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March 16, 2017


Kim Fabricius

I really like the theology of abundance (though some might call it theological rationalisation, if not spin!) of the last paragraph. The "created order" to which the "overflow" is returned -- at least now the bin into which it is thrown (sorry - reverently disposed of, as one would reassure Anglicans at ecumenical celebrations!) -- may be labelled "organic recyclable waste" (unless, of course, Francis like, it is fed to the birds).

Question: What about the uneaten/-drunk elements still on the table before the service concludes? In my experience the universal congregationalist practice is to cover them, out of respect/reverence. However, it's a practice to which I have never adhered: at one level, because it strikes me as concealing what has been revealed; and at a deeper, symbolic level, because it strikes me as putting the risen body of Christ back in the tomb. Any thoughts?

Andy Goodliff

I've never covered uneaten elements & don't think I've ever seen that done in my Baptist experience. Not really thought about it, I like your suggestions why.

There is usually so much leftover because no-one like to take more than the smallest bit of bread possible - i would like to see people receive/take big chunks - hungry for the bread of life!

Kim Fabricius

I've never covered uneaten elements & don't think I've ever seen that done in my Baptist experience.

That's interesting. Of course when I say "congregationalist" I mean URC (though almost all of these URCs are ex-congregationalist). Also, as a working minister, I never had many chances of being at Communion services in other churches that I wasn't leading. So my "universal congregational practice" is no doubt overstated and misleading. But of course Methodists and Anglicans are indeed fastidious about covering the remaining elements, so whatever we "lower" churches do, I think we ought to have our reasons.

Andy Goodliff

The problem most of the time with Baptists is our practice is always in search of a theology, that's why I found the Finamore reflections helpful.

By not covering elements, are we are saying that the table remains open, the meal is not over, Christ remains present?

Kim Fabricius

The problem ... the Finamore reflections helpful.
Me too.

By not [re]covering the elements ... Christ remains present.
Yes, absolutely.

Btw, thanks for including my hymn earlier in your splendid series. And congrats on the new book.

Btw2: Do you know Graham Greene's wonderful Monsignor Quixote? The scene at the end in a monastery, where the little cleric, in a delirium after a car crash, presides at a paten-less, chalice-less Mass and offers his travelling companion and friend, the Marxist mayor, the invisible body and blood of Christ before collapsing and dying -- I suppose it would be impossible to include it in your series without commentary and editing, but it's a literary scene that remains forever etched in my personal list of eucharistic memories. After leaving the monastery (the novel concludes) ...

"The Mayor didn't speak again before they reached Orense; an idea quite strange to him had lodged in his brain. Why is it that the hate of man -- even of a man like Franco -- dies with his death, and yet love, the love which he had begun to feel for Father Quixote, seemed now to live and grow in spite of the final separation and the final silence -- for how long, he wondered with a kind of fear, was it possible for that love of his to continue? And to what end?"

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