A Lutheran church on Eucharistic Adoration and the Corpus Christi feast

At my former Lutheran church in Atlanta, we celebrated the Corpus Christi feast just like Catholics, as well as had Eucharistic Adoration services every Friday.

The sacrament was reserved and removed from the tabernacle by the pastor in the same manner as a Catholic priest would. It was then placed in a traditional monstrance and adored.

My question is: Is it common for Lutherans to do this? I know we Lutherans don't teach a literal transformation in the Eucharist, so what's the point in doing either?

Adoration isn’t unheard of, but not all that common. And, YES LUTHERANS DO BELIEVE IN A LITERAL TRANSFORMATION

We don’t not teach it either. We acknowledge there is a change - that it is not mere bread and wine. What we don’t do is claim to know the metaphysics of that change.
It is the true and substantial body and blood of Christ. We, as Lutherans, practice Eucharistic Adoration during the sacramental act.

As to your other question, no, it is not common, but is also not unheard of. My understanding is there were two camps regarding Eucharistic Adoration (outside the sacramental act) just following the Reformation. Luther was not opposed to Eucharistic Adoration. Philip Melancthon was opposed to it. For most of Lutheranism, the Melancthon approach prevailed.
As for The Corpus Christi feast, both of the reformers opposed the procession.

This is my understanding, and other might have better information, as I’m no expert.

My personal view is in favor of the reservation of the host in an aumbry or tabernacle, as I believe it would prevent what I consider irreverent practices following the sacramental act. I have no problem with Eucharistic Adoration, with the understanding that the primary intent of the Eucharist was instituted by Christ - that we eat and drink.

Jon

This is amazing to me as I have never heard such a practice being held in a Protestant community before, so on the one hand I am thrilled and on the other, I question the validity of the true presence without the Lutheran Church having apostolic succession. So, what is the process by which Lutherans believe the host on the altar is actually the Real Presence of our Lord and Savior ?

As I said to Lutherteach, I expect you to question the validity of our Eucharist and orders because your Church does. I don’t question yours because my Church recognizes yours.

By the power of the Holy Spirit, and the speaking - by a called and ordained pastor - of Christ’s own words which instituted His supper, “take eat, this is my body…” etc.

Jon

That does seem to have been the original intent, doesn’t it? :smiley:

From the Lutheran Confessions

[bookofconcord.org/fc-ep.php#VII. The Lord’s Supper](“http://www.bookofconcord.org/fc-ep.php#VII. The Lord’s Supper”)

  1. Now, as to the consecration, we believe, teach, and confess that no work of man or recitation of the minister [of the church] produces this presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Holy Supper, but that this is to be ascribed only and alone to the almighty power of our Lord Jesus Christ.

9] 4. But at the same time we also believe, teach, and confess unanimously that in the use of the Holy Supper the words of the institution of Christ should in no way be omitted, but should be publicly recited, as it is written 1 Cor. 10:16: The cup of blessing which we bless, etc. This blessing occurs through the recitation of the words of Christ.

Jon

True, and yet there seems no reason to prohibit or condemn piety in this matter. When I receive the body and blood, I kneel in adoration of the Christ, and in thanksgiving for what He did and the gift I am receiving. When a Catholic (or others) visit their parish to pray in the presence of His body and blood, this seems appropriate to me.

Jon

[quote="JonNC, post:8, topic:194399"]
True, and yet there seems no reason to prohibit or condemn piety in this matter. When I receive the body and blood, I kneel in adoration of the Christ, and in thanksgiving for what He did and the gift I am receiving. When a Catholic (or others) visit their parish to pray in the presence of His body and blood, this seems appropriate to me.

Jon

[/quote]

Totally agree! I kneel at Communion for the very same reason, and we bow or genuflect during worship for the same reason too.

To answer one point Julian raised, the American Lutheran church did break with apostolic succession, but the European Lutheran church had it intact. This was a major issue in my branch of Lutheranism, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, when it came into communion with the Episcopal church. I don’t know about the Episcopal side, but there were Lutheran congregations that left the ELCA because of it.

On a more fundamental level, though, is the problem of saying that the action or background of the priest or presiding minister has precedence over the action of God. That is the case when you claim that Eucharist cannot be valid because of the priest’s bona fides. In Lutheran practice, we see Eucharist as what God does to us, not as what we do.

You are correct in stating that a man’s actions, priest or otherwise, cannot take precedence over GOD’s. In the Catholic Church, the Eucharist is converted into the true presence, not because “a man” is requesting it, but because the HOLY SPIRIT, performs the transubstantiation, through the priest ,who is a vehicle for GOD’s grace by the sacrament of Holy Orders, which was a sacrament instituted by Jesus at the Last Supper, hence my inquiry into apostolic succession.

But I am open to learning what it is you meant by the statement “…we see Eucharist by what God does to us…”.

Some inquiries if I may:

  1. Do Lutherans believe in the True Presence in the Eucharist?
    From your response I assume that the European branch does, but the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America does not.

  2. If you do not believe in the True Presence, then why have Eucharistic Worship?

  3. What is it exactly that the Lutherans believe GOD does to them, in the Eucharist?

Thanks

We believe, in accordance with the Lutheran Confessions, that we receive Christ’s body and blood in the Eucharist. This is true of all Lutherans. From Luther’s Smalcald Articles –

Of the Sacrament of the Altar we hold that bread and wine in the Supper are the true body and blood of Christ…

  1. If you do not believe in the True Presence, then why have Eucharistic Worship?

Not applicable.

  1. What is it exactly that the Lutherans believe GOD does to them, in the Eucharist?

From Luther’s Small Catechism –

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.

Hope this helps.

Hi Julian,
Not answering for oldtimer, but I thought I’d provide some ideas, using the Lutheran Confessions.

=Julian0404;6531525]
Some inquiries if I may:

  1. Do Lutherans believe in the True Presence in the Eucharist?
    From your response I assume that the European branch does, but the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America does not.

All Lutherans believe in the true and substantial presence of the body and blood of our savior in the Eucharist. Not to do so is to not be Lutheran. The Apology of the Augsburg Confession says:

we confess that we believe, that in the Lord’s Supper the body and blood of Christ are truly and substantially present, and are truly tendered, with those things which are seen, bread and wine, to those who receive the Sacrament. This belief we constantly defend, as the subject has been carefully examined and considered. For since Paul says, 1 Cor. 10:16, that the bread is the communion of the Lord’s body, etc., it would follow, if the Lord’s body were not truly present, that the bread is not a communion of the body, but only of the spirit of Christ. 55] And we have ascertained that not only the Roman Church affirms the bodily presence of Christ, but the Greek Church also both now believes, and formerly believed, the same. For the canon of the Mass among them testifies to this, in which the priest clearly prays that the bread may be changed and become the very body of Christ. And Vulgarius, who seems to us to be not a silly writer, says distinctly that bread is not a mere figure, but 56] is truly changed into flesh.

  1. If you do not believe in the True Presence, then why have Eucharistic Worship?

For you and me, and others who discern His presence in the Eucharist, it wouldn’t make sense.

  1. What is it exactly that the Lutherans believe GOD does to them, in the Eucharist?

Luther’s Small Catechism answers this question.

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.

Hope that helps,
Jon

You beat me to the submit button by a second, Pastor. :stuck_out_tongue:

Jon

This is the first I have ever heard of this practice in Lutheran circles. Although I understand it is uncommon from one of the above posts.

Lutherans believe that the bread is still present right? Or does that belief vary among Lutherans as well?

[quote="Oldtimer_7, post:10, topic:194399"]
That is the case when you claim that Eucharist cannot be valid because of the priest's bona fides. In Lutheran practice, we see Eucharist as what God does to us, not as what we do.

[/quote]

Wouldn't this mean that a lay person could consecrate the Eucharist?

My understanding of Lutheran belief is that how the bread and wine is the body and blood is a mystery. Therefore, we generally avoid the metphysical in our descriptions. The Apology of the Augsburg Confession references Vulgarious, "And Vulgarius, who seems to us to be not a silly writer, says distinctly that bread is not a mere figure, but is truly changed into flesh."
Luther coined the phrase “sacramental union”, saying that the body and blood are received “in, with, and under” the bread and wine. But even that isn’t intended to state doctrinally that the bread and wine continue in a way that consubstantiationists might define it.
I think you are right that Lutherans will express this somewhere on a continuum from almost, but not exactly consubstantiation to something similar to Orthodox “metabole” (which is where I am). In any event, we believe that once consecrated, it is the true and substantial body and blood of Christ - the disposition of the substance of bread and wine is irrelevent.

Jon

Not the way I understand the nature of the special priesthood. The Augsburg Confession says:
*“Of Ecclesiastical Order they teach that no one should publicly teach in the Church or administer the Sacraments unless he be regularly called.” *

I would not participate in a Eucharistic service where someone not ordained is officiating.

Jon

Jon, earlier you said this:
“the HOLY SPIRIT, performs the transubstantiation, **through the priest **,who is a vehicle for GOD’s grace by the sacrament of Holy Orders, which was a sacrament instituted by Jesus at the Last Supper, hence my inquiry into apostolic succession”

I don’t see how Lutheran priests have valid orders. Lutherans do not have bishops with apostolic succession. If this is true, then your Eucharist is not valid. No change take place at the consecration because your priest is simply a lay person. Where am I wrong?

=Third Day;6533476]Jon, earlier you said this:
"the HOLY SPIRIT, performs the transubstantiation, through the priest **,who is a vehicle for GOD's grace **by the sacrament of Holy Orders, which was a sacrament instituted by Jesus at the Last Supper, hence my inquiry into apostolic succession"

Well, I don't think I said the "Transubstantiation", but ok. On to your inquiry.

I don't see how Lutheran priests have valid orders. Lutherans do not have bishops with apostolic succession. If this is true, then your Eucharist is not valid. No change take place at the consecration because your priest is simply a lay person. Where am I wrong?

You're not wrong, from a Catholic perspective. It is the teaching of the Catholic Church and Orthodoxy, that orders must be within Apostolic Succession. It is, obviously, a disagreement between us, but one that is probably amongst the easiest (in my opinion) as we move closer to reconciliation.

That said, the Lutheran reformers expressed a strong desire to maintain AS, but due to the circumstances of that era, Lutherans instead used presbyter ordination, which we defend by divine law. From the LCMS website:

Although the Luth. symbols affirm the desire to retain the apostolic succession and hist. episcopate (Ap XIV 1, 5) only a few canonically consecrated bps. accepted the Reformation and, except in Swed., political and other considerations prevented them from transmitting the apostolic succession to the Luth. community. Lacking bps. to ordain their candidates for the sacred ministry, the Luths. appealed to the patristically attested facts that originally bps. and priests constituted only one order; that the right to ordain was inherent in the priesthood (a principle on which a number of popes of the 15th c., among them Boniface IX, Martin V, and Innocent VIII, acted in authorizing Cistercian abbots who were only priests to ordain); that thence “an ordination administered by a pastor in his own church is valid by divine law” (Tractatus 65); and that when the canonical bps. refuse to impart ordination “the churches are compelled by divine law to ordain pastors and ministers, using their own pastors for this purpose (adhibitis suis pastoribus)” (ibid., 72). The succession of the ministry in the Luth. Ch. may therefore be presumed to be a valid presbyterial one.

The issue is not lost on current dialogue between Lutherans and Catholics, and I think you'll find current statements interesting:
usccb.org/seia/koinonia.shtml

including this one from Cr. Ratzinger:

I count among the most important results of the ecumenical dialogues the insight that the issue of the eucharist cannot be narrowed to the problem of 'validity.' Even a theology oriented to the concept of succession, such as that which holds in the Catholic and in the Orthodox church, need not in any way deny the salvation-granting presence of the Lord [Heilschaffende Gegenwart des Herrn] in a Lutheran [evangelische] Lord's Supper

Jon

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