On his blog, Ben Witherington plugs his book Making a Meal of It which looks like it might be worth reading.
I was more frightened by one of the comments which gave a link to The Remembrance Cup which might surely be the 'Pot Noodles' of the Eucharistic elements, but without the dignity of Pot Noodles.
In another interesting comment, one person writes about places of worship where...
There is often no reading of Scripture, no 'epiclesis' - a call upon the Holy Spirit to act before the words of institution, no thanksgiving prayer, and no symbols, ie. no loaf of bread and no chalice and the significance is usally reduced to a mere memorial -an academic recall of what Jesus did. Believe it or not, I have personally attended churches where the sacrament is treated in a cavalier fashion - a "self-serve" station is available throughout the service; or a declaration there is no time in their worship services for the Sacrament - do it if you wish in your small group!I'm not even sure what to say. Other than, please Lord don't let this happen here. And people wonder why the British Methodist Church insists on 'good order'. I think the link and the quotation are good examples of what can happen without 'good order'.
I've not quite encountered anything that bad in Methodism, but I've been at services advertised as the Lord's Supper were strange things have happened. The worst was when the Eucharistic prayers were nothing more than "come and get it", which to me seems totally outside Methodist practice. As you know :), I love the liturgy, but I will worship in a variety of settings. However, if we loose the Words of Institution I get very uncomfortable about the whole thing (and will usually not receive - unless to do that would create a scene and hence damage others' worship) and that has happened to me on more than one occasion in Methodist worship.
Mark: I've only experienced a 'come and get it' eucharist once; that was actually a UMC minister on a three month exchange to my then-circuit in North London.
Fundamentalist Lutherans (my background) do NOT mess around with Holy Communion as they believe in consubstantiation and the entire liturgy is (or at least it was in my youth) to be said with no additions and no omissions.
Even in the 'Oak Hill Connection' Anglican Church I attended, Communion was done in very good order and very respectfully.
When I was in seminary, I had a friend who was also a student pastor. He was in the midst of preparing for the Advent/Christmas season and he told me that when he was talking to his congregation about the Christmas Eve service, they said no they didn't want any of that and told him to just leave some bread and wine (grape juice) out on Christmas Eve and they could come and go throughout the day as they wished. He told them he didn't do that. I mentioned this story to my worship prof and she seemed unsurprised saying something to the effect that it's actually more common than you think, but no minister from one of her classes should ever support that style! (This was from the American branch of Methodism.)
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