Wednesday, September 27, 2006

How often should one go to the Lord's Supper?

Among the readings for discussion at the 2007 General Retreat of the Society of the Holy Trinity is the book The Hammer of God, by Bo Geirtz. A wonderful book that I wish I'd known about prior to my pastoral care courses in seminary, what struck me on my first reading a few years ago was how contemporary were the issues Giertz was addressing.

The first section of the book focusses on a young enlightenment-era priest who in 1808 gets caught up in the Pietist renewal. In one episode, the young Fr. Savonius is, with the the more veteran Pietist priest Fr. Lindér, speaking with a group of people following a evening gathering. The laity are taking advantage of an opportunity to question their priests. From page 66 of the Revised Edition of the book:

Then a new voice was heard.

"How often should one go to the Lord's Supper?"

It was again Lindér who answered.

"That depends a little on how you ask the question. If you ask how often you must go, it may indicate a stubborn heart that wants to buy God's grace as cheaply as possible and that does not really want to be with Jesus. If that is the case, you must pray God to convert you. If, on the other hand, you ask how often you ought to go, our Lord's answer is, 'As oft as ye do this,' and that means that you must do it oftener than the great majority, who commune four times a year just for the sake of propriety. And if you ask how often you may go, you are showing the right hunger for grace, and my answer then is: Go in the joy of the Lord as often as you can. But do not be careless about the preparation."

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