Allowing the opposite

Dr. Joersz’s response to the question about the pastor’s self-communion is slightly misleading. He claims that “The Altar Book . . . allows a pastor’s self-communion.” That is not completely false, but it is terribly inaccurate.

The Altar Book allows the opposite thing. It allows a layman to distribute the body and blood of Christ to the pastor. The Altar Book allows the things that it leaves unstated, which belong to Christian freedom.

This is what the Altar Book expects, recommends, and prefers: “The pastor and those who assist him receive the body and the blood of Christ first, the presiding minister communing himself and his assistants. Then they distribute the body and blood to those who come to receive.”

No, the Altar Book does not require this, because we are Lutherans. We don’t require anything in this regard. But where able, we do prefer stronger practice to weaker.

Rev. David Petersen
For the Editors of Gottesdienst: The Journal of Lutheran Liturgy
Fort Wayne, Ind.


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