Author Topic: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars  (Read 7101 times)

Tim Schenks

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Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2014, 01:42:20 AM »
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've never heard of that.

I've seen pastors sort of lean off to the side so that everyone can see the elements on the altar. Maybe that's what it was. Not sure why they do that either.

Dave Benke

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Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
« Reply #16 on: April 21, 2014, 07:56:41 AM »
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.

The simple answer is to move the missal-less missal stand.  This sounds not like a liturgical practice, but more a local custom based on the way the altar looked at the time of Pastor Schmidt (Erhard Sr.) in 1927 in all the pictures from that Golden Age.

Dave Benke

FrPeters

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Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
« Reply #17 on: April 21, 2014, 08:08:48 AM »
There was an era when some seminary instruction suggested turning to the side for the consecration so that the people could see what the Pastor is doing.  I have heard and seen this a couple of times.  Strange indeed.  Interesting that one of the occasions was done by a Pastor opposed to versus populum altar and insisted on ad orientem but defeated the whole thing by turning to the side facing the side wall during the consecration.
Fr Larry Peters
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Harvey_Mozolak

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Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
« Reply #18 on: April 21, 2014, 08:53:36 AM »
exactly... don't know whether it was taught or not... but it was done, not to stand in the way and yet but yet not having a free standing altar and not wanting to turn and hold and show...  recall, pastors communed only when other pastors were present because self-communication was not considered proper or polite, in fact that is why pastors used to commune last, it is not polite to eat first in non-altar meals... and lay people did not do any of the distribution... as odious or old such practices seem to me or others, they did have some logic to them, although the theology was probably, anti-RomanCatholic and anti-new things...  Harvey Mozolak

There was an era when some seminary instruction suggested turning to the side for the consecration so that the people could see what the Pastor is doing.  I have heard and seen this a couple of times.  Strange indeed.  Interesting that one of the occasions was done by a Pastor opposed to versus populum altar and insisted on ad orientem but defeated the whole thing by turning to the side facing the side wall during the consecration.
Harvey S. Mozolak
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John Mundinger

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Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2014, 10:21:18 AM »
Roger Msrtim wants to slander the church of his birth much like John Mundinger does...

LutherMan - I have not slandered the church of my birth.  I have spoken critically about specific issues which reflect on the reality that the LCMS is no longer the denomination it was when it was the church of my birth.  We ought to be able to engage issues about which we disagree without getting personal about it.
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RogerMartim

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Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
« Reply #20 on: April 21, 2014, 12:23:55 PM »
LutherMan, I asked a simple question of a communion practice at some LCMS parishes including the one that I grew up in. How is that slander?

Donald_Kirchner

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Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
« Reply #21 on: April 21, 2014, 12:27:15 PM »
LutherMan, I asked a simple question of a communion practice at some LCMS parishes including the one that I grew up in. How is that slander?

It's not. For I do not see what the big deal is that you needed to ask about it in 2010 and again now. In fact, why don't you ask the pastor why he does that rather than asking us to speculate about it?
Don Kirchner

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RogerMartim

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Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
« Reply #22 on: April 21, 2014, 04:26:08 PM »
Pastor Kirchner,

Upstream I apologized for bringing up this thread again. I had forgotten that I had asked this same question FOUR years ago. Not sure why you found it necessary to respond the way you did, but I'll let bygones be bygones.

Quite frankly though I am surprised that so many LCMS pastors and folks are not aware of this particular communion practice. I guessed that I just assumed that it was a fairly common practice.

I am still researching a document that corroborates this particularity. And yes, maybe I'll check in with the pastor at my Mom's church to ask why this continues. I am suspecting that the Altar Guild has more power than the pastor (just joking).

A Blessed Easter to you and all the participants here.

Tim Schenks

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Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
« Reply #23 on: April 22, 2014, 01:01:07 AM »
recall, pastors communed only when other pastors were present because self-communication was not considered proper or polite, in fact that is why pastors used to commune last, it is not polite to eat first in non-altar meals... and lay people did not do any of the distribution...

As this thread is about LCMS Communion Practice... When I was on our Board of Elders I encouraged my own pastor to Commune himself, even with a lay assistant present. He has done so if there was low attendance but most of the time still has a lay elder Commune him first, then he Communes the assistant, then the rest of the congregation.

I can remember our pastor 30+ years ago Communing last. The day school principal/music director Communed him as they thought his being on the Commissioned Minister roster meant he had a Divine Call or something.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2014, 01:03:21 AM by Tim Schenks »

Weedon

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Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
« Reply #24 on: April 22, 2014, 08:36:47 AM »
If one is to "say the black" and "do the red," LSB's altar book is clear that the pastor first communicates himself and then the others. This matches Luther's instructions in Formula Missae.

David Garner

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Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
« Reply #25 on: April 22, 2014, 08:50:28 AM »
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.

Several people indicated the practice arose from having the Altar Book in the center of the altar due to the lapse of the historic practice of every-Sunday communion.  It wasn't a definitive answer (and I'm not sure there is one), but it is an answer, and one that strikes me as reasonable.
Orthodox Reader and former Lutheran (LCMS and WELS).

Harvey_Mozolak

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Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
« Reply #26 on: April 22, 2014, 08:58:44 AM »
If one is to "say the black" and "do the red," LSB's altar book is clear that the pastor first communicates himself and then the others. This matches Luther's instructions in Formula Missae.

Will, you are correct theologically-- I always use someone else's illustr. of the person putting on their own oxygen mask first on plane before helping the kid or someone else seated next to them with theirs... also strengthened to strengthen but the old pastors (in the 40s and 50s) who did not often commune except at pastoral circuits, conferences and conventions went by the American etiquette thing of not serving yourself first and getting someone else to serve them without grabbing the dish and cup themselves.  Then there was this thing that got tossed around that I heard that pastor's commune last with the chalice to show that there is nothing wrong with common cup and they are not afraid of it after all have communed (course you can also show that by consuming the remaining consecrated wine afterwards anyway).  There was a strong personal rubric going on in those days that still is there in many places... I see it all the time in the south, where I now find myself.   Harvey Mozolak
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Weedon

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Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
« Reply #27 on: April 22, 2014, 09:13:36 AM »
And that personal rubric as you so eloquently put it, is one of the reasons that I champion simply following the book's rubrics as the practice of submission to one another. There are certainly things I do not like in the rubrics, things I would have written differently. But to set aside what Weedon wants seems a singularly wholesome practice for me. My Synod has adopted this book and it seems a wholesome thing to submit to the way it teaches me to offer up the Lord's gifts. Our Synod doesn't and can't insist on everyone doing it this way, for that would at its heart defeat the very nature of a healthy submission and it would become an ungodly coercion. But I think for our pastors, it is a wholesome practice to commend: "Say the black, do the red."

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Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
« Reply #28 on: April 22, 2014, 09:16:55 AM »
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.

Many people think that it's a Bible, such as you find in most protestant churches.

Several people indicated the practice arose from having the Altar Book in the center of the altar due to the lapse of the historic practice of every-Sunday communion.  It wasn't a definitive answer (and I'm not sure there is one), but it is an answer, and one that strikes me as reasonable.
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

FrPeters

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Re: Communion Practice at Many LCMS Altars
« Reply #29 on: April 22, 2014, 09:48:53 AM »
Twice in the last half dozen years or so I have had LCMS Pastors in the congregation who told me that they almost did NOT commune BECAUSE I communed myself -- in their view a scandalous practice, from Rome, and presuming self-sufficiency and pride on the part of the Pastor.  When I showed them the LSB rubric as well as Luther's instructions and a few other things I have collected over the years they looked absolutely shocked and said that in all their years from seminary to that moment they had never encountered a Lutheran self-communion in the Divine Service.  To which I responded in shock that it is always surprising to me when we Lutherans have adopted anecdotal theology and practice as the norm and ignore our own theology and practice informed by the Lutheran Confessors....
Fr Larry Peters
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http://www.pastoralmeanderings.blogspot.com/