Intrepid Lutherans Discuss the Cup

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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.


3 thoughts on “Intrepid Lutherans Discuss the Cup

  1. I have to admit I have not mentally engaged in the cup controversy very much- but I did brave the common cup once (despite my fears regarding the toddler on my hip and tragedy ensuing..)
    and in braving it, I understand the deeper symbolism embodied there. It is shared with my fellow Christians. And (a unique blessing to me) it is given by my called-and-ordained husband to me- the grace that we share, we share together.

  2. Rick,

    I, too, have been following this discussion concerning the individual cup and the common cup on the Intrepid Lutherans blog. As I posted on their website this evening (not sure if they published it) this is a mere technical, and certainly not, a Biblical discussion.

    In your comments above you said that you have been in a church where they used five chalices to commune the congregation. So what is wrong with using, say, 100 or more small, individual chalices? And please, your description of individual cups used to dispense the wine and our Lord’s blood during Holy Communion as “cheap disposable plastic cups” is certainly beyond you.

    I have communed in a congregation where they used individual crystal glass cups, not cheap by any means, as well as communed at other congregations using plastic cups and/or a common cup. It really doesn’t matter. The most important thing, at least for me, is the saving grace and forgiveness of my sins that I receive from our Lord in any vessel used in Holy Communion.

    As for the Intrepid Lutherans, this is just another “Majoring in the Minors” issue that is so frequent on their blog.

    Exquisite photos, by the way.

    P. C. Christian

  3. Emily, may our Lord bless us as we meditate on and receive the deep truth. Paul, thank you for your kind compliment regarding the photographs.

    God’s blessings.

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