"I Go to Take Communion"

NenyaNenya All Saints Host, Ecclesiantics & MW Host
On the "I Go to Sing" thread we are discussing the reasons we go to church and "to take communion" has been cited by several people as a reason.

When I walk in and realise it's a communion service at our church my heart sinks. I am still working out why.

What form does a communion service take at your place of worship (or another you have attended and either found helpful or unhelpful) and how do you feel about it? What makes it helpful or unhelpful for you?
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Comments

  • Lamb ChoppedLamb Chopped Shipmate
    I'm sorry it's like that for you. That sucks.

    Our tiny congregation has communion weekly. We meet in a long narrow room that used to be the computer room of the parochial school, so there's not much room to maneuver. Generally we go through the standard Lutheran liturgy (which is very like the RC and Anglican liturgies) and then we go stand around the altar in a kind of half-circle. We have no altar rail, as it IS a former computer room--and many of us are too old to be comfortable kneeling anyway, and probably couldn't get up again!-- so we wedge our way around the chairs and the lectern thingy. One of us can't come forward, so we leave a spot open so he can see what's going on, and when the pastor (my husband) gets to that spot in the distribution, he walks to him. Another member took it upon himself to fetch his empty "wee cuppy" at the appropriate point back up front--it's important to us that he not feel left out.

    Except on Maundy Thursday, we use the little wafers and a combination of chalice/wee cuppies, which works pretty well for our people, as they can do what they feel comfortable with. Lately I've noticed that people are taking the elements and waiting to consume them till everyone else has theirs, so I'm doing that too. I'm pretty sure this was a member-led choice, not something the pastor thought up, as he never mentioned it to me.

    Afterward, we go back to our seats and finish the service. There's a Vietnamese communion hymn that's sort of interwoven with the communion action--we sing three verses of it beforehand, two after--not sure why, it just seems to work for everybody. I (and my son, if he's home) do the communion clean-up, because it keeps us in our proper place as servants of the congregation. It also frees up everybody else for Bible study-with-tea-and-cookies, which comes right after service.

    For me, the thing that matters most right now is the very physical chance to touch (and eat!) Jesus, as I come from an extremely touch-starved childhood and have never gotten over it properly. And so the body's part in communion is very important for me.

    It's also a time when, no matter what else has been going on all week, I have forgiveness visibly and hear-ably affirmed to me, personally. Which I need very much.

  • Raptor EyeRaptor Eye Shipmate
    Communion with others and with God is a vital element of faith for me. It doesn’t bother me how it is set up or shared, as long as it is.

    The current set up is weekly Holy Communion in a priest-led Anglican service, receiving a wafer for bread and wine from a chalice.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    In my tribe, Communion is typically monthly. That may mean on the first (or second, or whatever) Sunday, or it may, as with our congregation, be based on more on the liturgical calendar—Advent 1, Christmas, Epiphany, Transfiguration Sunday (last Sunday before Lent), Ash Wednesday, Easter, Pentecost, All Saints, etc., with other Sundays added as necessary to get to at least monthly. (It ends up being more like 16–18 times a year.) There are PC(USA) congregations that celebrate Communion weekly, which is officially presented as the norm, and I would love to see that become the actual norm before I die. In the meantime, monthly is an improvement over the quarterly of my youth.

    The form of the service is basically the Western ordo (with a few bits of our own way of doing things), which, as @Lamb Chopped describes, would be more or less familiar to Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans and others. Traditionally, Communion among us would be in the pews, with plates of bread and wee cuppies being passed from person to person. I rarely encounter that anymore, though. The “new norm” is to go forward and receive at the front (sometimes there will be stations in the back of the church, too, if the congregation is large) and receive by intinction or receive bread and a wee cuppie. Someone is always watching to make sure those who remain in the pews are also served.

    I guess my comment about hoping that weekly becomes the norm before I die indicates my feeling about it. I have made clear that I would like the Eucharist to be celebrated at my funeral.


  • SojournerSojourner Shipmate
    Nenya wrote: »
    On the "I Go to Sing" thread we are discussing the reasons we go to church and "to take communion" has been cited by several people as a reason.

    When I walk in and realise it's a communion service at our church my heart sinks. I am still working out why.

    What form does a communion service take at your place of worship (or another you have attended and either found helpful or unhelpful) and how do you feel about it? What makes it helpful or unhelpful for you?

    Nenya, in your tradition is communion monthly or quarterly?

  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    Our congregation is in the round with the altar in the center. Communion is weekly. It is a continuing table with two serving groups. Clergy with bread Communion Assistant with wine. acolyte to receive the sippy cups. Sorry. I am a common cup guy, but since COVID we have not gone back to that option. Probably won't until after current minister retires in April next year. We call approaching the altar organized chaos.
  • TelfordTelford Deckhand, Styx
    At the main church I went to we would have communion about once a month. We would
    would all be given individual drinks and bit's of cream cracker. We would not need to leave our seats. We would all eat at the same time and we would all drink at the same time.
  • LeafLeaf Shipmate
    Nenya wrote: »
    On the "I Go to Sing" thread we are discussing the reasons we go to church and "to take communion" has been cited by several people as a reason.

    When I walk in and realise it's a communion service at our church my heart sinks. I am still working out why.

    What form does a communion service take at your place of worship (or another you have attended and either found helpful or unhelpful) and how do you feel about it? What makes it helpful or unhelpful for you?

    Interesting - I have the opposite reaction! If the music is terrible and the sermon is a dud, at least I can experience grace in communion.

    My only proviso on that, is that the part of the liturgy focusing on communion should not be painfully long. It shouldn't be embarrassingly truncated either, because I don't find that respectful or abundant in reflecting the grace of the meal. But I have sat through eucharistic liturgies that may have been longer than reading an entire Gospel aloud, or maybe just felt like it.
  • At our TEC place, communion is at pretty much every service. Our current priest replaced my favorite early morning Ash Wednesday service with communion, which I rather regret - the stark simplicity of the naked penetential prayer service with imposition of ashes seems to me to fit the mood better.

    Wafers and common cup is the norm. A significant minority prefer to intinct, for which purpose we have something a bit like this: https://www.churchproducts.com/gold-intinction-set-7641g.html

    Kneeling at the altar rail is the norm. Some of our parishioners would have difficulty kneeling, and so stand. There's usually somewhere between 2 and 6 people who can't easily make their way to the altar, so the priest and a LEM bring communion to them in the pews.
  • Baptist TrainfanBaptist Trainfan Shipmate
    edited May 12
    Telford wrote: »
    At the main church I went to we would have communion about once a month. We would
    would all be given individual drinks and bit's of cream cracker. We would not need to leave our seats. We would all eat at the same time and we would all drink at the same time.

    Much the same here, except we use bread cubes rather than cream cracker! Also, while we drink together to show our unity with each other and with the wider Church, we eat the bread when we receive it as a mark of our individual faith. Communion is usually celebrated monthly, as the final part of the service. Pretty standard UK Baptist practice!

    (Pre-Covid folk had the option of taking a cube of bread or tearing a chunk out of a loaf, we don't seem to have reinstated that).
  • HeavenlyannieHeavenlyannie Shipmate
    edited May 12
    New Frontiers church. We currently take communion weekly, though having it this regularly is a recent introduction in the last few years, I think just before covid.
    Pre-covid we walked to the table and either sipped from a shared cup and took a cube of bread or took a piece of pitta and dipped, according to preference. Post-covid we have individual cups and cubes of bread which we take back to our seats; alcohol-free wine and gluten-free bread so that we all take the same. Often one person will get the items for the people they are seated with. We generally take the bread and wine together as a church. Having individual items means we are more flexible in how we take communion and might be asked to do so individually in reflective prayer or with our neighbours, according to the focus of the sermon.
    I became a Christian in a church which only had communion once a term and was very much memorialist but I like the emphasis my current church has on communion as a shared experience of believers. Community for me is a vital aspect of a church, we arrived here 20 years ago hurting after a very traumatic and public split in our parish church.
  • To add, during the pandemic when we had online services (the elders also in their own homes not in our church) we had weekly communion with our own bread and wine. I found the sense of community when sharing communion at this time quite profound.
  • NenyaNenya All Saints Host, Ecclesiantics & MW Host
    Sojourner wrote: »
    Nenya, in your tradition is communion monthly or quarterly?
    Monthly. We are part of a Baptist church and the usual way is to have the bread and wine at the front with a loaf which has been partially pre-cut so that the officiating person can enact the "Jesus took bread and broke it" bit without the loaf putting up too much of a fight. Then, usually, plates of pre-cubed bread are passed along the rows and we all eat it as we receive it. Then trays of small individual cups of fruit juice are passed along the rows and we keep our cups so that we can all drink together. Occasionally we have queued up to collect our cubes of bread and cups from stations at the front but that tends to be a tad more chaotic.

    When we pass the bread and wine along the rows we are usually expected to say something like, "The body of Christ broken for you... the blood of Christ shed for you." In practice that rarely happens; more often it is a mumbled "Bless you" or nothing at all.

    I personally find it uncomfortable to think that I am actually eating and drinking Jesus' body and blood, and have gone through various thought processes about the meaning being about "I am as available to you as ordinary things like bread and wine and as close to you as the food and drink you ingest" but I still find it... difficult.

    It's a long time since I took communion in an Anglican church (my upbringing) and don't know whether I would find that more helpful.
  • @Nenya said:

    I personally find it uncomfortable to think that I am actually eating and drinking Jesus' body and blood, and have gone through various thought processes about the meaning being about "I am as available to you as ordinary things like bread and wine and as close to you as the food and drink you ingest" but I still find it... difficult.

    I can relate to this. At Our Place (Anglo-Catholic C of E) virtually every service is a Mass, but, since the pandemic and lockdown, I no longer attend in person. I was beginning to find much of the service hard to accept (if that's the right word), and receiving the Sacrament no longer seemed to make much sense.

    Maybe over-familiarity was breeding something - not contempt, I hasten to add...

    One or two others still receive Communion at home (FatherInCharge is very punctilious in offering this), but for various reasons, I declined the offer.
  • betjemaniacbetjemaniac Shipmate
    edited May 12
    Extreme rural English Anglican. Communion is monthly (largely because we get a priest monthly). Indeed it was this morning. Common Worship by the book with 4 hymns. Queue for a spot, kneel at the rail, wafer then common chalice.

    The rest of the month we have BCP morning prayer, cafe church, and one blank Sunday.
  • SojournerSojourner Shipmate
    Nenya wrote: »
    Sojourner wrote: »
    Nenya, in your tradition is communion monthly or quarterly?
    Monthly. We are part of a Baptist church and the usual way is to have the bread and wine at the front with a loaf which has been partially pre-cut so that the officiating person can enact the "Jesus took bread and broke it" bit without the loaf putting up too much of a fight. Then, usually, plates of pre-cubed bread are passed along the rows and we all eat it as we receive it. Then trays of small individual cups of fruit juice are passed along the rows and we keep our cups so that we can all drink together. Occasionally we have queued up to collect our cubes of bread and cups from stations at the front but that tends to be a tad more chaotic.

    When we pass the bread and wine along the rows we are usually expected to say something like, "The body of Christ broken for you... the blood of Christ shed for you." In practice that rarely happens; more often it is a mumbled "Bless you" or nothing at all.

    I personally find it uncomfortable to think that I am actually eating and drinking Jesus' body and blood, and have gone through various thought processes about the meaning being about "I am as available to you as ordinary things like bread and wine and as close to you as the food and drink you ingest" but I still find it... difficult.

    It's a long time since I took communion in an Anglican church (my upbringing) and don't know whether I would find that more helpful.

    Thanks Nenya; useful info for one from a not-memorialist background.

  • Probably posted this in the wrong thread, it's a better fit here:

    I struggle with the infrequency of communion in the Church of Scotland. It's been 6 months since it was last celebrated in my local church, and even under the best of circumstances it's only 4-5 times a year. As a cradle Anglican it still feels alien to me, like subsisting on thin gruel when we're invited to the banquet table of the Lord.
  • O dear - that does indeed sound like an over-long fast!

    Are there any moves within the Kirk to allow lay-led celebration of Communion, where circumstances might dictate that this could be desirable?

    I'm thinking of the possibility that Your Place could have (say) a monthly Communion, with your Minister presiding whenever possible, and lay leaders at other times.
  • quetzalcoatlquetzalcoatl Shipmate
    What is the significance of infrequency of communion? Is it a practical issue, or a theological one?
  • I'm not CofS; but I understand the thinking may be, "We want to make it something really important and special, so we won't do it often".

    It could also, perhaps, be a "pendulum swing" thing, i.e. a Reformed contrast to "every service is Mass".
  • quetzalcoatlquetzalcoatl Shipmate
    Thank you.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    What is the significance of infrequency of communion? Is it a practical issue, or a theological one?
    Historically in Presbyterian churches, it was a theological one, in that there was a significant deal of preparation involved, including visits to each prospective communicant by an elder. That preparation also involved a number of services in the days leading up to the celebration of the Sacrament.

    In other words, it was A Very Big Deal, that required days if not weeks, not just an hour or two.

    There may be some Reformed/Presbyterian churches that still practice something close to this degree of preparation, but it had pretty much died out in the US by the late-19th/early-20th Century, at least among American Presbyterians.

    Calvin, of course, insisted that anything less than weekly Communion was deficient, but that was one thing he couldn’t get Geneva to go along with.


  • Lamb ChoppedLamb Chopped Shipmate
    For some of us (church bodies as well as individuals) it’s just the opposite, with communion being so important we don’t feel we can offer it less than weekly or what have you (circumstances can interfere). Like regular eating and drinking. So it depends on the people.
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited May 12
    In England, Thomas Cranmer envisaged Holy Communion as the principal service on Sundays and those major Holydays for which Collect and Readings were provided in the Book of Common Prayer, but, as with Calvin, this ideal was never realised - at least, not until the Parish Communion movement of a century ago...
  • What is the significance of infrequency of communion? Is it a practical issue, or a theological one?

    Now it's practical, as even on paper we only see our minister monthly, and then only if ferries permit. Prior to that it was custom, derived from what @Nick Tamen describes in terms of preparation with elders visiting members in their districts and conducting examinations. The Kirk has long since kept an open table and ceased these rigours meaning the long gaps are largely superfluous. Our previous minister tried to increase the frequency, but couldn't get past the more conservative elders insisting that it was inappropriate to "do" communion other than with a full set of elders serving people in the pews, which to them required a great deal of organisation (not to mention full presbyterian garb).
  • betjemaniacbetjemaniac Shipmate
    In England, Thomas Cranmer envisaged Holy Communion as the principal service on Sundays and those major Holydays for which Collect and Readings were provided in the Book of Common Prayer, but, as with Calvin, this ideal was never realised - at least, not until the Parish Communion movement of a century ago...

    I’m never quite sure if that’s actually true… out here in mud and mattins land if you go completely by the book it’s almost expected that there’s at least a week before communion following a service of morning prayer.- otherwise there wouldn’t be the bit about (next week I propose the Lord’s supper) making sure you’re ready for it.

    If anything, I’d suggest that Cranmer was looking for mass being said weekly but *reception* not so much?
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    Sorry in advance for the very long post.
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    What is the significance of infrequency of communion? Is it a practical issue, or a theological one?
    Historically in Presbyterian churches, it was a theological one, in that there was a significant deal of preparation involved, . . . .
    On reflection, I think I could perhaps more accurately have said it was historically a combination of theological and practical, in that theological convictions and assumptions about how the Lord’s Supper should be observed, including how it should be prepared for, made frequent Communion services impractical. That, in turn, gave rise to (rather than grew out of) an attitude of “this is too special to do often.” And by the time the extensive preparation disappeared, the infrequent Communion had become “this is how we’ve always done it,” making it a hard pattern to break. (The “full presbyterian garb” that @Arethosemyfeet mentions was never a thing on this side of the Pond, though, at least so far as I know.)

    FWIW, the requirement the Communion be celebrated “frequently” has been in place in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and its predecessor bodies for as long as I can tell, and for almost a century, “quarterly” has been the minimum. It’s always the case in Presbyterian churches that the Session/Kirk Session has the decision-making authority on this. The current requirement in the PC(USA) is worded this way:
    The Lord’s Supper shall be celebrated as a regular part of the Service for the Lord’s Day [the weekly Sunday service], preceded by the proclamation of the Word, in the gathering of the people of God. When local circumstances call for the Lord’s Supper to be celebrated less frequently, the session may approve other schedules for celebration, in no case less than quarterly. If the Lord’s Supper is celebrated less frequently than on each Lord’s Day, public notice is to be given at least one week in advance so that all may prepare to receive the Sacrament.

    One other thing seems worth mentioning in terms of frequency of Communion in Presbyterian churches, at least in the US. (I can’t comment on Scotland or elsewhere.) The move toward more frequent Communion here came in the mid-20th Century, when both the Directory for Worship (the equivalent for us of canon law on worship, with roots in the Westminster Assembly) and the Book of Common Worship were being revised. There was a strong desire to move toward more frequent Communion, so both the Directory and the new BCW, renamed The Worshipbook, presented weekly Communion as the norm, and the Service for the Lord’s Day without Communion as the aberration. In other words, the framework presented changed from Communion being something added on from time to time to Communion being something sometimes omitted.

    Those involved in these revisions realized that one of the biggest challenges was that the then-current practices among American Presbyterians around observance of the Lord’s Supper could be quite accurately described as “funereal.” We certainly had a reputation of Seriousness if not outright Dourness, and that was particularly apparent in how the Lord’s Supper was observed. If Communion was to become more frequent, it had also had to become less funeral and more celebratory.

    So, the invitation to the Table as presented in The Worshipbook was:
    Friends, this is the joyful feast of the people of God!
    People will come from east and west,
    and from north and south,
    and sit at table in the kingdom of God.

    This is the Lord’s table.
    Our Savior invites those who trust him
    to share the feast which he has prepared.

    According to Luke,
    when our risen Lord was at table with his disciples,
    he took the bread, and blessed and broke it,
    and gave it to them.
    Then their eyes were opened
    and they recognized him.
    Changes of this kind had a dramatic effect on the practice of Presbytery congregations here, and moved the norm from quarterly to monthly or more often pretty much everywhere.



  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    Actually, I think Cranmer was very much against the idea of Mass said where the people did not participate. The Minister was expected to give notice every Sunday, or on an intervening holy day for the Sunday next following.
  • BroJames wrote: »
    Actually, I think Cranmer was very much against the idea of Mass said where the people did not participate. The Minister was expected to give notice every Sunday, or on an intervening holy day for the Sunday next following.

    This.

    Hence the Exhortations...
  • betjemaniacbetjemaniac Shipmate
    BroJames wrote: »
    Actually, I think Cranmer was very much against the idea of Mass said where the people did not participate. The Minister was expected to give notice every Sunday, or on an intervening holy day for the Sunday next following.

    That’s sort of what I mean - given the paucity of actual provision I wonder if there’s a difference between what he wrote and what he expected to happen?

  • Ex_OrganistEx_Organist Shipmate
    BroJames wrote: »
    Actually, I think Cranmer was very much against the idea of Mass said where the people did not participate. The Minister was expected to give notice every Sunday, or on an intervening holy day for the Sunday next following.

    It was not that the people were not attending or receiving communion that seems to have been the main problem. In the 1549 Prayer Book the First Exhortation is appointed to be read when the people have not been exhorted in the sermon to receive worthily. There is an addtional note that in Cathedrals and other churches where there was daily celebration this exhortation only needed to be read once a month, and in Parish Churches it should be omitted on weekdays. The Second Exhoration was for use when people were not coming to communion.

    The 1662 Prayer Book seems to reflect a different situation, when the celebration of Holy Communion had become infrequent.
  • betjemaniacbetjemaniac Shipmate
    BroJames wrote: »
    Actually, I think Cranmer was very much against the idea of Mass said where the people did not participate. The Minister was expected to give notice every Sunday, or on an intervening holy day for the Sunday next following.

    It was not that the people were not attending or receiving communion that seems to have been the main problem. In the 1549 Prayer Book the First Exhortation is appointed to be read when the people have not been exhorted in the sermon to receive worthily. There is an addtional note that in Cathedrals and other churches where there was daily celebration this exhortation only needed to be read once a month, and in Parish Churches it should be omitted on weekdays. The Second Exhoration was for use when people were not coming to communion.

    The 1662 Prayer Book seems to reflect a different situation, when the celebration of Holy Communion had become infrequent.

    Agree
  • HarryCHHarryCH Shipmate
    I have heard of flavors of Christianity in which the Eucharist was taken every day, every week, once a month, once a year, and (I think) once a lifetime.
  • Ex_OrganistEx_Organist Shipmate
    A further point concerning Cranmer:

    In the 1552 Prayer Book there are three exhortations, none of which is concerned with announcing a future celebration of Holy Communion.

    The first is a plea to the congregation to remain for the rest of the service on that day, rather than sloping off some time after the sermon (the Sunday morning service consisting of Matins, Litany, and Holy Communion - with the sermon comig after the Creed at the Communion service). The other two are concerned with the "worthy" reception of Holy Communion. Only the third one seems to be mandated for regular use.
  • Jengie JonJengie Jon Shipmate
    I'm not CofS; but I understand the thinking may be, "We want to make it something really important and special, so we won't do it often".

    It could also, perhaps, be a "pendulum swing" thing, i.e. a Reformed contrast to "every service is Mass".

    No, No, No. Every liturgically aware Reformer from Calvin on has concluded that communion should be weekly. Every single one of them has been defeated by the reluctance of the people to receive that often. Part of this in the past was the emphasis on receiving worthily and yes "worthily" was very similar to "in a state of grace". Thus it required preparation which most comunicants felt was too much to do weekly.
  • Lamb ChoppedLamb Chopped Shipmate
    Which says to me that we’ve got hold of the wrong end of the stick in our teaching.
  • PuzzlerPuzzler Shipmate
    Exactly.
  • @Jengie Jon : thanks for contributing, I was hoping you'd be able to shed some light on this.
  • ForthviewForthview Shipmate
    I think that it is worth noting that until fairly recently (at the most 100 years ago !) it was not common for Roman Catholics to receive Communion at every Mass. The idea of not being worthy was all pervasive and Communion had to be prepared for carefully just as it was in post Reformation Presbyterian circles.

    It seems to me that the Elders' visits many years ago in Presbyterian circles to check on who might be considered 'worthy' to receive communion was more or less the same as the priest's duty in the Sacrament of Penance to probe the 'worthiness' of the penitent to receive Communion.

    Reception of Communion once a month in the RC rite was a fairly standard practice and sometimes even only once a year as the Church requested in its 'Easter duties'

    The liturgical movement across many 'Western (i.e. non Orthodox) Christian communities
    has brought a new understanding about the celebration of the eucharist and the reception of Communion. Over the centuries it has been a slow attempt to move back to what we think were the ideas of the early Christian communities.
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    edited May 13
    Jengie Jon wrote: »
    I'm not CofS; but I understand the thinking may be, "We want to make it something really important and special, so we won't do it often".

    It could also, perhaps, be a "pendulum swing" thing, i.e. a Reformed contrast to "every service is Mass".

    No, No, No. Every liturgically aware Reformer from Calvin on has concluded that communion should be weekly. Every single one of them has been defeated by the reluctance of the people to receive that often. Part of this in the past was the emphasis on receiving worthily and yes "worthily" was very similar to "in a state of grace". Thus it required preparation which most comunicants felt was too much to do weekly.

    That reluctance to receive regularly was a hang over from pre-Reformation times. Surely nobody is ever worthy to receive the Eucharist, and thats the point of it - it is transformative.
  • As a prayer we often use says: "Come, if you have much faith or if you have little; if you have been here often or if you have not been for a long time; if you have tried to follow and if you have failed". (I think it comes from Wild Goose).
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    As a prayer we often use says: "Come, if you have much faith or if you have little; if you have been here often or if you have not been for a long time; if you have tried to follow and if you have failed". (I think it comes from Wild Goose).
    Directly or indirectly, I think they got it from St John Chrysostom.

  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited May 13
    Enoch wrote: »
    As a prayer we often use says: "Come, if you have much faith or if you have little; if you have been here often or if you have not been for a long time; if you have tried to follow and if you have failed". (I think it comes from Wild Goose).
    Directly or indirectly, I think they got it from St John Chrysostom.

    IIRC, it's derived from his rightly famous Easter Homily.

    In pre-Reformation England, at least, it seems that the general custom was to receive the Sacrament one a year - at Easter - but attendance at Mass was, for many people, as often as possible.

    The object of the exercise was to see the Host elevated at the moment of Consecration (heralded by bells), and people would rush away from (say) a sermon being preached in one part of the church in order to see the Host being elevated during Mass in another part of the same building. This must have been vexing to the priest or friar who was preaching...

    I think the Book Of Common Prayer still states that communicant members of the C of E should (not must, be it noted) receive Communion at least three times a year, of which Easter is to be one. That sounds as if Cranmer was being pragmatic about the previous practice...

  • SojournerSojourner Shipmate
    Back in the pre-conciliar days ( pre 1955) it was “nil by mouth after midnight” eligibility to communicate on Sunday: the 3 hour fast from food came in some years before my first communion on 16 May 1959). Most weekly communicants attended the 7 or 8 am Sunday Masses and the 10 or 11 am Masses ( often sung) were attended by those in “irregular unions” or otherwise deemed unworthy who did not approach the altar rails. I recall attending a 10 am Mass as an 11 year old (1963) and being astonished at how few of the congregation communicated.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    Alan29 wrote: »
    Jengie Jon wrote: »
    I'm not CofS; but I understand the thinking may be, "We want to make it something really important and special, so we won't do it often".

    It could also, perhaps, be a "pendulum swing" thing, i.e. a Reformed contrast to "every service is Mass".

    No, No, No. Every liturgically aware Reformer from Calvin on has concluded that communion should be weekly. Every single one of them has been defeated by the reluctance of the people to receive that often. Part of this in the past was the emphasis on receiving worthily and yes "worthily" was very similar to "in a state of grace". Thus it required preparation which most comunicants felt was too much to do weekly.
    That reluctance to receive regularly was a hang over from pre-Reformation times.
    Yes. As @Bishops Finger says, the pre-Reformation custom was to receive Communion once a year. The intention of the Reformers was to receive at every celebration, and there was a great of resistance to moving from receiving once a year to receiving every week.

    And you are of course right—no one is ever worthy to receive.


  • MaryLouiseMaryLouise Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    @Alan29, @Nick Tamen hence the prayer we say immediately before receiving the Eucharist: “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”
  • I remember our good friend @Mousethief observing that the Easter homily of St John Chrysostom ought to be read by Morgan Freeman or Paul Robeson.

    Richard Burton would also have made a good job of it.

    I may raise some Orthodox eyebrows with this observation but I do think we could trim it down somewhat. The Orthodox Liturgy has grown over the centuries and when you hear 'Let us complete our prayers to the Lord' you know there's another half hour or so to go ...

    I'm in the choir now and that keeps me on my toes. I don't mean this the wrong way, but as it requires concentration the time flies.

    But yes, if anyone can stay entirely focused during an Orthodox Liturgy they must either be 'entirely sanctified' in old time Wesleyan Holiness terms 😉 or else have already died and gone to Heaven.

    It's interesting how various Christian traditions have recovered or sought to return to Early Church practice, often in very different ways. I don't see that as necessarily contradictory, whether it be the greater frequency with which New Frontiers and other 'new churches' are sharing communion, or the congregational emphasis found in Baptist circles or the liturgical reforms that have taken place within some of the older and more sacramental traditions.

    We all seem to be 'feeling our way' back to ancient and foundational practice whilst not necessarily trying to 'replicate' it - if such a thing were even possible.

    I say that even from within a Tradition which is 'closed communion.'
  • Jengie JonJengie Jon Shipmate
    Enoch wrote: »
    As a prayer we often use says: "Come, if you have much faith or if you have little; if you have been here often or if you have not been for a long time; if you have tried to follow and if you have failed". (I think it comes from Wild Goose).
    Directly or indirectly, I think they got it from St John Chrysostom.


    More directly from John Hunter. Yes that is me, please read the comments, as another shipmate points out the link with Prayer of Humble Access. Like most good liturgy it has deep routes
  • ForthviewForthview Shipmate
    Sojourner,I would not like to think that all who in preconciliar times attended later Masses were in 'irregular unions'. Surely at least some of them just wanted to lie longer in bed.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    MaryLouise wrote: »
    @Alan29, @Nick Tamen hence the prayer we say immediately before receiving the Eucharist: “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”
    Indeed, and that’s a prayer this Presbyterian always prays when receiving Communion.


  • Ex_OrganistEx_Organist Shipmate
    Forthview wrote: »
    Sojourner,I would not like to think that all who in preconciliar times attended later Masses were in 'irregular unions'. Surely at least some of them just wanted to lie longer in bed.

    Or they had received communion at an earlier "Low Mass" and came back for the music and the sermon,

    An archive recording of High Mass in Ushaw College in 1960 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WivtZGfrSk _ ) explains that only the celebrant could receive comunnion at the High Mass.
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