Pastor Rydecki posted an excellent discussion of the Cup of Christ on the Intrepid Lutherans blog entitled: “A Pastoral Rationale for Using the Common Cup.” It is recommended reading. I especially appreciated this description of the Lutheran tradition:
We are not minimalists in the Lutheran Church. We don’t ask the question, “How little do we have to do to get by in following Christ’s words and institution in order to have a valid Sacrament?” Instead, we simply stay as close to his words as possible, and rejoice in the blessings we receive through them.
I have attended church where there were so many communicants that they used five “common” cups (all chalices). It is not the number of cups that is important: Every Sunday, the one universal Church communes with countless cups the world over. However, what we confess by our practice is important, and cheap disposable plastic cups are a poor confession of the physical reality.
The gifts God gives us are physical gifts, and they should be treated with not just spiritual reverence, but also physical respect. Jesus is not just calling us on the telephone, he is actually present.
Shortly after the first post, Pastor Rydecki published a follow-up entitled: “Not exactly the image I had in mind.” That second article partially inspired the production of the photo at the top of this post, although, I had been trying to take a picture of a chalice for years. My old congregation (St. Peter in Freedom, WI) had lost their chalice, so I was not able to photograph it.
The chalice featured in this post belongs to St. John in Center, WI. When the silver and gold chalice is filled with red wine, and the life-giving blood is poured into the Congregation of Christ, then it is very beautiful for the Sacrament, the physical presence of God, and for the forgiveness of sins.
Happy Epiphany, and God’s blessings.