Saturday, February 23, 2008

Lutheran Lite vs. Luther

Light Side is the section of The Lutheran magazine where people send in "funny" anecdotes. The current issue's Light Side, headlined "At the communion rail," includes this:
A couple in our congregation had their visiting grandson, Henry, then 5, hold the bucket for empty plastic communion cups while they served communion. The next morning Henry said to his grandma: “Next time I’ll serve the drinks and you can do the trash.”

Cheryl Geller
Minot, N.D
Think on this for a moment.

Empty plastic communion cups tossed in bucket. Five-year-old sees trash. Grandma and friends think this is so cute.

Such is the state of Lutheranism in 2008.

Then there's Herman Sasse's reference to a description of Dr. Luther's personal conduct as celebrant:
In many churches in which he celebrated the Lord's Supper there remained for a long time memories of his conduct, e.g., in the Church of Our Lady in Halle during his last journey to Mansfeld. Long afterwards they were still telling of this celebration, one of the last, if not the last of his life.
The great number of communicants had wearied his aged arms; at one point his quivering hand caused him to spill a little of the consecrated wine on the floor. Luther put the chalice down on the altar, fell to his knees, and sucked up the wine with his mouth so that it should not be trodden under foot, whereupon the whole congregation broke out in sobbing and weeping.
(We Confess: The Sacraments, pp. 133-134, referencing K. Loewe, quoted by K. Anton, Luther und die Musik [1928], p. 59)
Such was the state of Lutheranism in the 1540s.

It is said that actions speak louder than words. What do Luther's actions say about the Sacrament? What has young Henry's congregation taught him about the Means of Grace? Which seems right and salutary to you?

(Hint: trash vs. reverence)

"...whereupon the whole congregation broke out in sobbing and weeping."


Eric Swensson said...

Thanks. Revealing. Sad.

Anonymous said...

Do you have any sense of humor or just out to moan and groan?

Rev. Michael Allen

Pastor Zip said...

Yes, I have a sense of humor. I can, and often do, laugh at all sorts of things, especially myself.

And some things, even when others smile or laugh, are not humorous.

-C said...

Yes, I have heard that my priest did this very same thing when an older priest with whom he was concelebrating spilled a little of the Sacrament on the rug.

But it gets worse: