Monday, March 03, 2008

The Means of Grace?

Check out Steve Tibbetts' blog post on disposable communion cups.

I have seen waste baskets in churches filled with (sometimes half-filled) plastic shot glasses of wine used in communion. Aside from the environmental issue of all that plastic, what about the reverent disposal of our Lord's blood following the communion. I mean, you don't have to be an advocate of reservation to feel that this is downright impiety, do you?


Chris said...

I'm not a fan of reserving the sacrament, but I do believe we should treat the bread and wine with great reverence during worship, and consume it or dispose of it in appropriate manners. It truly is only bread and wine, and the Bible truly is only paper, ink and glue, and the processional cross truly is only brass. But these elements become much more as signs and means of God's grace within the Body of Christ.

And how about vacuuming the bread crumbs from communion?

-C said...

Funny - I thought of doing a post on this, too.

As far as whether the sacrament is "only bread and wine," I think it best for me to stay out of that one.


P.S. an after-thought said...

Sure there are issues, but what about the alternatives? I took communion last week at a nursing home and the pastor used the common cup. That branch of Lutheranism uses the cc. I'm not a fan of that for a number of reasons, but in a nursing home it seems irresponsible to me, both because of the chance of spread of flu and colds, but also because many of the people can't help their lack of control of their mouths.

Back to the disposables: is it worse to use individual glass cups?

Dwight P. said...

The common cup-individual glasses issue is something we won't go into, I hope. I think there will be no convincing anyone on the other side of the aisle, so let's leave it moot. For my money, though, since you asked is that if you MUST use individual glasses, drinking from glass cups with the wine's having been poured from a common chalice with a pouring lip is the only acceptable compromise.

I can't go along with saying that "It is truly ... only bread and wine ... ," Chris. I get where you are going -- Jesus was only "flesh and blood," after all. But I fear the misunderstanding that can attach to your wording.

The point in posting the link is to say that the general lack of reverence that attends to almost anything put to holy uses in the Lutheran Church (at least ELCA variety) is deeply troubling. There is a kind of gnosticism and manichaeism inherent to much that dozens of congregations are about.