Author Topic: Sacramental Security  (Read 965 times)

J. Thomas Shelley

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Sacramental Security
« on: September 16, 2019, 09:30:10 PM »
Forum member "evangelical catholic" raised a question about communicable disease and the veneration of Icons.

That brought to mind concerns I had expressed 18 years ago to the ELCA Division for Worship in an email which received only a cursory "we will consider this" reply.   Of course, that message had nothing to do with the veneration of Icons but much to do with safeguarding the elements of Sacraments from tampering.

Quote
These are extraordinary times, when, more than ever, we are called to be a people of faith rather than a populace of fear.  In these times we must keep our focus upon the Crucified and Risen Lord who nurtures our faith at word and table with “the bread of life” and “the cup of salvation.”

To encourage the people of faith to avail themselves of this means of grace, we might consider a few measures that should be regarded as prudent, rather than paranoid.

We might evaluate the security of the storage of the elements used for the Eucharist.  Are the sacramental bread and wine stored in an area readily accessible to visitors and passerby, or in a facility that is not normally open to the public?  Where are the cruets or flagon and paten placed for the liturgy?  If an Offertory procession is used, are the elements placed on a table in the Narthex or at rear of the Nave?  If so, is there an usher assigned to keep watch over them to prevent tampering?

I raise these questions not to be alarmist (God knows there is too much alarm already) but simply to suggest that we might want to do things a bit differently in these times so that weaker consciences might not be afraid.  For example, the elements might be kept in a Sacristy until the sharing of the Peace, then, during that period of activity, the gift bearers might take them to the rear of the Nave in preparation for the Offertory.

(Similar care should also be taken with the ewer and Baptismal water).

I would suggest that these thoughts be shared with our ecumenical partners, especially the Roman Catholics and Episcopalians for whom offertory processions are the norm.


I must add:  The Orthodox practice is that the prepared Chalice and Paten remain safely within the Altar on the Prothesis until they are carried through the assembly by the Priest (and Deacon) during the Great Entrance.
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Dave Benke

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Re: Sacramental Security
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2019, 08:52:32 AM »
Forum member "evangelical catholic" raised a question about communicable disease and the veneration of Icons.

That brought to mind concerns I had expressed 18 years ago to the ELCA Division for Worship in an email which received only a cursory "we will consider this" reply.   Of course, that message had nothing to do with the veneration of Icons but much to do with safeguarding the elements of Sacraments from tampering.

Quote
These are extraordinary times, when, more than ever, we are called to be a people of faith rather than a populace of fear.  In these times we must keep our focus upon the Crucified and Risen Lord who nurtures our faith at word and table with “the bread of life” and “the cup of salvation.”

To encourage the people of faith to avail themselves of this means of grace, we might consider a few measures that should be regarded as prudent, rather than paranoid.

We might evaluate the security of the storage of the elements used for the Eucharist.  Are the sacramental bread and wine stored in an area readily accessible to visitors and passerby, or in a facility that is not normally open to the public?  Where are the cruets or flagon and paten placed for the liturgy?  If an Offertory procession is used, are the elements placed on a table in the Narthex or at rear of the Nave?  If so, is there an usher assigned to keep watch over them to prevent tampering?

I raise these questions not to be alarmist (God knows there is too much alarm already) but simply to suggest that we might want to do things a bit differently in these times so that weaker consciences might not be afraid.  For example, the elements might be kept in a Sacristy until the sharing of the Peace, then, during that period of activity, the gift bearers might take them to the rear of the Nave in preparation for the Offertory.

(Similar care should also be taken with the ewer and Baptismal water).

I would suggest that these thoughts be shared with our ecumenical partners, especially the Roman Catholics and Episcopalians for whom offertory processions are the norm.


I must add:  The Orthodox practice is that the prepared Chalice and Paten remain safely within the Altar on the Prothesis until they are carried through the assembly by the Priest (and Deacon) during the Great Entrance.

Thanks to John Hannah, we have an ambry (non-recessed) in our sanctuary where the elements are stored, and during the week the cabinet is locked with a key held by the altar guild (and me).  During the Divine Service, the cabinet is unlocked, and the vessels are carried forward through the assembly during the Offertory.  Other storage areas also are locked.

Much of this stems from the old days in East New York, in which there was a lot of theft of goods by folks on drugs from sanctuaries, which eventuated in several of our local priests being assaulted and at least one murdered for vessels and/or money.  Our oil stock, used for anointing the sick, was stolen.  We kind of knew who it might be and eventually the oil stock mysteriously showed up, so that was a happy conclusion.  Our altar cushions were stolen in order to serve as sandwich cushions for the sound system board.  In that case, the word went out into the community (the police at that time were otherwise occupied).  We didn't care about the sound system, but the cushions had been fashioned by members - one with the Luther Rose, the other with the sacramental grapes and wheat - and within two days they were re-discovered at the door of the church.  There's actually more to that story, but only in offline version.

Those were object lessons in care for the sacred things and the sanctuary.  Recently for the first time we have installed a surveillance camera in the sanctuary.  I'm not that happy about doing that, but it was pretty much mandated by the security folks.

Dave Benke

Steven W Bohler

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Re: Sacramental Security
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2019, 08:57:26 AM »
Forum member "evangelical catholic" raised a question about communicable disease and the veneration of Icons.

That brought to mind concerns I had expressed 18 years ago to the ELCA Division for Worship in an email which received only a cursory "we will consider this" reply.   Of course, that message had nothing to do with the veneration of Icons but much to do with safeguarding the elements of Sacraments from tampering.

Quote
These are extraordinary times, when, more than ever, we are called to be a people of faith rather than a populace of fear.  In these times we must keep our focus upon the Crucified and Risen Lord who nurtures our faith at word and table with “the bread of life” and “the cup of salvation.”

To encourage the people of faith to avail themselves of this means of grace, we might consider a few measures that should be regarded as prudent, rather than paranoid.

We might evaluate the security of the storage of the elements used for the Eucharist.  Are the sacramental bread and wine stored in an area readily accessible to visitors and passerby, or in a facility that is not normally open to the public?  Where are the cruets or flagon and paten placed for the liturgy?  If an Offertory procession is used, are the elements placed on a table in the Narthex or at rear of the Nave?  If so, is there an usher assigned to keep watch over them to prevent tampering?

I raise these questions not to be alarmist (God knows there is too much alarm already) but simply to suggest that we might want to do things a bit differently in these times so that weaker consciences might not be afraid.  For example, the elements might be kept in a Sacristy until the sharing of the Peace, then, during that period of activity, the gift bearers might take them to the rear of the Nave in preparation for the Offertory.

(Similar care should also be taken with the ewer and Baptismal water).

I would suggest that these thoughts be shared with our ecumenical partners, especially the Roman Catholics and Episcopalians for whom offertory processions are the norm.


I must add:  The Orthodox practice is that the prepared Chalice and Paten remain safely within the Altar on the Prothesis until they are carried through the assembly by the Priest (and Deacon) during the Great Entrance.

Thanks to John Hannah, we have an ambry (non-recessed) in our sanctuary where the elements are stored, and during the week the cabinet is locked with a key held by the altar guild (and me).  During the Divine Service, the cabinet is unlocked, and the vessels are carried forward through the assembly during the Offertory.  Other storage areas also are locked.

Much of this stems from the old days in East New York, in which there was a lot of theft of goods by folks on drugs from sanctuaries, which eventuated in several of our local priests being assaulted and at least one murdered for vessels and/or money.  Our oil stock, used for anointing the sick, was stolen.  We kind of knew who it might be and eventually the oil stock mysteriously showed up, so that was a happy conclusion.  Our altar cushions were stolen in order to serve as sandwich cushions for the sound system board.  In that case, the word went out into the community (the police at that time were otherwise occupied).  We didn't care about the sound system, but the cushions had been fashioned by members - one with the Luther Rose, the other with the sacramental grapes and wheat - and within two days they were re-discovered at the door of the church.  There's actually more to that story, but only in offline version.

Those were object lessons in care for the sacred things and the sanctuary.  Recently for the first time we have installed a surveillance camera in the sanctuary.  I'm not that happy about doing that, but it was pretty much mandated by the security folks.

Dave Benke

Interesting that there is at least some sense of sanctity for such items, even among thieves.  Or their acquaintances.

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Re: Sacramental Security
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2019, 10:44:15 AM »
Sacramental theft can be good for church attendance... In Siena, at St. Francis church, you can see the Miracle Eucharist from 1730. It was stolen along with the valuable tabernacle and thrown into an almsbox.

The people held processions and prayers for the return of the stolen goods. The hosts were found later in the almsbox. The miracle is that the bread remains fresh to this day. (In fact, the theft happened again, but the hosts weren’t lost the second time.)

I was alone in the huge church early in the Tuscan morning... well, alone with the Real Presence...

Pete Garrison, STS

James J Eivan

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Re: Sacramental Security
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2019, 02:22:48 PM »
During the Divine Service, the cabinet is unlocked, and the vessels are carried forward through the assembly during the Offertory.


I’m a lifelong Lutheran and have never witnessed such a procession.  I would be interested in the liturgical significance of this procession.

Dave Benke

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Re: Sacramental Security
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2019, 02:47:32 PM »
During the Divine Service, the cabinet is unlocked, and the vessels are carried forward through the assembly during the Offertory.


I’m a lifelong Lutheran and have never witnessed such a procession.  I would be interested in the liturgical significance of this procession.

Sure  -
first, we had some comments here on this topic on another thread, some of which I may made; I just can't find it.
second, at least in this part of the LCMS Lutheran world, the Offertory Procession is not rare, and in fact is from my visitations through the years, practiced in many congregations.

To the substance, in the Lutheran Service Book and most other liturgies there's a song at the time of the offertory - What Shall I Render To the Lord - based on portions of Psalm 116, which speaks to the reality of the processional.  We bring our gifts (the sacrifice of thanksgiving) even as the gifts for the meal - the bread and wine (the cup of thanksgiving in the Psalm) are being readied for reception as they're brought forward. 

It's really an opportunity for the community to celebrate the Thanksgiving we call the Eucharist together and then to come forward to receive the Body and Blood of Christ. 

At our place the crucifer takes the cross from the altar to the back as the gifts are collected, and then the ushers bring the offerings and several people chosen from among the worshipers are selected to carry the flagon and the ciboriuma behind the crucifer and ushers, the chalice and paten having remained at the ambry area near the altar.  The altar assistants then bring these gifts to the altar and they're arranged appropriately.  Song-wise, we're either singing a song which is part of the liturgy out of LSB, or something bilingual (Thank You, Lord, God is so Good, etc) that brings praise and thanksgiving.

Dave Benke

James J Eivan

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Re: Sacramental Security
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2019, 11:37:29 PM »
During the Divine Service, the cabinet is unlocked, and the vessels are carried forward through the assembly during the Offertory.

I’m a lifelong Lutheran and have never witnessed such a procession.  I would be interested in the liturgical significance of this procession.

Sure  -
first, we had some comments here on this topic on another thread, some of which I may made; I just can't find it.
second, at least in this part of the LCMS Lutheran world, the Offertory Procession is not rare, and in fact is from my visitations through the years, practiced in many congregations.

To the substance, in the Lutheran Service Book and most other liturgies there's a song at the time of the offertory - What Shall I Render To the Lord - based on portions of Psalm 116, which speaks to the reality of the processional.  We bring our gifts (the sacrifice of thanksgiving) even as the gifts for the meal - the bread and wine (the cup of thanksgiving in the Psalm) are being readied for reception as they're brought forward. 

It's really an opportunity for the community to celebrate the Thanksgiving we call the Eucharist together and then to come forward to receive the Body and Blood of Christ. 

At our place the crucifer takes the cross from the altar to the back as the gifts are collected, and then the ushers bring the offerings and several people chosen from among the worshipers are selected to carry the flagon and the ciboriuma behind the crucifer and ushers, the chalice and paten having remained at the ambry area near the altar.  The altar assistants then bring these gifts to the altar and they're arranged appropriately.  Song-wise, we're either singing a song which is part of the liturgy out of LSB, or something bilingual (Thank You, Lord, God is so Good, etc) that brings praise and thanksgiving.

Dave Benke
Thank you ... a few observations


1.  I too thought the procession had been previously discussed ... but searching on ‘procession’ identified only 30 occupancies of the word ... the search results appear in some rather random order ... definitely NOT date related.


2.  I believe that the key to your response are your words “at least in this part of the LCMS Lutheran world”. 
 I have attended Divine Services in at least half of the LCMS districts ... probably the closest to you would have been eastern Pennsylvania... 100 miles from NYC as well as numerous National and District Convention Divine Services ... no procession of the elements ever witnessed.


3. Since you mention LSB, I checked both DS 1 & 2 Offering/Offertory(p. 159-160 & 175-176) and found no mention/suggestion of a procession.  The congregation I currently attend makes use of DS 1-4 on a regular basis through out the church year. My LSB pew edition has no rubrics for a “song at the offertory” other than the offertory itself.


4.  Perhaps I am overlooking your reference to ‘cup of thanksgiving’ in Psalm 116.  “Cup of salvation” is the phrase used in the offertory you cite in the LSB and ‘cup of salvation’ is the phrase used in KJV, NKJV, NIV, ESV, EHV, RSV, NASB and other translations in Psalm 116:13.


5.  There do not appear to be any references to a procession when our Lord instituted the Lord’s Supper in the Gospels ... what is the origin of the practice of the procession. 


6.  Without the procession, is the liturgy of the Sacrament in any way deficient in thanksgiving since reasoning for the procession includes an opportunity for the community to celebrate the Thanksgiving we call the Eucharist.”?

7.  Is there any significance to the use of an “ambry near the altar” versus the communion vessels being stored in the sacristy during non service time and on the altar covered by a white linen during the Divine Service?

Thanks in advance for sharing information on this practice.

J. Thomas Shelley

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Re: Sacramental Security
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2019, 12:26:25 AM »
The Western "Offertory Procession" is a truncation/adaptation of the Orthodox Great Entrance, a practice first documented around the Fifth Century at the Great Church (Agia Sophia) in Constantinople.

At the Great Church the Sacramental vessels were stored in an anteroom adjacent to the Altar (Chancel) which the faithful could enter in order to deposit their offerings, including bread and wine for the Eucharist.

At the time of the Great Entrance, the Sacramental vessels as well as the bread and wine for that celebration were carried from the anteroom--led by crucifix, "fans", candles, and all the clergy (sometimes as many as 70 Deacons!!)--through the assembly.

What Bp. Benke has described is the closest Western approximation to this solemn rite that I have ever read.

The Great Entrance has been the subject of many allegories; chiefly that of Christ going to His voluntary Passion...and the faithful (through their offering) symbolically dying with Him so that they may share in His  Resurrection.
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Sacramental Security
« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2019, 01:48:08 AM »
I believe that the "processional" of the sacramental elements began when folks brought food for the "agapē feast". Some of the bread and wine was presented to the president who consecrated it and gave it back to the people as the body and blood of Christ.


Like many liturgical traditions, it began as a practical matter: getting bread and wine to the presider at the proper place in the liturgy.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Dave Benke

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Re: Sacramental Security
« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2019, 09:53:41 AM »
Thanks to Thomas Shelley for connecting the Western and Eastern rites with aplomb.

James Eivan -

2.  "this part of the world" for me is East of the Hudson River.  My happy place, the New York Metropolitan region.

3.  regarding rubrics for a song other than the song given for offertory, viz. DS5, parallels LW DSIII, where songs/hymns are used in conjunction with the form (Ordo) of Luther's German Mass.  Or DS4 where the rubric "or an appropriate hymn" is evidenced

3.  regarding "mention of a procession", I don't find one either. That doesn't mean it's forbidden in the LCMS.

4.  "Cup of salvation" is correct.  My bad.  A conflation/interpolation of "sacrifice of thanksgiving" with "cup of salvation."   Making the point that "cup of salvation" brings with it the powerful image of the chalice/flagon, as the vessels are carried through the assembly.  Thanks for the correction!

5.  Brian and Thomas make the connection.  I like the connectives biblically in Colossians 2 and Ephesians 4, where we're given the vision of the "feast of victory" as the principalities and powers are led captive in procession through the streets by power of God in the crucified and risen Lord, and then where we're connected to the heavenly feast as those of us held captive are led on high and humans are given gifts - so we join angels and archangels and all the company of heaven, and bring our gifts with the gifts of bread and wine to the altar.  You could say that's a stretch, but it's a stretch I have enjoyed taking.

6. No. 

7.  An area for dialog, but the ambry/tabernacle gives God's people a sense of the sanctuary being home to the sacred vessels as well as a home for them, the people.  Other vessels can be stored in the sacristy.  At St. Peter's the three oils are also stored in the ambry, but not the unconsecrated wine.  During the service the vessels are (often) covered by linen, either white or in the liturgical color of the day.  The Lord is in His Holy Temple. 

Dave Benke

Eileen Smith

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Re: Sacramental Security
« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2019, 11:04:29 AM »
I live in Dr. Benke's part of town and in each congregation where I've been a member there has been (is) a procession with the gifts of bread and wine.  Some have the crucifer move to the narthex and lead the procession and some simply had the people bringing gifts.

In LBW Manual on the Liturgy, the following:

If the bread and wine are on the credence, they are brought to the altar after the table is spread. A more desirable practice, however, is for representatives of the congregation to bring the gifts of bread and wine along with the money at the presentation of the gifts.  The offering of the bread and wine is a sign of what human labor has done to the gifts of God making wheat into bread and grapes into wine.  Thus we do offer our whole selves and our whole lives to him.  (Lutheran Book of Worship Manual on the Liturgy p. 231-232)

Perhaps more succinctly - and quite beautiful are the words of Pope Benedict regarding processing with the gifts of bread and wine:    "This humble and simple gesture is actually very significant: in the bread and wine that we bring to the altar, all creation is taken up by Christ the Redeemer to be transformed and presented to God, the Father. "(Sacramentum Caritatis, 47, 2007)

Dave Benke

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Re: Sacramental Security
« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2019, 12:01:02 PM »
I live in Dr. Benke's part of town and in each congregation where I've been a member there has been (is) a procession with the gifts of bread and wine.  Some have the crucifer move to the narthex and lead the procession and some simply had the people bringing gifts.

In LBW Manual on the Liturgy, the following:

If the bread and wine are on the credence, they are brought to the altar after the table is spread. A more desirable practice, however, is for representatives of the congregation to bring the gifts of bread and wine along with the money at the presentation of the gifts.  The offering of the bread and wine is a sign of what human labor has done to the gifts of God making wheat into bread and grapes into wine.  Thus we do offer our whole selves and our whole lives to him.  (Lutheran Book of Worship Manual on the Liturgy p. 231-232)

Perhaps more succinctly - and quite beautiful are the words of Pope Benedict regarding processing with the gifts of bread and wine:    "This humble and simple gesture is actually very significant: in the bread and wine that we bring to the altar, all creation is taken up by Christ the Redeemer to be transformed and presented to God, the Father. "(Sacramentum Caritatis, 47, 2007)

Boom!  Right on target and connects to the evangelical and catholic movement of the Church through the centuries.

Dave Benke

evangelical catholic

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Re: Sacramental Security
« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2019, 01:39:30 PM »
I worshipped in a parish that placed a small table in the main aisle holding unconsecrated hosts. Using tongs we would place a host onto a large paten that would be brought up to the ministers with the flagon during the offertory procession. Bugs/ flies could present a problem, however.

In this video, the entrance procession includes the eucharistic vessels with the priest carrying the veiled chalice. Other videos of Lutheran churches in Sweden also show the celebrant carrying the chalice during the entrance hymn.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=styhk1N8AmM

["The Procession and the Psalm 103 Prepared for the Lord (text FM Franzén 1812, 1817, music: German folk melody 1693) in Högalidskyrkan, Stockholm on 1 advent November 28, 2010. Processional and traditional entrance hymn on this 1st of Advent in the Swedish churches. Högalids church, Stockholm."] 
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Interior_of_H%C3%B6galidskyrkan
« Last Edit: September 18, 2019, 01:56:15 PM by evangelical catholic »