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Wednesday, March 09, 2011 

It’s Ain’t About The Recipe

Here’s my random thought of the day: If you think that the recipe used to prepare the bread for the Lord’s Supper is what makes it valid, you are really missing the point.

If you tell someone who can’t eat wheat that it's "better safe than sorry" that they consume something that makes them sick in order that we follow the right recipe, you do damage to this member and only cause them doubt what it is that they receive at the Sacrament of the Altar.

So, stop it. You are receiving the Body of Christ even if your "bread" recipe doesn’t match a gold star selected recipe from a nonexistent Palestinian cookbook from two thousand years ago!

The sacrament is not made valid because we follow a recipe from Betty Crocker but rather it is the very Word of God joined to the element of simple bread and simple wine for the cup. It is the Lord who is running the verbs and not your cup and three quarters of genetically modified wheat, (which Monsanto hadn’t yet got around to modifying when the Eucharist was first instituted) which makes this Sacrament a sacrament.

Just saying…

And for fun, here is what Lutherans teach in the Small Catechism concerning the Lord’s Supper:

The Sacrament of the Altar

As the head of the family should teach it in a simple way to his household.

What is the Sacrament of the Altar?

It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, under the bread and wine, for us Christians to eat and to drink, instituted by Christ Himself.

Where is this written?

The holy Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and St. Paul, write thus:

Our Lord Jesus Christ, the same night in which He was betrayed, took bread: and when He had given thanks, He brake it, and gave it to His disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is My body, which is given for you. This do in remembrance of Me.

After the same manner also He took the cup, when He had supped, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Take, drink ye all of it. This cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for you for the remission of sins. This do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of Me.

What is the benefit of such eating and drinking?

That is shown us in these words: Given, and shed for you, for the remission of sins; namely, that in the Sacrament forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation are given us through these words. For where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation.

How can bodily eating and drinking do such great things?

It is not the eating and drinking, indeed, that does them, but the words which stand here, namely: Given, and shed for you, for the remission of sins. Which words are, beside the bodily eating and drinking, as the chief thing in the Sacrament; and he that believes these words has what they say and express, namely, the forgiveness of sins.

Who, then, receives such Sacrament worthily?

Fasting and bodily preparation is, indeed, a fine outward training; but he is truly worthy and well prepared who has faith in these words: Given, and shed for you, for the remission of sins.

But he that does not believe these words, or doubts, is unworthy and unfit; for the words For you require altogether believing hearts.

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I grok your basic point, Frank; and I agree with it, too. That said, what is "simple" bread and wine? I'd think wheat & grape. But much doubt seems to seep/sneak in once deviation from those "simple" baselines begins (for whatever reason, no matter how well intentioned...).

If it's recipe of wheat bread, or variant of grape wine, then I think things are cool. But if/when it's veering into different *types* of bread, and/or wine, well, then we're stepping onto that proverbial slope...

ghp, the text clearly implies wheat, I'm not going to argue that. Nor am I saying that we can substitute hush puppies or Oreo cookies for the host.

My issue is when people tell folks who cant eat wheat at all that they are not eating the Lord's body in the Sacrament if a non-wheat wafer has been substituted to accommodate their very real health concerns.

I dont see this as a being comparable to those who switch to grape juice as some have tried to say.

The whole point of the recipe is not to say where Christ is not but to be confident of where Christ is... I have seen the number of folks who claim to be "allergic" to gluten to skyrocket over the years -- is there such a real increase of the incidence of this illness (celiac disease) or are more and more preferences being foisted on us as real illness?

Pastor Peters, I agree that our society seems to foist all manners of ailments on us with only the pharmaceutical companies seeming to gain any real benefit.

It does concern me when I hear folks tell friends that they do NOT have the blessings of the Eucharist because a recipe was not followed in order to replicate the precise unleavened bread that our Lord would have used. That's what is really at issue here.

If an exact recreation of the elements is necessary, isn't it fair to ask the question "are the wafers we eat at the Lord's table even remotely similar to what our Lord used when He instituted the Holy Supper?"

Is it wrong to accommodate an individual with a grain substitution when an illness like celiac disease has been legitimately diagnosed? Again, I'm not arguing that wheat should be the default ingredient...

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