What Happens to the Sacrament (the Reliquae) after Distribution?

Communion1It is not by accident that there is a great deal of reverence in the Divine Service associated with the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. The Words of our Lord are chanted deliberately and carefully,[1] the body and blood of Christ are adored (e.g., genuflection and the elevation of the elements), and the Sacrament is distributed and received with reverent solemnity.

All of this is fitting, for the Sacrament of the Altar is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is indicated by the Words of our Lord Himself: “Take, eat; this is my body; take drink, this is my blood.” But what about after the distribution, or even after the Divine Service? What happens to the remaining sacramental elements then? Consider this insightful observation from Pastor Larry Peters:

“Perhaps the most honest expression of what we believe about the Lord’s Supper comes from the way we treat the reliquae (that which remains after the distribution).  For what we truly believe is often hidden in the way we handle the things of God when no one is looking, when the Divine Service is over, and we are left alone with our consciences.”[2]

Far from being a trivial matter, a clear confession of the bodily presence of Christ in the Sacrament is at stake in how the reliquae is handled after distribution.

Luther, along with such notable Lutheran theologians as Martin Chemnitz and C.F.W. Walther, urged the consumption the reliquae so as not to “divide the Sacrament by a wicked example, or to handle the sacramental action irreverently.”[3] Luther had a very high regard for the Sacrament, who, according to witnesses, once wept when some of the wine from the chalice was spilled during the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. Commenting on Luther’s Sacramental piety, Hermann Sasse writes, “Perhaps no catholic ever had such reverence for the miracle of the Real Presence as Luther did. No one could think more highly of the consecration, no one could treat the consecrated elements more reverently.”[4] We do well to imitate Luther’s example.

So as to not make it impractical or impossible to consume the reliquae, my parishes do not set out more than we expect to use. Our average communion attendance is considered (which is generally consistent from week to week), along with the possibility of having visitors. If we run out (which has yet to happen), I can always consecrate additional elements.

Following the distribution, any remaining consecrated hosts are consumed. Any crumbs that remain in the paten are cleared into the chalice along with any remaining wine from the individual cups, and this is also then consumed.

While this can be done immediately following the service, it is preferable to consume the reliquae at the altar immediately following distribution.[5] This has the advantage of keeping the entire celebration of the Sacrament in its proper context, the Divine Service. Also, the public consumption of the reliquae leaves no doubt as to what was done with it after the service. If it is consumed in private (which may be necessary in some settings), most of the congregation will not witness this and may have no idea how it was handled.

The practice of pouring the blood of our Lord into the ground after the celebration of the Sacrament, while being a common enough historical practice (and even appears in Reed’s rubrics in The Lutheran Liturgy), is without biblical warrant. While this practice is commendable in that it makes an effort to treat the blood of our Lord with reverence (as it is certainly preferable to pouring it down the sink or toilet), it is nevertheless a departure from “take, drink.” As to storing consecrated hosts for future use, this is also common (and endorsed by the likes of Walther and Reed), but it is better still to keep consecration, distribution, and reception together, as indicated by the following citation of Deyling by Walther:

“The elements consecrated by the pastor can neither be preserved nor sent to those who are absent, which was an evil custom of some in the ancient church. For the sacramental action, which consists of consecration, distribution, and reception, must be completely uninterrupted,” (Pastoral Theology, 144).[6]

Whether or not something may be done is a different question than whether or not it should be done. Where consecration, distribution, and reception are kept together, there is no room for doubt or confusion. Additionally, as a public act, consuming the reliquae at the altar affords us another opportunity to teach what we believe, teach, and confess about the Lord’s Supper. Our communion practice ought to display our reverence for the body and blood of Christ when the elements are consecrated, when they are distributed, and after distribution. Our Lord Jesus Christ invites us to His table, saying, “Take, eat; take, drink;” and it is our great privilege to do so.

+ Rev. Eric Andersen
Tuesday of the Baptism of Our Lord, 2015
Zion on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/zionlcms
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[1] While I regard this as preferential to speaking them, this is not to suggest they cannot be spoken. See Dr. Matt Phillips’ post on chanting the verba at https://steadfastlutherans.org/?p=39877.

[2] http://pastoralmeanderings.blogspot.com/2013/10/what-do-you-really-think-about-it.html

[3] For the Luther quote & the teachings of Chemnitz and Walther in this regard, see the excellent presentation “To Mix, or Not to Mix: The Sacramental Character of the Reliquiae” by Rev. Paul L. Beisel to the 2007 Iowa District East Fall Pastor’s conference at http://www.gloriachristi.org/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/tomixornottomix.pdf

[4] Cited in Beisel, 7.

[5] Rev. David Jay Webber has complied a number of helpful quotations pertaining to the Sacrament, including Luther’s admonition that the remains of the Sacrament should be consumed with the rest of the communicants. They can be found at http://www.angelfire.com/ny4/djw/lutherantheology.consecration.html.

[6] Consider also the following quotation from Chemnitz, Kirchner, & Selneccer: “The Christian Concord goes no farther than the correct use instituted by Christ. And it does not say anywhere either that [the Sacrament] is to be placed in a pyx and locked up in the eucharistic tabernacle and, as previously stated, it speaks only about the use instituted by Christ Himself,” (Apologia oder Verantwortung des christlichen concordien Buchs, 157-158, as quoted by Murray; Logia 9 No 3, 2000:15).


Comments

What Happens to the Sacrament (the Reliquae) after Distribution? — 124 Comments

  1. [21] The problem with the “consecrationist-receptionist” discussion is that each side
    runs the risk of separating in one direction or the other what has been Biblically joined
    together.

    An honest question: Can you explain the consecrationist’s risk?

  2. @Jon Alan Schmidt #1 page 2
    Having calmed down a bit, I realized that it is possible to divide receptionists into two groups:
    1/ Those who say that the presence is caused by the reception. (“causal receptionist”)
    2/ Those who say that the presence is caused by the words of Christ, but we aren’t sure of His presence before the reception. (“temporal receptionist”)

    I think you claim 2/ and maybe you prefer another label than “receptionist” because you mean that a receptionist is 1/.

    Temporal receptionists can personally believe that the presence begins for example at consecration or at reception, but they don’t dogmatize.

    To be a consecration-minded temporal receptionist (CMTR) is however something different than being a consecrationist (C). Although they both think the presence starts at consecration, they believe differently on what causes the presence. The C believes the Words of institution (chanted or read by the pastor) causes the presence, the CMTR does not believe that, he thinks the presence is caused of the fact that the Holy Supper is celebrated on the command/institution of Christ (2000 years ago). And since the celebration starts with the Words of institution it’s natural to think that the presence begins at that point.
    – – –
    Something like that?

  3. @Pastor Eric Andersen #45
    As to the issue of reconsecration, with all due respect, I look at it from precisely the opposite direction for precisely the same reason. Reconsecrate, in the presence of those who will commune–for it is the Word of God that *removes* confusion and doubt. Those who commune hear the Lord say, “This is My body,” and they know it is. Whether it was before or not is, frankly, the question that causes doubt. (It’s essentially the same question as “When does it become…?” to which the answer is: I may not know at which syllable, but once I’ve heard my Lord say it’s His body, I know it is–for the forgiveness of my sins.) And if folks *don’t* hear Christ speak His Word, *then* they *do* have reason to doubt. “What happened before” is a rabbit trail leading only to (well, devilish) doubt. What Is now, according to Christ’s Word, is solid and certain.

    Fwiw, then, Pastor Schulz, I don’t think it is irreverent or doubt-creating to reserve the unconsumed, consecrated Body and Blood from the 1st service for the 2nd. Perhaps a specific practice could be instituted *and communicated and taught*, whereby that which has been reserved from teh 1st service remains on the altar, *alone*, so that consecrated and unconsecrated are clearly distinguished and kept separate, until *all* is consecrated. And the Words of Christ are spoken over everything that is intended for distribution at the 2nd service.

  4. @Rev. Jakob Fjellander #50
    As my earlier comment about being agnostic should have indicated, I am not really comfortable assigning any particular label to myself at this point. Instead, I have come to the conclusion that trying to determine when the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ is asking the wrong question altogether; any definitive answer amounts to engaging in pious speculation at best, rather than accepting the mystery as Brad has wisely advocated. The important thing is to recognize that it happens, and that the reason why it happens is solely because of Christ’s Word of promise. This rules out two alternative causes:

    1. The action of eating and drinking by the communicants; some receptionists might fall into this mistake.
    2. The action of speaking the Words of Institution by the pastor; some consecrationists might fall into this mistake.

    I believe that these are the two risks that quasicelsus had in mind, based on a previous comment.

    As for the practical ramifications, evidently the Synod has provided fairly detailed guidance. Each pastor must exercise context-sensitive judgment to implement it in his particular situation, as the steward of the mysteries for his congregation.

  5. @Rev. Jakob Fjellander #50
    Jakob,

    In my experience, I have never met a receptionist who believed that the Real Presence is caused by the reception. I have never so much has read this position being advocated in print by any Lutheran. I have my doubts that there are any such people.

    All receptionists whom I have every read or spoken to (in person, or online) are closer to your type 2, but not quite. This is how I would characterize their position: They are certain that they receive the true Body and Blood of Christ with the bread and wine. However they do not otherwise recognize the Real Presence, nor do they speculate as to how it comes about, nor at what point it may definitely be recognized, other than at the moment of reception. They do not believe that the Words of Institution spoken by the pastor do anything. Some of them go so far as to say that the recitation of the words is merely an historical narrative, and in no way part of the Sacrament proper. There are even rumors that some pastors in WELS have omitted the words altogether.

    So the receptionist position is by no means a united front. But almost without fail they are certain that there is no Real Presence in the elements that remain. Some exercise reverence with the elements, but most I have known treat them as common bread and wine.

    In other words, they are certain of two things: They receive the Body and Blood of Christ by the mouth, and after the Reception, Christ is not there. In this they have unwittingly fallen into the position of the Philippists.

  6. @Jon Alan Schmidt #3
    Thank you for your answer! I’m trying to understand your position. You wrote: The important thing is to recognize that it happens, and that the reason why it happens is solely because of Christ’s Word of promise. I’m wondering about those Words of promise, which cause the presence; Which Words do you mean? The Words spoken by Christ 2000 years ago at the first Supper? Or the Words spoken by the pastor in the service, in our mass?

  7. @Pr. Martin Diers #4
    Yes.

    I once visited a church (Church of the Lutheran Confession) where the pastor recited the Words of Institution, standing besides the altar, face to congregation. Quite apparently, the function of the recital was to tell the congregation that they were just about to celebrate the Lord’s Supper. He just told them what Jesus said 2000 years ago.

  8. Rev. Jakob Fjellander: I’m wondering about those Words of promise, which cause the presence; Which Words do you mean? The Words spoken by Christ 2000 years ago at the first Supper? Or the Words spoken by the pastor in the service, in our mass?

    FC SD VII:74-78 seems to provide us with a pretty definitive answer (emphasis added throughout):

    [74] namely, that not the word or work of any man produces the true presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Supper, whether it be the merit or recitation of the minister, or the eating and drinking or faith of the communicants; but all this should be ascribed alone to the power of Almighty God and the word, institution, and ordination of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    [75] For the true and almighty words of Jesus Christ which He spake at the first institution were efficacious not only at the first Supper, but they endure, are valid, operate, and are still efficacious, so that in all places where the Supper is celebrated according to the institution of Christ, and His words are used, the body and blood of Christ are truly present, distributed, and received, because of the power and efficacy of the words which Christ spake at the first Supper. For where His institution is observed and His words are spoken over the bread and cup, and the consecrated bread and cup are distributed, Christ Himself, through the spoken words, is still efficacious by virtue of the first institution, through His word, which He wishes to be there repeated. [76] As Chrysostom says (in Serm. de Pass.) in his Sermon concerning the Passion: Christ Himself prepared this table and blesses it; for no man makes the bread and wine set before us the body and blood of Christ, but Christ Himself who was crucified for us. The words are spoken by the mouth of the priest, but by God’s power and grace, by the word, where He speaks: “This is My body,” the elements presented are consecrated in the Supper. And just as the declaration, Gen. 1:28: “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth,” was spoken only once, but is ever efficacious in nature, so that it is fruitful and multiplies, so also this declaration was spoken once, but even to this day and to His advent it is efficacious, and works so that in the Supper of the Church His true body and blood are present.

    [77] Luther also, Tom. VI, Jena, Fol. 99: This His command and institution have this power and effect that we administer and receive not mere bread and wine, but His body and blood, as His words declare: “This is My body,” etc.; “This is My blood,” etc., so that it is not our work or speaking, but the command and ordination of Christ that makes the bread the body, and the wine the blood, from the beginning of the first Supper even to the end of the world, and that through our service and office they are daily distributed.

    [78] Also, Tom. III, Jena, Fol. 446: Thus here also, even though I should pronounce over all bread the words: This is Christ’s body, nothing, of course, would result therefrom; but when in the Supper we say, according to His institution and command: “This is My body,” it is His body, not on account of our speaking or word uttered, but because of His command – that He has commanded us thus to speak and to do, and has united His command and act with our speaking.

  9. and has united His command and act with our speaking.”

    It’s not one or the other. It’s both and.

  10. Eyes of Needles . . . the presence of odd, humped-back animals close by . . .

    The Pastor’s words, by virtue of his ordination, carry forth Christ’s words and the force of Christ’s words – hence – the Body and Blood never bcomes the un-Body and un-Blood.

    They were sacramentally brought into existence for us to eat and drink. They remain what they have become and they are to be consumed.

    So we must do so. Pax – jb

  11. Pr. Martin Diers: and has united His command and act with our speaking.”
    It’s not one or the other. It’s both and.

    The question was about what causes the bread and wine to become the body and blood of Christ.

    “… no man makes the bread and wine set before us the body and blood of Christ, but Christ Himself …”

    “… it is not our work or speaking, but the command and ordination of Christ that makes the bread the body, and the wine the blood, from the beginning of the first Supper even to the end of the world …”

    “… not on account of our speaking or word uttered, but because of His command …”

    The pastor thus plays absolutely no role in causing the bread and wine to become the body and blood of Christ, any more than the recipients. That happens solely because of the Word spoken by Christ at the Last Supper nearly two thousand years ago. And yet, if any of the three external, visible actions instituted by Christ – consecration, distribution, and reception – is omitted, then there is no Sacrament (FC SD VII:83-87); hence the need, in the end, to accept the mystery.

  12. @Jon Alan Schmidt #9
    I must ask again what point you are trying to make here. Can you point to anyone in these circles who is a bonafide sacerdotalist? You’re ire seems to get raised when someone insists that the Body and Blood are present once the words of institution have been spoken by the pastor. No one here believes that the action of the pastor himself effects the Real Presence.

    The mystery of the Sacrament is not in the when, but in the how. There is no mystery as to when Christ is present. He is present once He has spoken. And when the pastor speaks the Words of Institution, Christ Himself has spoken, and His Word does what it says. When the pastor recites the words of institution, this is just as surely Christ speaking, as when the pastor pronounces absolution.

    Therefore there can be no doubt that what is there on the altar, in the pastor’s hand, and what is placed into the mouth of the communicant is, in fact, the Body and Blood of Christ, because Christ Himself has spoken, and His Word does what it says.

  13. @Pr. Martin Diers #10
    I apologize for coming across as if my ire had been raised, and I am not interested in pointing to anyone. I took your comment about “both/and” to be suggesting that the pastor contributes to effecting the Real Presence, so I must have misunderstood what you meant.

    As for the point that I am trying to make, I really just want to emphasize – in response to Rev. Fjellander’s very specific question – that the Word of Christ alone effects the Real Presence, not the speaking of the pastor or the eating and drinking of the recipients; i.e., nothing that we say or do today, but only what He said and did on the night when He was betrayed, once for all time. The parallel with absolution is appropriate, and I almost brought it up earlier myself: the pastor does not cause the forgiveness of the sinner when he pronounces it today; Christ alone did that when He died on the cross, once for all time.

    This whole discussion now has me leaning toward believing that the body and blood of Christ are indeed present in, with, and under the bread and wine during the entire Sacrament – from consecration through distribution and reception. However, I still think that it is the wrong question to ask precisely when the bread and wine become His body and blood, or whether/when they cease to be His body and blood. What really matters is that we can be absolutely certain that what we take, eat, and drink are the true body and blood of Christ, because that is what He Himself has commanded and promised.

  14. @Jon Alan Schmidt #10
    Thanks for your distinct answer. It makes it clear that we believe differently about the “why” of presence. You say: “That happens solely because of the Word spoken by Christ at the Last Supper nearly two thousand years ago.” And I disagree. The Words spoken by the pastor in the service are (also) the cause.
    FC denies that, you say. Yes, that’s right! FC both denies it is the pastor’s words which cause the presence and affirms it is the pastor’s words.

    FC: It is not the pastor’s words – against Rome who taught (and teaches) that the priest has an inherent qualification from ordination (Character indelebilis) which gives him the power and ability to consecrate.

    FC: It is the pastor’s words – Because Christ has commanded him to recite the words. The real power is not in the pastor’s words but in the command.

    We could distinguish between causal cause and instrumental cause. The causal cause (the working power) is the words spoken 2000 years ago (the institution), the instrumental cause (the tool which applies the power) is the pastor’s words (the consecration).

    FC VII:78: Thus here also, even though I should pronounce over all bread the words: This is Christ’s body, nothing, of course, would result therefrom; =it is not the words as mere words or as the pastor’s work but when in the Supper we say, according to His institution and command: “This is My body,” it is His body, not on account of our speaking or word uttered, but because of His command-that He has commanded us thus to speak and to do, and has united His command and act with our speaking.

  15. @Rev. Jakob Fjellander #12
    I still do not see FC VII anywhere affirming that “The Words spoken by the pastor in the service are (also) the cause” of the Real Presence. Even in that last quoted sentence, the subject – the one who causes the bread and wine to become the body and blood – is Christ, not the pastor: “He [Christ] … has united His command and act with our speaking.” The pastor’s action in saying the Words of Institution does not cause or even contribute to causing the Real Presence; neither does the recipient’s action in taking, eating, and drinking, which is likewise done “according to His institution and command.” Yet consecration, distribution, and reception must all occur, or there is no Real Presence. This is what I mean by accepting the mystery.

  16. @Rev. Jakob Fjellander #49

    i can try to explain. not sure if i’ll do it justice though.

    the quote says “The problem with the “consecrationist-receptionist” discussion is that each side
    runs the risk of separating in one direction or the other what has been Biblically joined
    together. ”

    consecration and reception have been biblically joined (at least according to the LCMS document – and this appears to be true to Luther/Walther/Chemnitz)

    the consecrationist risks, and i’ll repeat again RISKS

    risks
    risks
    risks

    … separating from the reception.

    as seen from history (ancient practice as well as roman catholocism), a number of bad practices and theology developed that really seem tied to a strict consecrationist perspective.

    1)taking the consecrated elements to the sick (article 14 potential abuse, as well as using them outside of the service)
    2) transubstantiation
    3) that whole parading of the consecrated elements kerfuffle

    and really
    4) durationists

    those for whom the Lord’s supper never ends
    those who SEEM to extract “this is my body” away from “take and eat” and “given for YOU.”


    ultimately, i agree that looking for the “when” is the wrong question.
    Is it consecrated? (you know, by a pastor who is rightfully called – administers the sacraments according to the gospel)
    is it distributed? (that is, during the service of the sacrament… Luther put together a good window for that, and the FC et all seem to agree)
    is it consumed? (reception)

    case in point, which gets brought up alot.

    Martin Luther has a spill, and gets on his hands and knees to lap it up off the floor.

    1) is it consecrated? YES
    2) is it distributed? YES
    3) is it consumed? YES

    Martin Luther lapped up the blood of Christ off the church floor.

    Does that action say much for the single chalice? not really.
    Does that action say much for the CryptoCalvanists in view? oh yes.
    Do I think Martin Luther got every last drop? I wouldn’t bet much on that.

  17. @quasicelsus #14
    Your comments regarding the “risks” of the consecrationist position would be valid *except* that the consecrationist (when he is truly a consecrationist) does not isolate the words “This is My Body” from “Take, eat.” We eat and drink *because* it is the Body and Blood of Christ, “given and shed for the remission of sins.” If we were to stop at the words of consecration and ignore the distribution and eating and drinking, then *like the Reformed* we have the *sounds* but not the actual *Word* of Christ, for we have changed the meaning/set aside the Word.

    All of Christ’s words go together, and to separate them from each other (ala Rome *and* ala classic receptionism) is to do violence to them all, and therefore, devilishly to introduce doubt into the Sacrament.

  18. Oh, and, though I do understand what you mean by the words, still, I would remind you that, in fact, the Lord’s Supper *does not* ever end. He doesn’t institute “supper*s*”, but the one feast, throughout time and space, just like He does not have many brides/churches, ultimately, but *one* Bride/Church. I think this does have an affect on how we think regarding the “durationist” idea. To be sure, I am not dogmatic about that, as jb seems to be–I think that says more than Scripture actually does. However, I do *lean* that way, and try to act accordingly. Like this: I don’t know that we can know for certain, based upon clear words of Scripture, what the reliquae *is* (that is, after the Divine Service–which is kinda what “reliquae” implies, of course), but I do know that I can’t know for certain that it is *not* the Body and Blood, and therefore, it needs to be treated with the highest reverence. (Read that carefully–it really does make sense! 🙂 I had to re-read it a couple of times to make sure, myself. Double negatives are sometimes unavoidable.)

  19. @Jon Alan Schmidt #11
    The pastor *is* the instrumental cause. That classical distinction is lost here, but it is quite helpful and important. The pastor is not a cause by any virtue in himself, but he is the tool the Lord uses to absolve and to consecrate. That is not to elevate the pastor (or even the pastoral office) particularly, above all of Christ’s Holy Priesthood, that is, to call him the Lord’s megaphone/bullhorn–kinda dumb and inanimate, right? The Lord could have chosen to use fiberboard or plastic and electronics. (Hmm, reminds me of the Vogon ship commandeering every possible “sounding board” and stereo system in the world to announce that the earth was about to be demolished to make way for the hyperspace bypass….)

  20. @Rev. David Mueller #17
    I understand your point; I just am not very comfortable with applying the word “cause” to the pastor in this context, even when modified by “instrumental.”

    I am also wary of referring to any pastor as a “tool,” even one who seems “kinda dumb and inanimate.” 😮 But far be it from me to disagree with anyone who drops a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy reference! 😉

  21. @Rev. David Mueller #16

    regarding post 15 we are in full agreement, to my knowledge. again, why i used the words RISK, repeatedly.

    per comment #16
    i do recognize that, in a sense, the Lord’s supper is at least until the eschaton. But i know you also know what i mean about the supper “ending” or at least that particular service.

    again, I can sing “the supper has ended” as the service of the sacrament is complete and Christ’s promises and eternal word are doing what they do.

    i get troubled when people burden the consciences of others unnecessarily, risk obscuring the word of Christ (potential blasphemy), and appear to go against Scripture and Confessions.

    so, Christ is present in the sacrament. if it’s not the sacrament, well, it’s not the sacrament.

  22. @Jon Alan Schmidt #14
    the subject – the one who causes the bread and wine to become the body and blood – is Christ, not the pastor:
    I agree with that as referring to the causal cause.
    Nevertheless FC says “He [Christ] … has united His command and act with our speaking.” To defend your position the quote should have read: “Christ has united His command and act with our speaking and consuming/our Supper or something like that.

    I can agree that the expression “The words of the pastor causes the the presence” is bad in this situation. That’s why you object. It should read “The words of Christ spoken by the pastor causes the presence.” Hitherto you have not affirmed that, but I do. The pastor is the instrument, the tool. The eye sees the pastor acting, but the spirit sees Christ acting.

    Let me elaborate the pastor as an instrument and instrumental cause. This is not restricted to the Supper, but applies to all means of grace. The pastor is God’s worker, God works through him. As Christ said to the apostles: “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you” (Jn 20:21)

    Luther writes in his Genesis Commentary:
    Nor is it the pastor who absolves you, but the mouth and hand of the minister is the mouth and hand of God. AE 5:250

    Whenever I minister, that is, baptize or absolve, I must be certain that my work is not mine, but God’s who works through me. Baptism is a work of God; for it is not mine, although I lend my hands and my mouth as instruments. AE 5:250

    It is true that you hear a human being when you are baptized and when you partake of the Holy Supper. But the word which you hear is not that of a human being; it is the Word of the living God. It is He who baptizes you; it is He who absolves you from sins; and it is He who commands you to hope in His mercy. AE 3:166

    Therefore when we baptize, Christ Himself is baptizing through the mouth and hand of the minister.” AE 8:185

    Therefore do not believe me; but believe Christ, who baptizes, comforts and gives out the sacraments through me, as He has promised: “I am with you always, to the close of the age” AE 8:187

    This view about the pastor as the instrument is in the BoC also. God uses the pastor’s hand and mouth as His own. I admit it is not as clear as in the quotes above, but there are some examples.

    For to be baptized in the name of God is to be baptized not by men, but by God Himself. Therefore, although it is performed by human hands, it is nevertheless truly God’s own work. LC Bapt 10

    It is true, indeed, that if you take away the Word, or regard it without the Word, you have nothing but mere bread and wine. But if the words remain with them, as they shall and must, then, in virtue of the same, it is truly the body and blood of Christ. For as the lips of Christ say and speak, so it is, as He can never lie or deceive. SD VII:23 “The lips of Christ” is the pastor’s lips. The question here is how to view what happens in OUR mass.

    The words are spoken by the mouth of the priest, but by God’s power and grace, by the word, where He speaks: “This is My body,” the elements presented are consecrated in the Supper. SD VII:76

    (Many thanks to Associate Professor Naomichi Masaki, CTSFW, for the quotes from the Genesis Commentary!)

  23. @quasicelsus #20
    Thanks for your kind words there. I wrote 3 different responses to responses to me on another thread, and wound up posting none of them. None of my words in any of them would have been helpful. (At least I don’t think they would have been.) This is a very difficult method of communicating–but I suppose most methods are, and the problem is not the method or the communication but the sinfulness of the communicators…. Thanks be to God, we live by His grace.

    @Jon Alan Schmidt #18
    I trust you know where your towel is. 🙂

    David Mueller Alpha

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