Saturday, February 26, 2011

"Worship & Sacraments: Q & A" with Brent Peterson

The last part of the previous video - this is where it gets fun!

Feel free to discuss in the comments.


Anonymous said...

I’m merely continuing my 'push backs' here, but I did want to reemphasize that I enjoyed Peterson’s presentation and thought it was very refreshing in many ways.

First, I don’t think Brent and I disagree with what ordination confers, but we would probably disagree with what authentic-legitimate ordination is . . . a question no one (including myself) raised. If one must be ‘ordained’ to celebrate the sacraments (which Brent and I are in agreement on), then this ultimately raises the question of who is able to perform an authentic-legitimate ordination. Apostolic Succession and Eucharistic validity are intricately linked in my mind.

Second, I also found Brent’s exclamation that without an epiclesis the Eucharist is invalidated problematic, and this for two reasons. First, the Roman Mass didn’t have an explicit epiclesis until 1970. In fact, those Catholics who choose to celebrate the Tridentine Mass today are only able to do so provided they insert a proper epiclesis into it. I’m well aware that many argue for an implicit epiclesis being in one of two places (or both) in the Latin Mass, but I still think if Brent’s argument holds, he’s saying that the Roman Catholic Church hasn’t offered up a valid Mass/Eucharist until 1970. Second, there has always been the provision (dating back at least to Augustine) that if the Priest stumbles through part/s of the Mass and/or accidently omits a part/s (including the epiclesis), the Eucharist is still valid. I’m not saying the epiclesis is unimportant or that we shouldn’t have one; I’m only saying that Brent's statement seems a little rigid.

Third, and this is relatively minor, but I think Nazarenes should still use unleavened bread, and I was surprised when someone said that this was deleted from the Manual. The West has always used unleavened bread, and this has been no small disagreement between the East (who only use leavened bread) and the West (who only use unleavened bread). The reasoning for unleavened bread goes a little bit deeper and further than Brent’s offhanded comment about the Eucharist not being synonymous with the Passover.

Brian Postlewait said...

Brannon, Thanks for posting Brent's workshop online.

Couple quick comments:

I really appreciate Brent's concern that Eucharist is now hip. That we ought to be cautious in moving towards weekly (more frequent) observance, that our minds be equally enriched and formed along with our taste buds and stomachs. Of course there is a tension here as well, that is that we may never develop a more robust Eucharistic theology without more (sometimes haphazard) Eucharistic practice.

One practice that congregations can engage in to maintain humility and reverence around the supper is by disposing of the elements with respect. (ie, returning the contents of the cup and the bread to the earth.) We should not be pouring juice down the drain. I'm not a legalist on this point, but I think it's a simple practice that helps us think about the signfigance of presence.

Also, regarding penitence during the supper. There is are seasons of lament and examination which can be appropriately engaged through the liturgy of worship. However, Brent is right to point out that an overly penitential mood leans much more into our legalistic heritage than historic Eucharistic practice. That being said, I think it's right, appropriate, and therapudic for every Sunday worship liturgy to include space for confession and absolution. And this should happen in our tradition before the sermon so that Eucharist is about the gospel, rather than the moralistic preaching of the pastor.

Perhaps more than anything my hope is that weekly eucharistic practice will do more to insure that preaching is about gospel of Jesus.

I'll stop there. Peace

J.B. Chapman said...

In reply to Brian, the issue of disposal has already been hashed around here, and you would be happy to note, that most agree with you about the proper disposal to the earth (though many, including myself) will ingest the remnants.

Secondly, having you and Brent, and a few others on here reminds me of our class on the Eastern Fathers. That has been one of the most influential classes I have ever had, and it shapes not only my Trinitarian, Christocentric, sacramental theology, but has shaped and deepened my love for Wesley.

I believe that Todd might have been the one who brought forth the resolution to his district about the changes to using leavened bread. I am conflicted on this issue. We only use unleavened bread (those round wafers) based upon my held belief that the last supper was a passover feast (synoptic Gospel account, or an early passover feast based upon John). Ben Witterington in his book "Making a Meal of It" claims that it doesn't matter either way, since the Lord's Supper is the modified Agape feast and that requirement is moot.

I just feel uneasy about a big old round loaf of bread on the alter.

FYI - I do have a wonderful recipe for Communion Bread that KC 1st used to use (from Dr. Hahn whose wife baked all the bread for 1st Church).

Eric + said...

JB. Post it. Or email it to me and I'll post it.

I think part of the move to allow leavened bread was to show hospitality to our churches in the East for whom using leavened bread would be the cultural norm. If you are so formed by the east, then leavened bread really shouldn't be a big problem for you ;)

Anonymous said...

I haven't had the time to really post my thoughts and comments on these wonderful discussion/videos, but one thing that keeps coming to mind is this: I currently serve a church in WV in the middle of 'Methodist Camp'. The WV Conference is in my back yard. There are 32 UMC Churches just in the CITY, and its a small town. With that said, they do not allow non-ordained clergy to serve communion (unless commissioned, similar to us) and they have devised a very good plan to ensure that those churches that only have lay speakers are cared for MONTHLY. What is the big deal if we need to invite an ordained elder to come and serve communion in a church with a non ordained clergy? My bet is that the discomfort may come from the fact that as Nazarene clergy, we don't usually work together with neighboring churches. Just an initial thought. Guess you can take I do think that you should be ordained to consecrate the elements.