Respecting the person and office

Your recent Q & A on “Who Communes the Pastor” gives with one hand yet takes back with the other.  The response rightly noted that Luther and those who came after him approved of the practice of the pastor’s “self-communion” in the Divine Service while at the same time condemned the “private mass.”

However, the article then goes on to commend distribution of the Sacrament to a pastor by a lay assistant as “the preferred option,” on the grounds that the pastor is a fellow Christian, a sinner, and a member of the congregation.  This is a confusion of person and office. The office of the ministry is entrusted with the administration of the Sacrament, including its distribution.  In prior generations, many pastors (including my own) never communed with their congregations but only at circuit and general pastors’ conferences.  A pastor’s communing by his own hand respects both the pastoral office and the person of the pastor.

Rev. William M. Cwirla
Hacienda Heights, Calif.


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