Saturday, January 02, 2010

Protestant perception of the "Lord's Supper"

This post comes from a thread on the Coming Home Network International forums.

One poster, "Pange Lingua" (Michael), wrote:
I think that Baptist minister is probably much closer to Catholicism than he would ever venture to suspect. If all of these things [the bread and wine for the "Lord's Supper"] are meant to be mere symbols, then it shouldn't make a great deal of difference how they're dispensed or how they're dispensed with. If his heart tells him there's something more to it ... then the little disposable cups he probably uses in his own services begins to become suspect. How the leftover grape juice is poured down the drain begins to become suspect. What happens to the rest of that loaf of French bread he's using starts to matter - and the little kids running up to grab a hunk after the service - well, that starts to matter too.

I think the simple realization that things matter is a huge part of the journey.

Sometimes the journey home has to start at home as well, within the Church. Last year some noise had to be made in my own parish because it was discovered that the chalice was being cleaned improperly, with the remnants of the precious blood being poured down the drain. Perhaps we needed a sensitive Baptist to help us out. Perhaps he'll be able to within not too many years.
Another poster, Steven Barrett, responded:
I knew I was in a deep "cultural hole" and ready for some steady teasin' at the Baptist church we used to attend and I was a sexton for, on the day I refused to vacuum up the little pieces of remaining communion bread.

"I'm NOT sucking up the Lord!" sez I. They couldn't believe I was that respectful for the communion they allowed to fall on their rugs, which were no doubt ground down a few times ... and you wouldn't want to know how they treated their Bibles, which in a Baptist Church are more important than their portions of Communion.
Here is my response:

Imagine if a wife threw out the bouquet of roses her husband gave her 10 minutes later. She'd explain, of course, that the roses were a symbol of her husband's love for her, and she received them and so spiritually/symbolically received his love, and now the flowers had served their purpose and, really, they were only ever just flowers: the husband's attachment of his love to them didn't change them in reality, just in perception, and now the perception (as far as the wife is concerned) is gone, the actual love having been acknowledged.

But no wife does that (do they?!). Yes, even wives with no belief in the Eucharist or Jesus Christ at all keep roses, ordinary flowers that serve as mere symbols of love (romantic, erotic, etc.), around longer than many Christian communities keep their "Lord's Supper" around after it has been received.

No comments: