Strange Way

When is communion not communion?

While we were in Cuba we had a time of worship on Sunday night.  I blogged a little about it in my Cuba diary but I wanted to expand a though a little.

The worship focused on the strange nature of the revolution Jesus led.  No guns, no political parties, no fighting and no bid for power.

He used what was at hand to illustrate his upside down kingdom.  So, as part of our worship we had communion… with coke and crisps.

We didn’t have bread or wine.  And even if we did have it I wouldn’t have used it because that wouldn’t have been strange.  The liturgy was unusual but had all the bits and we set apart the coke and crisps from all common use.  It just seemed like the right thing to do.  And it caught the moment.  And it was worshipful and reverent and cast the Gospel in a different light for a group of people who were out of their comfort zone and experiencing a different culture.

We used the words:

As we share these crisps and juice together we symbolise our unity in Jesus the Christ, the one who calls us to follow him, who calls us from the safety of our traditions, from our comfort zones, to journey with him.

And so at this sacred moment we re-enact the events of the night before Jesus died, when, sitting with his friends at the table, he took the bread, gave thanks, blessed it and broke it.  So we take these crisps, the food that we have, the things we eat in celebration.

Jesus then shared it with them.  We now do the same, breaking the crisps as the symbol of his body broken by the sins of the world.

And after sharing the bread, Jesus took the cup of wine, blessed it and then shared it with all his friends.  So we take juice, the drink of daily living, the ordinary, the mundane and do the same, drinking it as the symbol of his lifeblood.  A symbol of something greater.  Something extra-ordinary.  Something subversive.  Something revolutionary.

Through the work of God the Divine Spirit, and as we offer our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, this coke and crisps are reminders of the sacred.  By sharing these crisp and juice with one another, we remember Jesus and what he was, and what he is, and what he always will be.

So come, all of you, the table is ready.

Come all of you who are burdened, and receive again these symbols, not the symbols of our tradition or our history, but symbols of our revolutionary eternity.

But I know that there will be some people who would be horrified.

So, was it communion? And if it was or was not, why?

I know what I think but I’m interested in hearing your views.

37 thoughts on “Strange Way”

  1. It’s a suitably Zwinglian communion meal. 😉
    Funny you should post about this. One of my visits when I was in Brussels was to a lady who was paralysed and in a care home/hospital. The minister visited regularly and shared communion with her. I visited her twice more on my own and I knew fine well what I’d be asked to do. You know the ‘rules’ for the CofS so I’ll not get into that whole debate. What I did offer was that we could share an agape meal. Beer and biscuits – but no ‘setting apart’ (even more Zwinglian). We shared a scripture reading. I offered some thoughts on it and came up with a rather off-the-cuff liturgy (carefully avoiding damning words and phrases) to share the beer and biscuits. We then spent some time in prayer. I have to say it was one of the most powerful moments in all my pastoral work. Incredibly moving, spiritually. And it was so the second time as well.
    And it wasn’t even communion 😉
    Maybe I should be asking the same questions?
    And, for the record, I did notify my supervisor of what I did so it wouldn’t come back and bite me later.
    But, to your own questions.
    Reformed churches tread this fine line between communion being a purely symbolic remembrance meal and the bread and the wine being ‘something other’. I think that what we often forget is that it is not what we are doing that is altogether important. Communion is a sacrament – it’s a work of God’s grace in us, not something we are doing for God. That’s why we need to remember that it’s more than a purely symbolic remembrance act. And it’s why we need to remember that the correct formula or the right sort of bread or wine are also irrelevant.
    Personally, I think it’s something we ought to celebrate much more often as a church community, whether as a gathered congregation or just a small group of people. Calvin had it pretty close I think when he speaks about us being ‘lifted up’ to feed spiritually on God. We all need that.

  2. Sounds like Communion to me. I think we are too obsessed with having to use the right materials for it to qualify as communion. Jesus used bread and wine because they were what was to hand, they were common things being set aside to symbolise something special. Crisps and coke are just as ordinairy as bread and wine were once so have all the same associations if you set them aside. Whether we can do more than just remember is the interesting question in my opinion… Symbolic acts are one thing but the idea that communion is the way we get salvation doesn’t really fit with my reading of the Bible. That came through Jesus’ death and resurrection and not the meal he shared just before.

  3. That is what communion is all about stopping and remembering what Jesus did for us. the breaking of his body and the blood offering for our sins. if Jesus had coke and crisps at the last supper he would have used them. I guess I have a hard time when “rules” dictate what is “right or wrong” God looks deeper to the heart. Without trying to be judgemental I have seen and heard traditional Communion services that are so irreverent and are not at all what Jesus intended. So that communion service in my opinion was just that and more!!!

  4. Sounds like communion to me. The ordinary, everyday food and drink set apart. I’m sure Jesus would use whatever was the basics of food and drink wherever and whenever He was. 2000 years ago in Palestine, it was wine and bread. What might it have been elsewhere at the same time???

  5. Thanks for your comments everyone.

    So, why do people get so hung up about it?

    I know lots of people who would be more upset that I led this coke and crisps communion and I’m not ordained than they would be about the formulaeic, sterile ‘communion’ taking place in churches all over the world.

    Or is there a sense that people are moving beyond that and starting to explore what communion is and what it isn’t?

  6. I hate to be argumentative (well, no I don’t), but I’m twitching just a little at the references to communion being all about remembering Jesus and his death on a cross. This was the heart of debates in the early part of the Reformation. Luther was still very Roman in holding to the reality of the body and blood. Zwingli was the one who held to a purely memorial meal. Calvin, heavily influenced by Bucer, sought to find a ‘middle way’ in a sense. The issue was that it was more than just a memorial meal. Why else would there be admonitions (from Paul) surrounding it? Why would Jesus make such unambiguous statements about his body and blood? Reformed theology, as I said, has always sought to hold this tension of simple memorial and ‘something more’. A lot hinges on what we understand as a sacrament. If it is simply a memorial, how is it any different to looking at an icon of a crucifix or a painting of the crucifixion or reading a poem about it? We understand it to be much more than that.
    But, as has been said, that doesn’t mean that we need to surround it with rules and rituals and prohibitions. When we do, it’s not much better than superstition.

  7. First off, thanks folks I have appreciated the stories and perspectives already – Good talk folks!

    Was it communion…yes. Surely irrespective of what was used or how exactly it was conducted surely is the passion, the intention, and the sharing with people not what makes it of worth. Rather than how often we are in siuations where we go about ‘fencing the table’, measuring the communions worth by what is said and what food is used, or worse the person leading it or the people recieving it.

    If it matters so much, why did Jesus have it at the end of his meal with his friends, rather than at some special set apart time, and why did he share it with everyone – even those he knew would abandon or betray him almost immediatley.

    Both Pre & Post-Reformation, whatever your view the importance was not the food, it was there to allow people to do something to be part of the worship/sacrement/encounter. We can’t claim bread and wine as the only option, as our food and culture has changes. In terms of the bread we can be fairly sure Jesus didn’t share a Tiger Loaf from Adsa or be sure of the quality or alcoholic content of the wine… so maybe we should concetrate on the people we are sharing it with and the God who allows us to do that in His grace and His freedom.

    I have recommended it before, but will again MASS CULTURE edited by Pete Ward is well worth a look. Its tagline is Eucharist & Mission in a Post-Modern World!

    Great thoughts on the signifigance of Communion more than ever for the world we live in but also the stories from all over that put that in perspective!

  8. Only JohnO has touched on the other elephant in the room: Stewart himself (metaphorically only 😉 ). It seems to me that Stewart is asking the question more about himself as the celebrant of communion than the use of the ordinary foodstuffs, which, by common acclaim, seems acceptable in the situation Stewart describes.
    What is it about the ordained status of the celebrant that many major denominations see as vital? Perhaps it’s to maintain a consistency and decorum of the sacrament, perhaps it’s to ensure proper preparation (for the people of God), perhaps it’s to emphasise the special nature of the celebration or perhaps it’s for other theological reasons way above my head.
    What I do see, however, is sliding ‘scale’ of “acceptability”. Somewhere from clerical collar, robes, silver chalices and strict liturgy to something like tea and biscuits led by a keen, green, teenager (no offence to teenagers intended — had to pick someone!) that’s all over in 20 seconds. As we consider opening up the celebration of communion by all and sundry, do we run the risk of diluting and losing the meaning, majesty and mystery of the sacrament? Is that a risk worth taking?
    As a postscript, I am *convinced* of Stewart’s heart, preparation, ability and intent in his leading of communion that I’m sure led to a genuine celebration and transformation experience.

  9. Thanks everyone. Great contributions and an interesting discussion! And thanks Neil… I think!

    The URC has a slightly different position to the Church of Scotland regarding who is allowed to lead communion which goes back to one of the traditions brought from the Church of Christ when they joined, lay presidency. In the Synod of Scotland there has been a recent discussion about just how open that lay presidency is. I was heartened to hear that training will be required. That training will focus on the why more than the how which I think echoes Neil’s point about preparation.

    One of the struggles for me is that the ‘tea and biscuits led by a keen, green…’ person of any age that Neil mentions, while done with the best of intentions and the purest of motives, doesn’t recognise their responsibility to the other people present. I think that responsibility is true for any worship, not just in communion, and so I guess that would be my only real concern about who leads.

    But is that me limiting the ability of God to work His grace through the simplest of offerings? Is the right heart, the right motive not all that is needed?

    As an aside, on Facebook Zam pointed out that the World Council of Churches says ‘bread and wine or their local equivalents’. She suggests Irn Bru and deep fried pizza!!!

  10. The whole issue of who is allowed to act as celebrant stems from the idea of ‘protecting the table’ – again from the controversies at the time of the Reformations. And yes, it’s very much about ensuring that the sacrament isn’t ‘corrupted’ through improper theology (like saying it’s only a memorial meal 😉 ). It’s also about lingering suspicion of superstitious rites and practices. In the RC tradition, the celebrant has his back to the congregation (and, in fact, the communion table used to be screened entirely). So who knew what magical jiggery-pokery was going on!? A ‘proper’ communion table is fully visible and doesn’t even have vanity panels so that there can be no under-table sleight-of-hand on the part of the celebrant.
    Of course that’s its historical roots and you’d find a rather more ‘relaxed’ understanding in most protestant denominations these days. It’s interesting to see the CofS beginning to consider allowing a ‘suitably-trained’ lay person to act as celebrant. Still a long way from anyone officiating, but I do have a certain sympathy with the need for a solid understanding of it as a sacrament. After all, this is the root of some of Paul’s issues with the church in Corinth.

  11. I add my name to the list of yes’s. The ordinary food that Jesus used, the ordinary crisps and juice – no real difference there. The moment was recognised for what it was – a meal shared in communion with God by a community.

    The who should do Q is a big one. This was the Q that was pursued during my selection conference – “why you Shuna? – why you at the table?” The answer I gave was that God calls people to different roles and that this is part of the role he has called me too. This I think is quite a sweeping statement – but I see everyone having a role they are called to – each has been given gifts to use.

    A few weeks ago I shared in my own blog my first experience of helping lead a communion service – something happened during that service that for me was quite moving – I had written the rather traditional liturgy and along with my supervisor led the service – during it I broke the bread & lifted the wine – but this was much more than simple movements – it was one of the most moving/spiritual moments in my training. This is what I have been called by God (amongst other things) to do.

  12. An interesting discussion on the theological aspects of communion, all of which seem to miss a very important point. The bread and wine were not simply ‘to hand’ but part of a Passover meal which itself was rich with symbolism. I seem to remember from a Liturgics worshop that the ‘cup’ used by Jesus was one of two in the Passover meal, and it was the cup of suffering. And let’s not forget too that Jesus gave new meaning to the expected ritual when he spoke of his body and his blood.
    As for Stewart’s initail question, was it communion… I have to say yes it was. Given the circumstances and the setting it was a very appropriate way of remembering Christ’s sacrifice.
    Whether or not it should always be done this way is another question.

  13. along the line of irn bru and deepfried pizza – I was thinking not too long ago that buckfast would make an interesting communion wine. Fits in with the standard use of other fortified wines and might add some other interesting layers of meaning (exlusion, inclusion, abuse, brewed my monks.. and maybe more..)

  14. Thought I’d chip in with twopenn’th. As an ordained heretic in the URC I struggle with the whole ‘ordained or not’ issue. Also, as someone who often opens his mouth before engaging his brain, I should point out that nothing I write here should be taken as representing my denomination or either of my congregations.

    I like the idea of communion using coke and crisps or irn-bru and deep-fried pizza. After all, part of the liturgy refers to ‘ordinary things of everyday life’ and I have to say that Ribena or whatever proprietary ‘jeely-watter’ is most often used in the majority of URCs is hardly an ordinary thing in my everyday life!

    Now, I read and recognise the theological and the liturgical aruments and dogma that have bogged down the church for years, but I feel no need to be tied by them. I heartily endorse JohnO’s words when he says “I think that what we often forget is that it is not what we are doing that is altogether important. Communion is a sacrament – it’s a work of God’s grace in us, not something we are doing for God. That’s why we need to remember that it’s more than a purely symbolic remembrance act. And it’s why we need to remember that the correct formula or the right sort of bread or wine are also irrelevant.”

    As for the ‘who’ – well I simply struggle with the ‘set-apartness’ of ordination. I would stand by the need for theological training and education for the one asked to preside but I see no need for that person to be ordained. Too often it’s the ordained who have been the preservers of the ultra-conservative rather than the promoters of the radically liberal, which is sad because the Church’s first radically Liberal leader was surely Jesus of Nazareth, and so we do the message a great disservice by clinging to the reliance upon the ordained. (The remnant of the Presbyterian in me has just gone running from the room, tearing what’s left of its hair from its head!!)

    Forgive me if this is just gibberish – I should be asleep!

  15. In many ways, to me, whatever it was, it was what you want it to be. No formula makes it ‘communion’ nor any doctrine makes it a sacrament. It is only what you and everyone else brings to a particular community moment that makes it these things. So using whatever you want as elements is fine because the community in that moment and place, which is quite unique from every other context, creates what it understands the action to be.

    But not every communion is the same. There are formal ones and informal, there are communions between prisoners and the hungry and the homeless and there are communions between people in pews four times a year with cloths and processions. And what people expect is what makes the moment a moment of communion because nothing magic happens. It is all symbolic and symbols are powerful.

    Very few people think Jesus was serving a passover meal because it was Thursday night and not Friday so it was different, it’s meaning found on the cusp of what was about to happen. So, for me, communion isn’t just a memorial but a connection with all those who trust the love of God and are willing to go into the dark night: it’s an act of defiance against the world, trusting the ways of God; it’s the moment God chooses to trust love all the way; it’s about the future as much as it is about the past. And any moment like that, be it with bread and wine or tea and cake, or a last meal shared together, is a sacrament.

    Having said all that from a protestant background, if there is bread and wine available then to me these always should be chosen over anything else because it connects us better. It is what Jesus did. It was in these particular everyday things (that we have available readily everyday) that held for him the symbolis of heaven breaking through. Why do anything else that makes it into a tea party if real bread and wine are there. If they aren’t available then that is different. It seems to me, to do that just out of defiance is missing the whole point of communion.

  16. Bread looks more like flesh – wine more like blood. But are we not missing a point here? We are not simply commemorating Jesus death – HE calls us to this table – not merely the Christ in agony, but the risen and victorious figure who celebrated at Emmaus , and at the lake side and …

    If we are commemorating anything at all, it is this victory, this New Covenant in which we live.

    But for me, because it is Jesus who celebrates, the meal is more than a memorial – because he breaks the bread, and blesses the wine through our agency – then the bread does become his body and the wine his blood. And the meal is a whole different ball game from any other.

  17. But for me, because it is Jesus who celebrates, the meal is more than a memorial – because he breaks the bread, and blesses the wine through our agency – then the bread does become his body and the wine his blood.

    Slight hiss of indrawn breath 😉 . Rosemary, would you care to elaborate on this comment before I jump to unwarranted conclusions?

  18. Sorry, should have said that your point about it not just being a commemoration of Christ’s death but also of his resurrection and our participation in that victory is spot on.

  19. It’s ok John… I’m guessing Rosemary’s an Episcopalian!

    Roddy, why the attachment to bread and wine? In these days of availability of world food wouldn’t that mean we should use flat bread? Mother’s Pride is about as different to that as Pringles 😉

    Seriously though, I agree I think (even though that’s not what I said in the post). Maybe we were just lucky there was no bread and wine but coke and crisps seemed more appropriate somehow. That’s where the question came from. I’m trying to work out why I felt like that and whether I would have chosen bread and wine if we had some.

    I’m still not sure I would have used bread and wine in that situation. Not because I don’t value the bread and wine, but because the situation seemed to demand something odd, surprising and at the same time common. Coke and crisps seemed right.

  20. Not meaning to sound flippant… (oh, okay, it is late, maybe I am…)

    However, reading the debate above does rather remind me of the debate over gourds and sandals and is, the more I read, of precious little consequence to me. Do you think Jesus cares what was used?

    What I am more interested in is what did the commemoration of the Lord’s Supper (whether with bread, pitta, Crunchy Sticks, Doritos, or wine, Coke, Buckie, etc) do for the youngsters? What impact did it have on them? And even more, what impact did it have for them in the week that followed? Did they take something from the sacrament and live it in their lives? Did it make a difference?

    Who did they associate themselves with around that table with Jesus? With Peter, with John, with Matthew? With Judas, if they really searched their hearts? How did they interact with the remembrance so that the act becomes a catalyst to something more in their lives? Was it a moment of decision? Was it an opportunity to truly commune with the divine?

    Enough of the bread and wine already, let’s really talk communion!

  21. Who knows what Jesus thought. Perhaps it wouldn’t bother Jesus what was used. Probably not. But it bothers us because they are symbols and we invest stories and conspiracy and defiance, hope, trust. And it is good that it bothers us. If the moment was right to use coke and crisps then coke and crisps were right. It’s the community that gathers that creates the meaning of the symbol. As I said, they contain no magic to me just an ability to tell the story and proclaim the justice and grace of love.

    There’s no right or wrong here. There is only what is right for the community themselves at that particular time. The same community would probably find bread and wine more appropriate at another time. The elements aren’t the sacrament. What it breaks open in the community is the sacrament.

    But, in order to connect with the story and action and the spirit of Jesus, bread and wine always point more directly to the Last Supper. The type of bread is irrelevant. It’s very much about God investing with heaven the straighforward, everyday, food of the common people, the DNA that brings justice and goosebumps.

    What I would be sorry to see is people picking up the most unusual products to serve communion for the sake of it, in defiance of the church story and some seriously significant traditions, traditions that are so powerful they break down walls of prejudice and create ecumenism. Old men have tried to stop that at ever turn. Bread and wine just laugh in their face. This is what the saints of every age every tradition and every demomination have used. We’re not doing this on our own but with every believer who has ever broken bread. And that tends to swing it for me.

  22. Stewart,
    I guessed so (or RC or Lutheran or…). The smiley was intended to soften my abject horror at the thought 😉

    I did have some questions about some of what you said in your earlier post but your last one has cleared them up. Good post. It ties in with David’s comments about the layers of symbolism attached to this celebration and that the ‘tradition’ draws from even older events, back to the Passover celebration of ancient history – a further reminder of the continuity of God’s covenant, renewed and revitalised in the eucharist.

  23. Roddy makes the good point that the meal was celebrated on the Thursday and therefore ‘very few people think Jesus was serving a Passover meal’. The day doesn’t really matter. If it wasn’t an actual Passover meal, and I think there is evidence to support that it was, then it is very clear that Jesus was intentionally drawing on the significance of the Passoevr and all that it meant.
    John rightly picked up on what I was getting at.
    What I was surprised about, and hence the first post, was that the Passover wasn’t near anyone’s thinking.

  24. Thanks so much for all your comments!

    Pete, you’d have to ask the young people how they felt, but I know that from conversation afterwards they said that our worship was a time where they felt close to each other and to God. That sounds like communion to me. Your plea to really talk communion is where I kind of hoped this discussion would go and I think I’m guilty for steering it towards the ‘element’ conversation. So, what was on your mind when you made your plea?

    David & Roddy, interestingly (for me anyway), we talked about Passover during our time of worship. We traced the connection of the symbolism of bread and wine and I was keen to do that because I’m not sure it’s something many of our group have had the chance to think those connections though. It was also important for me to make sure they understood the connection between what we were doing with coke and crisps and those revolutionary moments where the Hebrew slaves began their exodus and when Jesus freed us from sin.

    We also talked about the revolutionary nature of Mark’s Gospel. How ‘gospel’ and ‘apostle’ were words the Romans Mark wrote his Gospel for would be used to and that the gospel of Jesus Christ would be shocking and revolutionary and how Mark’s account of the Crucifixion mocks the coronation of Caesar. I think that we miss so much by not talking about the social and political context of 2,000 years ago so I’m not just about throwing that out and doing something new and disconnected.

    So, I’m interested in all your thoughts on how we can renew and revitalise communion in our churches and communities. How can we help to make it a place where the kind of things Pete talks about, that people are changed, inspired, connected and at the same time draw on the rich heritage of the eucharist?

  25. Perhaps the way to revitalise understanding is to do exactly what you’ve done, to change the elements to something ‘revolutionary’ occasionally. Because of the jarring of expectations people might think more deeply about the meaning of what they do rather than going for the comfort factor of the familiar. I know that when we gather in a big circle round the communion table rather than remain seated in ‘our pew’ and then dare to move to one another and share the peace, folks have been moved to tears because of the personal nature of the sacrament, something that sometimes gets lost in the theological semantics. Christ died for me….

  26. Isn’t the thing about something being a ‘symbol’ is that it is more than just a ‘sign’? I can’t remember where I heard this distinction but I have a feeling that a sign merely points the way to something but is not the thing itself, whereas a symbol includes something of the ‘thing’ within itself? (Excuse the ‘technical’ term: ‘thing’!)

    So in this context that would put us beyond merely a memorial, if not all the way to ‘real presence’ (although as someone once said, “define unreal presense”…!

    On the ordination/church law front (in a CofS context), I had a supervisor who remembered *his* supervisor allowing him to do everything in a service except the words ‘As the Lord Jesus took… I take… to be set apart’ just before the Communion Prayer – so that’s what he did and allowed me to do the rest – including epiclesis, fraction etc!

  27. then surely that’s what matters most – what the people involved felt. I realise that the church as an institution has specific rules about communion, but if ‘the church is the people’, then it’s people’s personal engagement that is important, not following protocol.

  28. That’s why I asked the question. People have different views about what constitutes communion. I, like you, think it is much more about the intention and the experience rather than the formula of words used or the status or recognition of who presides but I’m interested in what other people think and why.

  29. I know I’m going to regret this, but Stewart said:

    I, like you, think it is much more about the intention and the experience

    So, is communion only communion when we feel that it is? That’s a bit pomo is it not? 😉
    But seriously, I do think that is too one-sided and definitely coming from the wrong direction. As I’ve said previously, communion is a work of God’s grace, so, ultimately, it isn’t what we feel about it that matters. (I know that’s rather a dogmatic statement, but what do you expect from a systematic theologian.) To suggest that it is what we do that turns the activity into communion places the power with us, not God. If a person is at their lowest and feels no ‘lift’ when they have taken communion, does that mean that it wasn’t communion – for them? Does there always need to be an associated ‘experience’?
    Just some thoughts.

  30. I know your picking a fight but I’ll rise to it because it’s an interesting one… 😉

    JohnO said… “To suggest that it is what we do that turns the activity into communion places the power with us, not God.” So why can’t I celebrate communion in the Church of Scotland? If communion is just about God it shouldn’t matter what we say or do. But I don’t think your believe that and I know that I don’t.

    I totally agree that communion is a work of God’s grace. But does that mean that there is no role for the celebrant to produce a liturgy that communicates that grace? Or helps people to connect with God? Or with each other?

    Communion is not just about God. It’s about us and God and it’s also about us and each other and how God works in and through our communities. Isn’t that why we don’t ever have communion on our own?

    I think you’ve maybe misunderstood what I mean by ‘experience’ a little. There is always an experience. That experience might be to feel nothing, but that’s an experience and that is a real and valid respose to communion because it is a real and valid response to God. It might be to be overwhelmed by God an be left weeping. It might be to feel your stomach gurgle as a morsel of bread and a tiny amount of wine hit your pre-lunch tummy. It might be that the person who is at their lowest feels no comfort or abandoned or betrayed or angry or alone and those are all valid and real responses to God and they are all responses that Jesus had to God.

    Whatever your experience, communion is never without experience because it is both physical and spiritual and it involves more than one party. Our experience might not be one of grace. That doesn’t make it not communion.

  31. ‘is there no role for the celebrant to produce a liturgy that communicates that grace?’
    Interesting question and one that I would give a heavily qualified yes. It’s the kind of question that opens the gates to an almost anything goes as long as it ‘communicates grace’. What does that mean exactly ?
    As a conservative (with a very small c) I worry a little about opening the flood gates to alternatives to what we find in Scripture. I’m not denying for a second that these non-prayer book liturgies (for the sake of labelling) have meaning at the time, often very deep meaning, but it worries me that they might become too regular. Am I worrying over nothing ?

  32. Could the reverse be just as true David? That the use of a tried and tested formula makes communion routine and dull?

    I have a hunch that new liturgies are less likely to be used frequently so I’m not sure that your worry about them becoming overused is a reality, but isn’t that how our established liturgy evolved?

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