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Monday, March 13, 2006 

Video Consecration Of The Sacraments

As I’ve said before, I’ll take requests for topics. I was just emailed a story that actually came to my attention last week. I first became aware of the video consecration of the Eucharist down in Texas on this post at What You Do, Do Quickly. “V” asked me to look this over and thought it might be blog worthy. The Commission on Theology and Church Relations thought it was a bad idea and said this " pastors speak the words of institution in the presence [CTCR emphasis] of the assembled congregation to give assurance that the church is faithfully following Christ's own example and instructions in instituting His supper, thereby also giving assurance that the body and blood of Christ are actually being given and received for the forgiveness of sins and strengthening of faith. It also said that it is by Christ's Word and its power -- not the mere "sound" or "recording" of a pastor's voice -- that His body and blood are present in the bread and wine when used in accordance with Christ's Word and will." Ok,I see where they are coming from. But here’s my take on it.

I think video consecration of the sacraments is a good thing, and here’s why.

Our beloved Lutheran Church Missouri Synod is and has been for some time, been facing a shortage of qualified and willing persons to be pastors. Until we go back to the medieval practice of promising our children to monasteries, so the little ragamuffins may be trained from a very young age to be priests, we need to think outside the box. I don’t have any children myself, so this allows me to look at that topic objectively. But let’s get back to the topic at hand.

The leaders that we have elected to lead our synod have placed before us a program, no a movement, Ablaze! that will lead us to find favor with the Lord. Ablaze! tells us to look outward to the unbeliever, the “unchurched”, and the faithfully undecided. How are we to do this when we burden our pastors with those who are already professed members of the elect? Our Lord Himself said in Mark 2:19 (NKJV) “it is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” The exegetical scholar Eugene H. Peterson who gave us The Message translates it better this way “who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? I’m here inviting the sin-sick not the spiritually-fit.”

My idea is to take the video consecration of the elements of the Eucharist and apply it to Baptism as well. Heck, I can even envision a future where the entire worship service is on DVD. The Romans are way ahead of us on this one. EWTN has for years been offering its viewers the opportunity to watch a real mass on TV. Why do we lag behind Rome? There is no excuse for this. And why can’t we ship, along with the DVD of a worship service a little packet of the two kinds ready to go? Just think about how this would add to the worship life of the church. Pop in the DVD, break open the seal on the grape juice and wafers, kick back and enjoy singing all the stanzas of “This Is The Day” without the distraction of children crying or cell phones going off.

All of this could be accomplished at Concordia Publishing House. Imagine, if you will, all the necessary ingredients for an enjoyable Sunday mourning packaged right up at our own publishing house. As the sacrament, songs for the day, as well as a fully printed bulletin are placed in the box, Pastor Paul McCain or one of his helpers could actually bless the sacraments as they roll off the assembly line but before they are sealed up to go out the door to be delivered by Brown or DHL. Sure the sacraments would be blessed by the pastor on the DVD, but some of the weaker brothers might object to the whole process. You all know how bad Lutherans are about change. Heck, it took ‘em nearly five hundred years just to start to use an English translation of the Bible. Also in the box, CPH could include a copy of the Excel file with every member of the congregation on it. This could be a way to insure that everyone who should be attending church is attending church. This way, the local Elders of the congregations could be made aware of anyone that has fallen away. All this is done with the current staff at CPH. No new employees!

How much more time would this free up to start new missions everywhere! A bunch I say! This would free up more time for our pastors to hop into their Astro minivans and go to where they are needed most. It’s just a reallocation of resources, that’s all. This week the pastor might be needed at the local soup kitchen handing out hotdogs to the homeless as he preaches the word purely to those who need it most. Next week, it might be the local country club to preach against wealth obtained on the backs of the previous week’s poor by the soulless dominion of corporate orthodoxy. The pastor will go wherever he is needed most. This is how things should have always been done. Did Paul stay in one place? No, he went on at least four mission trips. Shouldn’t we try to, at the very least, meet the standard Paul, a called servant of the Word, met? And all this was done before our pastors had those cute little rust colored K-cars. It’s so much easier now with modern transportation. There is no excuse for not reaching out to the unchurched since the inventions of planes, trains, and automobiles.

Again, my point is this; we need to stop worrying about those who are already members of our beloved synod. It is time to start reaching out to those who need the comfort of the Gospel the most. Many of these don’t even realize what it is they are missing. It is time to go to them, wherever they might be. If that means I lose my pastor for a time, so he may preach to the unchurched, so be it. I refuse to let some dusty old sixteenth century documents get it the way of sharing Jesus. Its time to stop worrying about the spiritually-fit and get serious about reaching the sin-sick. If video consecration of the sacraments helps us be more mission minded and stop worrying about church all the time, I’m for it.

Brilliant! Except for the preaching against “soulless dominion of corporate orthodoxy.” Remember, there is nothing wrong with using the best parts of soulless corporate orthodoxy for church growth.

Thank you much Whey Lay! A pat on the back is always appreciated. If you don't mind, why don't you go to the "You're Kidding" post and respond to that question.
Also, how about an update to your "church letter" post at your blog. I'm curious as to how that situation turned out.

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  • I'm Frank Gillespie
  • From The Haut South
  • Confessional Lutheran
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