I received forgiveness through the words of absolution or through my own request for God’s forgiveness. I received spiritual comfort. I will receive the sacrament in the sacred “Lutheran” way sometime in the near future. So is my old buddy Martin going to weep and curse at me because on this occasion I sought another means of solace?
Yes, Mr. Shelley, I call myself and Lutheran, and I’m even a little proud about it.
But, thank you for proving me right as I told myself I could predict what the responses to my post would be. With you two I was right on target.
Charles, you are a disgrace. You know that it is irrelevant what God coulddo. The only thing that is relevant is what He has promised to do. God coulddeclare that every time I opened a pink umbrella, someone would be saved from temporal death and eternal damnation. Yet if I, as a pastor, told people to open pink umbrellas on the hope that He would do so, I'd be a false prophet at best and a damned buffoon at worst. God hasn't declared any such thing. Nor has He declared that people fooling around with bread and wine in their apartments are receiving the body and blood of Christ. The fact that you think of Communion as something WE have decided rather than something God has decided, shows you have no idea what you are talking about.


God promises that where two or three are gathered in his name, Jesus Christ is there. You cannot say that Jesus was not present when Charles and his wife gathered in Jesus' name, heard the Word, and ate bread and drank wine. Does Jesus' promised presence in our gathering any less real that his promised presence in the blessed bread and wine?

Again, you misdirect things.  No one has said that God is not present where two or three are gathered in His name (or that forgiveness was not received via the preached Word or the absolution).  What has been questioned is the claim that Christ's Body and Blood (and so, the blessings/gifts they bring) were given/received in telecommunion.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Steven W Bohler on April 10, 2020, 09:58:24 AM
Oops. I was wrong. I under-estimated the viciousness of the responses.
   BTW. Peter, I am not “preaching” that virtual communion “does” anything.
   I may be wrong, but I believe that relying solely on the Councils, the Confessions and the dictates of the Church in its temporal form will not “get us through” what we face in 21st Century life. At least a focused, rigid reliance on those things will not get all of us through.
   But relying on the Word - the living, active, real, present and surprising Word not bound by previous manifestations that have been legalized into doctrine and church law - will get us through.
  So was that service “The Sacrament” as defined by our Confessions and our interpretations of those worthy documents? No.
  But could one say that -  in this crisis setting, and in the longings, prayers and actions of the faithful - Jesus was present, even sacramentally present, in the Word, the bread, the wine, and the virtual community?
  Yes.
  But I am not requiring  or even asking you, Pastor Bohler and Peter, or anyone else to say that. And if I choose to say it, that is not an assault on what you (and I) have said previously. Nor is it something that I would automatically continue to say in other times.

"But could one say that -  in this crisis setting, and in the longings, prayers and actions of the faithful - Jesus was present, even sacramentally present, in the Word, the bread, the wine, and the virtual community? Yes."

Why could one say that?  Upon what Scriptural basis (since you have said you want to restrict our discussion to that)?  I would greatly appreciate you pointing me to the chapter and verse which says that our Lord is sacramentally present in such a thing.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Charles Austin on April 10, 2020, 10:17:19 AM
Pastor Bohler, I have at times quite seriously pondered and prayed about your "hardness of heart," which may not be as hard as Pharoah's, but...   I speak of a faithful desire to seek sacramental comfort, a wrenching longing at a time of terrible crisis (and maybe you don't feel the terrible crisis) and you each and every response is negative and laying down some "certainty" which says "No! God could do things like that, but, you fool!, he doesn't!"
Or perhaps you, too, just inhabit a different world than the one in which I shuffle around and experience the faith.
You write:
Yes, God can do anything.  But He does not.
I comment:
And you are sure of this? On what basis. All I suggest is that in the situation described, I believe that God not only could be, but was present; and even sacramentally present. You blast away, saying that because you see that God is not present in the way that you say he has said always and ever would be present, I am causing your favorite saint to weep.

You write:
So, this telecommunion and Rev. Speckhard's pink umbrellas are to be avoided because it is error to justify things solely on the "possibility" that God might be OK with it.
I comment:
Oh boy! How many prayers, how many pious acts attempt to ask God to "justify" something? Getting a new job, finding a new love, recovery from illness, and on and on because we pray in hope that God's will equals ours. Some of these hopes are indeed foolish, others are not.
And, if I am wrong about God being present last night as your hardness of heart limits him, if I am wrong, what actually happened? Well, I guess God wasn't present. But do you see that your loud declarations about how wrong I am could undercut desire for faith and piety of someone with thinner skin that that which envelops this humble correspondent?
Do you ever offer any support or comfort to someone who is not 100 percent on your side of things? Or do you just say: "That's wrong. Get over here with me and you'll be right"?

You write:
He tells us where His Body and Blood are found -- and THAT is where we seek their blessings.  Not in maybe-it-is-here-too things.
I comment:
Ironically, I agree with the first part of that declaration and firmly believe what our Confessions and the larger Church teach about the sacrament. I have not abandoned that belief. Nor do I advocate this virtual communion as a general practice for any and all time. Why is my description of how I see the current matter so threatening to you?

And later you write (concerning my statement about God's presence):
Why could one say that?  Upon what Scriptural basis (since you have said you want to restrict our discussion to that)?  I would greatly appreciate you pointing me to the chapter and verse which says that our Lord is sacramentally present in such a thing.
I comment:
Well, we hit a stumbling block when you bring up Scripture, because we do not approach it from common ground. But OK, nowhere does God say in scripture the Lord would be "present in such a thing." The fragmentation and separation of the Christian community in a Holy Season because of the corona virus just doesn't turn up in the Bible.
So we have to ask and ponder how, given what we know about God and mercy and faith, God might be present today.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Steven W Bohler on April 10, 2020, 10:47:41 AM
Pastor Bohler, I have at times quite seriously pondered and prayed about your "hardness of heart," which may not be as hard as Pharoah's, but...   I speak of a faithful desire to seek sacramental comfort, a wrenching longing at a time of terrible crisis (and maybe you don't feel the terrible crisis) and you each and every response is negative and laying down some "certainty" which says "No! God could do things like that, but, you fool!, he doesn't!"
Or perhaps you, too, just inhabit a different world than the one in which I shuffle around and experience the faith.
You write:
Yes, God can do anything.  But He does not.
I comment:
And you are sure of this? On what basis. All I suggest is that in the situation described, I believe that God not only could be, but was present; and even sacramentally present. You blast away, saying that because you see that God is not present in the way that you say he has said always and ever would be present, I am causing your favorite saint to weep.

You write:
So, this telecommunion and Rev. Speckhard's pink umbrellas are to be avoided because it is error to justify things solely on the "possibility" that God might be OK with it.
I comment:
Oh boy! How many prayers, how many pious acts attempt to ask God to "justify" something? Getting a new job, finding a new love, recovery from illness, and on and on because we pray in hope that God's will equals ours. Some of these hopes are indeed foolish, others are not.
And, if I am wrong about God being present last night as your hardness of heart limits him, if I am wrong, what actually happened? Well, I guess God wasn't present. But do you see that your loud declarations about how wrong I am could undercut desire for faith and piety of someone with thinner skin that that which envelops this humble correspondent?
Do you ever offer any support or comfort to someone who is not 100 percent on your side of things? Or do you just say: "That's wrong. Get over here with me and you'll be right"?

You write:
He tells us where His Body and Blood are found -- and THAT is where we seek their blessings.  Not in maybe-it-is-here-too things.
I comment:
Ironically, I agree with the first part of that declaration and firmly believe what our Confessions and the larger Church teach about the sacrament. I have not abandoned that belief. Nor do I advocate this virtual communion as a general practice for any and all time. Why is my description of how I see the current matter so threatening to you?

And later you write (concerning my statement about God's presence):
Why could one say that?  Upon what Scriptural basis (since you have said you want to restrict our discussion to that)?  I would greatly appreciate you pointing me to the chapter and verse which says that our Lord is sacramentally present in such a thing.
I comment:
Well, we hit a stumbling block when you bring up Scripture, because we do not approach it from common ground. But OK, nowhere does God say in scripture the Lord would be "present in such a thing." The fragmentation and separation of the Christian community in a Holy Season because of the corona virus just doesn't turn up in the Bible.
So we have to ask and ponder how, given what we know about God and mercy and faith, God might be present today.

So, disagreement with you is hardness of heart?  What an ego you have!  And where is your best construction?  Oh, I guess thats matters not because I dare to disagree with you.  Anyway, on to your "points".

1. When I said that God COULD do anything, but He does not -- I am not specifically referring to this instance but in general.  God is God and so, by definition, is almighty.  But He does NOT do anything/everything -- He places limits on Himself. 
2. You again suggest that God was sacramentally present in the telecommunion. But I notice that, again, you give no basis for this other than your pious wish.  That is no place upon which to build a theological position.  Use the Scriptures, man.  Or, if you can't, then admit it.  By the way, you again make the erroneous move of saying that because I doubt His sacramental presence there in telecommunion, that I am denying His presence at all. I did not say that.  Indeed, I say the opposite: God IS there in His Word.  But that is not a sacramental presence.
3. Praying for God's guidance in things like job offers, etc is far from claiming a sacramental presence in telecommunion.  And if you can't see that, then you are woefully ignorant in theology.
4. It is not my "hardness of heart" that limits God's sacramental presence.  Rather, it is His Word that tells us where such is (and is not).
5. I am admittedly harder on you (and others who claim to be teachers of the Church) than on those who make no such claim.  "Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly" (James 3:1).
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Charles Austin on April 10, 2020, 11:06:56 AM
One more time:
Pastor Bohler writes:
So, disagreement with you is hardness of heart?  What an ego you have!  And where is your best construction?  Oh, I guess thats matters not because I dare to disagree with you.  Anyway, on to your "points".
I comment:
No, I challenge your failure to hear the cry of pain of a brother in the faith, one fervently seeking for comfort and God's presence. You lay down the law rather than listen to his plea.

Pastor Bohler (on my "points", yeah, got that)
1. When I said that God COULD do anything, but He does not -- I am not specifically referring to this instance but in general.  God is God and so, by definition, is almighty.  But He does NOT do anything/everything -- He places limits on Himself. 
Me:
And, in your view, he has limited how he can be sacramentally present. OK. I disagree.

Pastor Bohler:
2. You again suggest that God was sacramentally present in the telecommunion. But I notice that, again, you give no basis for this other than your pious wish.  That is no place upon which to build a theological position.  Use the Scriptures, man.  Or, if you can't, then admit it.
Me:
The words Jesus spoke in that upper room were to those who had gathered. So were the words spoken last night, except that we were gathered in a different way.

Pastor Bohler:
By the way, you again make the erroneous move of saying that because I doubt His sacramental presence there in telecommunion, that I am denying His presence at all. I did not say that.  Indeed, I say the opposite: God IS there in His Word.  But that is not a sacramental presence.
Me:
In this case, a distinction without a difference. But too hard to unpack right now.

Pastor Bohler:
3. Praying for God's guidance in things like job offers, etc is far from claiming a sacramental presence in telecommunion.  And if you can't see that, then you are woefully ignorant in theology.
Me:
We could discuss that. But here we won't.

Pastor Bohler:
4. It is not my "hardness of heart" that limits God's sacramental presence.  Rather, it is His Word that tells us where such is (and is not).
Me:
OK, so you tell me where in scripture God said "if faithful folks are gathered in a virtual community and celebrating the sacrament, I ain't coming."

Pastor Bohler:
5. I am admittedly harder on you (and others who claim to be teachers of the Church) than on those who make no such claim.
Me:
Maybe a valid concern, but beware, it is also one that I might apply to you.
I ask again, why do you find my view so threatening, especially since I have not locked down exactly how I feel about this? Who is led astray? What faith is threatened? Not mine. Surely not yours. And those of us who will gladly return to celebrations in the church sanctuary will have the same faith then as we did if we participated in the service last night. Anyone who says "I don't need to go to the church, I can get communion at home this way" will and should be reprimanded.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: peter_speckhard on April 10, 2020, 11:16:18 AM
Pastor Bohler, I have at times quite seriously pondered and prayed about your "hardness of heart," which may not be as hard as Pharoah's, but...   I speak of a faithful desire to seek sacramental comfort, a wrenching longing at a time of terrible crisis (and maybe you don't feel the terrible crisis) and you each and every response is negative and laying down some "certainty" which says "No! God could do things like that, but, you fool!, he doesn't!"
Or perhaps you, too, just inhabit a different world than the one in which I shuffle around and experience the faith.
You write:
Yes, God can do anything.  But He does not.
I comment:
And you are sure of this? On what basis. All I suggest is that in the situation described, I believe that God not only could be, but was present; and even sacramentally present. You blast away, saying that because you see that God is not present in the way that you say he has said always and ever would be present, I am causing your favorite saint to weep.

You write:
So, this telecommunion and Rev. Speckhard's pink umbrellas are to be avoided because it is error to justify things solely on the "possibility" that God might be OK with it.
I comment:
Oh boy! How many prayers, how many pious acts attempt to ask God to "justify" something? Getting a new job, finding a new love, recovery from illness, and on and on because we pray in hope that God's will equals ours. Some of these hopes are indeed foolish, others are not.
And, if I am wrong about God being present last night as your hardness of heart limits him, if I am wrong, what actually happened? Well, I guess God wasn't present. But do you see that your loud declarations about how wrong I am could undercut desire for faith and piety of someone with thinner skin that that which envelops this humble correspondent?
Do you ever offer any support or comfort to someone who is not 100 percent on your side of things? Or do you just say: "That's wrong. Get over here with me and you'll be right"?

You write:
He tells us where His Body and Blood are found -- and THAT is where we seek their blessings.  Not in maybe-it-is-here-too things.
I comment:
Ironically, I agree with the first part of that declaration and firmly believe what our Confessions and the larger Church teach about the sacrament. I have not abandoned that belief. Nor do I advocate this virtual communion as a general practice for any and all time. Why is my description of how I see the current matter so threatening to you?

And later you write (concerning my statement about God's presence):
Why could one say that?  Upon what Scriptural basis (since you have said you want to restrict our discussion to that)?  I would greatly appreciate you pointing me to the chapter and verse which says that our Lord is sacramentally present in such a thing.
I comment:
Well, we hit a stumbling block when you bring up Scripture, because we do not approach it from common ground. But OK, nowhere does God say in scripture the Lord would be "present in such a thing." The fragmentation and separation of the Christian community in a Holy Season because of the corona virus just doesn't turn up in the Bible.
So we have to ask and ponder how, given what we know about God and mercy and faith, God might be present today.
There is great harm done, just not to you. You didn't just have a telecommunion service. You posted about the experience in a forum that goes out to the lurkers you don't even know. That has the strong potential to harm the faith of others. St. Peter wasn't harming himself by sitting with Jews at dinner. But his witness was a big potential stumbling block to the faith of others, which is why St. Paul stood up to him.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Dave Benke on April 10, 2020, 11:40:53 AM
Notes on Holy Thursday-Brooklyn and Minnesota
   The difference between Eastern and Central time enabled me to virtually attend two Holy Thursday services. Here are some comments, more on the second than on the first and I know I will take some hits for what I post here. Doesn’t matter.
   I was a tv participant in the service at St. Peter's, Brooklyn. Bishop/DP/Pastor Benke’s church is quite lovely. It is spacious and plain in a pleasing way. Obviously, it was not full, I think he said 6 people, properly separated; but I could imagine it full and ringing with several forms of the Spirit. I loved singing along with “There’s Power in the Blood” and beginning the service with “Just As I Am.” And Dave’s message was topical, relevant and appropriate. I’m sure things are “better” at St. Peter’s, Brooklyn, when the church is full of his lively, diverse flock; but as a virtual visitor this unusual Holy Thursday, I was nourished by song and Word. Thanks, Dave. Minor criticism: surely you can sing "I am Jesus' Little Lamb" without looking at the text!  ;)
   I had to switch channels while Dave's closing prayers were still going on so I could reach the next stop on this tour.
  Now. Brace yourselves. A large Lutheran church near me was having a “virtual communion service” and Beloved Spouse and I decided to take part. (She has always really loved Maundy Thursday services.)
 This afternoon, I baked unleavened bread. Poured a glass of wine and set a small round of the bread on a plate placed on the coffee table in our living room.
   Music from an organist and quartet began the service, followed by confession and absolution, scripture, another hymn and the sermon. The sung communion liturgy was from ELW and we sort of sang along. I prefer a full eucharistic prayer, but the bare Verba was used and I lifted our elements during the recitation. I broke the bread, said “The Body and Blood of Christ, given and shed for us,” and we ate and drank.
   A communion blessing and post-communion prayer followed, then the stripping of the altar. When that was completed, the pastors came to the front of the altar, then exited in silence.
   OK, so what’s going on here? Don’t I oppose such services? I do, mostly. Then why did I take part?
   There are two reasons. One is the special feeling Beloved Spouse and I have for this night and the fulness of the liturgy. The second is that I wanted the experience, to see how it felt, apart from all the head-talk theologizing that has gone on in recent weeks.
    I’ll be brief. And perhaps even inconsistent. Not citing any scripture or formulas from the Confessions; that's another kind of discussion. So shoot me for considering feelings.
    It felt good. Really good. I’m not sure why.
    Beloved Spouse and I heard the Word. We prayed the prayer of confession and heard the absolution. We heard scripture proclaimed in the sermon, and we received bread and wine in the same manner as if we had been present at church with a full congregation.
   Was it the Sacrament?  No. Yes. Maybe. Does anyone really know? And if it was something else, does it matter? 
   The bulletin from the church spoke as if it was the Sacrament. I’m not sure I would have stated things as clearly (but then I do not think I would have done it were I the pastor.)
   Would I advocate this apart from today’s special situation? No. Definitely not. Maybe.
   May the time come soon when we don’t even have to think about this kind of thing.
   But as I often say, life is complicated.

Thanks, Charles, for your commentary, on searching various online livestreaming options, and for joining us at St. Peter's - indeed, when it comes to I am Jesus' Little Lamb that could and should have been done totally from memory.  The death of the parishioner Eddie earlier in the day to COVID19 was weighing on me when it came to the third verse, so in order not to crack up I averted my eyes/used the manuscript throughout:  And when my short life is ended, By His angel host attended, He shall fold me to His breast,There within his arms to rest. 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Richard Johnson on April 10, 2020, 12:01:17 PM

God promises that where two or three are gathered in his name, Jesus Christ is there. You cannot say that Jesus was not present when Charles and his wife gathered in Jesus' name, heard the Word, and ate bread and drank wine. Does Jesus' promised presence in our gathering any less real that his promised presence in the blessed bread and wine?

Did anyone argue that Jesus "was not present"?
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Coach-Rev on April 10, 2020, 12:12:06 PM
we truly have entered into surreal times, because (hold your breath, Charles), I agree with Charles Austin. 

I don't agree with all the "hypotheticals" he throws out, but that with the verba, and with uniform elements (not just any old bread or wine) I believe that it is possible to celebrate the sacrament because as Luther maintains in the Small Catechism, what is required is belief in the words "Given and Shed for you for the forgiveness of sin."

Despite my belief that it is possible, because of direction by many, not the least of which is Bishop Selbo of the NALC, we are NOT doing such things here...
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Charles Austin on April 10, 2020, 12:19:10 PM
Thank you, Pastor Cottingham,
I said several times, that were I a pastor, I would probably not do the "virtual." But I was only commenting on what I believe I learned while experiencing it.
May the rest of the Triduum be blessed for all of us.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on April 10, 2020, 12:48:52 PM
The "possibility" angle has been discussed already, Rev. Stoffergen.  Yes, God can do anything.  But He does not.  So, this telecommunion and Rev. Speckhard's pink umbrellas are to be avoided because it is error to justify things solely on the "possibility" that God might be OK with it.  He tells us where His Body and Blood are found -- and THAT is where we seek their blessings.  Not in maybe-it-is-here-too things.


Yes, Jesus tells us where his sacramental Body and Blood are found. He also tells us that we, the church, are "the body of Christ." He tells us: "Where two or three are gathered in my name, I'm there with them." Two believers who gather together in Jesus' name are the body of Christ and Christ is there with them. That's also a promise Jesus has given us.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on April 10, 2020, 12:52:04 PM
So, Pastor Bohler, let me ask a simple question. Is it possible; is it remotely possible that God could act sacramentally through what I described? Is our way of “bringing“ God into the sacrament the only way to do it? Is our description of how God acts sacramentally the only valid description? Yes, I believe we Lutherans are right in how we do that. But are we the only ones to get it right?
Supposing, in this situation, I didn’t receive the body and blood of Christ? I received forgiveness through the words of absolution or through my own request for God’s forgiveness. I received spiritual comfort. I will receive the sacrament in the sacred “Lutheran” way sometime in the near future. So is my old buddy Martin going to weep and curse at me because on this occasion I sought another means of solace?
Yes, Mr. Shelley, I call myself and Lutheran, and I’m even a little proud about it.
But, thank you for proving me right as I told myself I could predict what the responses to my post would be. With you two I was right on target.
Charles, you are a disgrace. You know that it is irrelevant what God coulddo. The only thing that is relevant is what He has promised to do. God coulddeclare that every time I opened a pink umbrella, someone would be saved from temporal death and eternal damnation. Yet if I, as a pastor, told people to open pink umbrellas on the hope that He would do so, I'd be a false prophet at best and a damned buffoon at worst. God hasn't declared any such thing. Nor has He declared that people fooling around with bread and wine in their apartments are receiving the body and blood of Christ. The fact that you think of Communion as something WE have decided rather than something God has decided, shows you have no idea what you are talking about.


God promises that where two or three are gathered in his name, Jesus Christ is there. You cannot say that Jesus was not present when Charles and his wife gathered in Jesus' name, heard the Word, and ate bread and drank wine. Does Jesus' promised presence in our gathering any less real that his promised presence in the blessed bread and wine?

Again, you misdirect things.  No one has said that God is not present where two or three are gathered in His name (or that forgiveness was not received via the preached Word or the absolution).  What has been questioned is the claim that Christ's Body and Blood (and so, the blessings/gifts they bring) were given/received in telecommunion.


Where did Charles claim that? He talked about Christ's presence and forgiveness of sins.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on April 10, 2020, 12:53:09 PM
Oops. I was wrong. I under-estimated the viciousness of the responses.
   BTW. Peter, I am not “preaching” that virtual communion “does” anything.
   I may be wrong, but I believe that relying solely on the Councils, the Confessions and the dictates of the Church in its temporal form will not “get us through” what we face in 21st Century life. At least a focused, rigid reliance on those things will not get all of us through.
   But relying on the Word - the living, active, real, present and surprising Word not bound by previous manifestations that have been legalized into doctrine and church law - will get us through.
  So was that service “The Sacrament” as defined by our Confessions and our interpretations of those worthy documents? No.
  But could one say that -  in this crisis setting, and in the longings, prayers and actions of the faithful - Jesus was present, even sacramentally present, in the Word, the bread, the wine, and the virtual community?
  Yes.
  But I am not requiring  or even asking you, Pastor Bohler and Peter, or anyone else to say that. And if I choose to say it, that is not an assault on what you (and I) have said previously. Nor is it something that I would automatically continue to say in other times.

"But could one say that -  in this crisis setting, and in the longings, prayers and actions of the faithful - Jesus was present, even sacramentally present, in the Word, the bread, the wine, and the virtual community? Yes."

Why could one say that?  Upon what Scriptural basis (since you have said you want to restrict our discussion to that)?  I would greatly appreciate you pointing me to the chapter and verse which says that our Lord is sacramentally present in such a thing.


Matthew 18:20.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on April 10, 2020, 12:58:42 PM
There is great harm done, just not to you. You didn't just have a telecommunion service. You posted about the experience in a forum that goes out to the lurkers you don't even know. That has the strong potential to harm the faith of others. St. Peter wasn't harming himself by sitting with Jews at dinner. But his witness was a big potential stumbling block to the faith of others, which is why St. Paul stood up to him.


So, are you claiming to be Peter or Paul? (We might have different opinions on that.)


In other circumstances, Paul tells believers not to do something that might cause a fellow believer to stumble. Sometimes we use our freedom to stand up for what is right even if it offends others. Other times we use our freedom and refrain from doing what we believe is right for the sake of other believers. The wisdom is in knowing the difference.
Title: Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
Post by: peter_speckhard on April 10, 2020, 01:21:17 PM