Author Topic: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars  (Read 7296 times)

RogerMartim

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Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
« on: April 20, 2014, 05:55:18 PM »
Not sure if this has been discussed before on this Forum and if so, I apologize.

Where did the practice of the pastor saying/chanting the Verba over the communion elements at the side of the altar rather than in the center come from?

To me it seems a bit strange and somewhat off-putting. While not quite the same analogy, but wouldn't it be akin to a host/hostess at a dinner table sitting off to the side blessing the food to his/her dinner guests? One would assume that Christ at the Last Supper had his disciples gather around him and not off to the side. The pastor does everything else at the center of the altar. Why not with the communion elements?

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Dave Benke

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Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2014, 08:21:18 PM »
Not sure if this has been discussed before on this Forum and if so, I apologize.

Where did the practice of the pastor saying/chanting the Verba over the communion elements at the side of the altar rather than in the center come from?

To me it seems a bit strange and somewhat off-putting. While not quite the same analogy, but wouldn't it be akin to a host/hostess at a dinner table sitting off to the side blessing the food to his/her dinner guests? One would assume that Christ at the Last Supper had his disciples gather around him and not off to the side. The pastor does everything else at the center of the altar. Why not with the communion elements?

A Blessed Easter to one and all.

"Many?"  Where are you located?  I have not seen this practice, and I've been around awhile.

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LutherMan

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Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2014, 08:26:01 PM »
Yep.  I'd like to see a link to this 'LCMS' practice.  Dr. Benke is a seasoned LCMS churchman, so if this is a widespread practice I am sure he would have seen it...

RogerMartim

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Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2014, 08:28:28 PM »
I'm in Minnesota. I lived on the East Coast for 35 years and I can say that I've never seen this unique practice at any LCMS churches there. It just seems to be the practice here.

BrotherBoris

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Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2014, 08:35:15 PM »
Not sure if this has been discussed before on this Forum and if so, I apologize.

Where did the practice of the pastor saying/chanting the Verba over the communion elements at the side of the altar rather than in the center come from?

To me it seems a bit strange and somewhat off-putting. While not quite the same analogy, but wouldn't it be akin to a host/hostess at a dinner table sitting off to the side blessing the food to his/her dinner guests? One would assume that Christ at the Last Supper had his disciples gather around him and not off to the side. The pastor does everything else at the center of the altar. Why not with the communion elements?

A Blessed Easter to one and all.

I have never seen a Lutheran pastor recite the Verba at the side of the altar. In every instance that I have ever witnessed, he has stood at the center of the altar to do so. I realize I'm just one person and have a limited experience, but I have witnessed celebrations of the Holy Eucharist in the following Lutheran groups:
1. the former Lutheran Church in America
2. the former American Lutheran Church
3. the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod
4. the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod
5. the Evangelical Lutheran Synod
6. the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
7. the Finnish Apostolic Lutheran Church

In every instance, the pastor stood at the center of the altar for the consecration. In most of the churches listed above, the pastor wore at least a stole and alb.  In some of them he also wore a chasuble.  In the ELS, I recall seeing the cassock , surplice and stole frequently. In the WELS, the black Geneva gown was common, although the alb and stole seem to be getting more widespread there.  In the Apostolic Lutheran Church, the pastor wore a suit and used no vestments at all.

carlvehse

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Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2014, 08:38:04 PM »
I'm in Minnesota...  It just seems to be the practice here.

In which specific Minnesota LCMS churches have you witnessed this consecration practice?

RogerMartim

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Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2014, 08:53:54 PM »
My apologies for broaching this subject again. In googling Communion practices in the LCMS, I see that I asked this same question here in 2010 (didn't remember that I had). Some have said that they are aware of this practice but there was a thread drift and my question wasn't really answered. Obviously it must not be a widespread practice but it is done at my mother's church of which I am not a member. I will do some more research to see if I can't get to the bottom of this.

http://www.alpb.org/forum/index.php?topic=2837.0

David Garner

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Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2014, 08:57:21 PM »
In reading through that thread, it looked to me like your question was answered.
Orthodox Reader and former Lutheran (LCMS and WELS).

RogerMartim

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Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2014, 10:05:27 PM »
Can you point out exactly where my inquiry was answered, Mr. Garner. I went through the postings again and I don't see where it was. The thread almost immediately drifted onto other liturgical matters that had nothing to do with the communion elements on the side of the altar where the Verba is said. As I said earlier though I will do some more research on this.

On another note though, I am wondering if it has to do with the placement of the altar. At my Mom's church the altar is against the "East" wall and the pastor does not face the people when prayers are addressed to God. At the Verba the pastor sort of stands sideways though. I am assuming that most LCMS churches nowadays have a free-standing altar where this would not be an issue.

swbohler

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Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2014, 10:12:16 PM »
Not sure if I understand the question.  Are you asking about the pastor not being the middle?  Or the bread and wine?  Or both?

Birkholz

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Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2014, 10:16:22 PM »
I've seen this done in several Midwestern LCMS parishes.  In fact, it was the practice at my current congregation before I arrived.  I think it comes from not having the weekly Eucharist, and so the missal stand is always dead center, and then communion is set up to one side or the other (I've even seen the chalice on one side and the tower of individual cups on the other).

When I was working with the altar guild before my ordination/installation, I instructed that the Lord's Supper be set up in the middle, and we've done it that way since.
Pastor Mark Birkholz
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RogerMartim

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Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2014, 10:18:24 PM »
Both. The communion elements are on the right side of the altar. The pastor does the preface and proper preface in the center of the altar where the missal stand is (and I've never seen a book on it). Then he moves to the right and does the Verba after the Sanctus.

Dan Fienen

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Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2014, 11:24:00 PM »
I'm sorry but I fail to see how this becomes an issue.   Arguments could and have been made as to whether a freestanding altar or one integrated into the liturgical east wall of the chacel is more authentic/has better symbolism/is more properly Lutheran etc.  Similarly, we could discuss the proper placement of the elements on the altar or the proper place at the altar for the officiant for the Verba.  But is this an issue of more import than personal preference or the meaning assigned to the choices?  Just what, if anything, of importance is at stake here?

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LutherMan

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Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2014, 11:55:34 PM »
I'm sorry but I fail to see how this becomes an issue.   Arguments could and have been made as to whether a freestanding altar or one integrated into the liturgical east wall of the chacel is more authentic/has better symbolism/is more properly Lutheran etc.  Similarly, we could discuss the proper placement of the elements on the altar or the proper place at the altar for the officiant for the Verba.  But is this an issue of more import than personal preference or the meaning assigned to the choices?  Just what, if anything, of importance is at stake here?

Dan
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Steven Tibbetts

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Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2014, 12:43:06 AM »
I have never seen this practice.  I was going to say I'd never heard of such a bizarre practice, but I have a post on that other thread. ;)

My guess, and it is only a guess, is that the pastor prefers to be over the elements he is consecrating, and that it is easier to move himself to the side than the elements to the center of the Altar. 

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