I didn’t want to write this because we did a whole podcast on it, but my former Professor from Fuller doesn’t think I care about theology (because I quoted Luther’s words to Jeremy in a Facebook thread), so I felt inclined to prove him wrong. Take that Clay.
BTW: You can find the podcast where we beat this dead horse here.
You can also find my brother’s article here… https://jpserrano.com/2020/04/05/a-case-against-online-communion/
The Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord made it clear that outside of the use, there is no Sacrament. That means if it’s not being used for what it was intended it’s not the Sacrament. I didn’t come up with this, but you can look it up yourself: Solid Declaration: Article 7, line 85.
So, things like solitary masses, or Eucharistic adoration, ocular reception (can someone say spiritual communion?) is not something that I think Lutherans should be on board with because it is not being used for intended purpose. It really seems like the Solid Declaration was clear on this, at least to me.
Don’t get me started on the tradition of “fasting from the table.” To me, asking me to fast is grasping for a tradition to justify being uncomfortable. Talk about emotional reasoning!
I agree with my brother and the Solid Declaration that there needs to be some things present in order for the Sacrament to be valid.
- Words of Institution
- Elements: Wine and Bread
Without these things there is no Sacrament.
Why don’t we rely on the tradition of adjusting our practices when there is an emergency? We do this with baptism! Why not with Holy Communion? And I believe that we can do this without straying too far away from the 5 criteria for Communion.
So here is my suggestions…
- Gathering. Yes, we can adjust our conception of gathering. We can gather live online. It’s not as good, but it will do for the time being. (Caveat: I don’t think recording a service, or watching old communion service is in the spirit of the intention of gathering. It has to be live. I also don’t feel comfortable with mail, drive-by reception, or leaving it out in front of the church for people to receive it.)
- Words of Institution. Done, no problem.
- Elements. Well how far do they have to be? Really? Can they be in the same room? Why not just gather the elements together in front of our tables and recognize that whoever is presiding can preside over those elements in front of you?
- Distribution. Easy! The pastor says, “This is the body of Christ given for you.” And, “This is the blood of Christ shed for you.” The pastor then gestures for you to receive it.
- Reception: If you are with people you serve each other, if you are along pick them up and consuming them. It’s not as good as someone handing them to you, but again we are operating in emergency times.
Now, with all of that said I think that once we go back to meeting in person, we abandon the practice…unless another emergency arises and then we do it again.
See things can adjusted slightly and stay within the intention of what Lutherans have held Communion is.
So Jeremy, you’re wrong.