Fasting before Holy Communion

Discussion in 'Liturgy, and Book of Common Prayer' started by PDL, May 3, 2020.

  1. PDL

    PDL Active Member Anglican

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    Do you believe that Anglicans should observe a fast prior to receiving Holy Communion or do not need to observe a fast?

    If you believe in observing a Communion fast, why do you think we should fast before receiving Holy Communion?

    Alternatively, if you do not believe a fast is necessary why do you believe this?

    The remaining questions are aimed at those who believe we should fast.

    For how long prior to reception of Holy Communion do you believe we should fast?

    Do you believe there are things which do not break the fast, e.g. water, medicine, etc?

    Are there people you believe are able to either observe a shorter fast or who can be exempt from the fast, e.g. infirm, elderly, their carers, etc?

    Please add any comments you think would help to expand on your answers.

    Thank you for answering my questions.

    N.B. This is neither a poll nor survey; it is not for any research I am doing; it is simply to satisfy my curiosity about what fellow Anglicans think about fasting before Holy Communion.
     
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  2. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I tend to believe that yes, we do need to fast before Holy Communion. And as to why, reflecting on my own personal experiences, it has been helpful for mortifying the desires, and putting us in a sacrificial frame of mind. After all the Holy Communion is a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. Unlike the Sabbath day of rest and enjoyment, the Lord's day is a day of sacrifice; that's why we drag ourselves out of bed even if we don't want to, and we put on our best even when it's easy to be messy and comfortable.

    Christians who go to Church in a t-shirt and flip-flops don't understand this point. We walk into Church dressed in our best sunday clothes because we sacrifice; everything about worship is a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. And mortification by food is a part of that.

    For what we should fast on, I tend to think it's things we can do safely, so mainly just food. Water and medicines wouldn't be in that category in my view.

    And for how long, since the previous night.
     
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  3. PDL

    PDL Active Member Anglican

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    Stalwart, Have we had some form of disagreement in another thread? When I came to see if my question had any answers it said there was one from you but that I am ignoring you. I have no recollection of choosing to ignore you. I can think of no reason whatsoever why I would be ignoring you. Being under house arrest because of this pandemic is not doing any wonders for my memory.

    Anyway, thank you for your answer and I would say we would be in agreement.

    I certainly agree with you about dress. I wear shirt, tie and suit for church and my shoes sparkle. Even though we cannot currently set inside a church my wife and I are dressing far less casually on Sundays the rest of the week.

    Now, this is where I get on my old man's soapbox. I believe standards in general are falling. I would not dream of going to a restaurant or the theatre in the clothes I may paint in, put up a shelf, cut the grass, etc. However, many people do. I have also noticed that one of the last bastions of dressing appropriately, funerals, is now giving way to the same clothes you would wear to slob out on the sofa in.
     
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  4. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I grew up in the RCC where one was supposed to fast. For my older siblings the rule was 3 hours, but then the church modified it to 1 hour. So I grew up eating normal breakfast on Sunday mornings. Consequently, I find it mildly weird when my ACNA parish has snacks set out during the Christian Ed class prior to the 10:30 a.m. service. I usually abstain from those snacks but I'm not dogmatic about it (once in a while something really tasty gets me).

    I think it should be totally up to each individual. And the scripture that comes to mind is Col. 2:16-- Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink...

    As for dressing up, I agree with both of you. I was raised to believe that we should put on our good clothes as a sign of respect when we go to visit God at His house.

    Going to some of the other Protestant churches had become a drag and a sacrifice, but since switching to the Anglican parish I genuinely look forward to going every Sunday. No need to "drag myself out of bed" on Sundays. Hmmm, :hmm: if sacrificing and 'mortifying my desires' could make me more holy, maybe I should switch back? :laugh:
     
  5. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    :cheers:



    Good for you. There is a general reluctance to impose anything like discomfort (let alone mortification), as all churches are trying to wrestle with modernity, and how to keep their mission in a lukewarm world.

    Little do they realize that it is by raising the walls and presenting a severe and high standard that they churches can keep the young people today. Latin Mass ultra-traditionalist Catholics are a case in point, presenting severe standards and being filled with young people, while the fat and jolly average Catholicism has empty pews and elderly/disappearing congregations. Christianity is severe and with very high standards; young people yearn for authenticity and can smell 'posing' from a mile away. If we present to them Christianity in its awesome high vision, it will be both intimidating and strangely authentic and attractive, in this hedonistic and indulgent culture.


    Lol.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2020
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  6. PDL

    PDL Active Member Anglican

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    I really must be having some kind of mental breakdown. As I wrote in post #3 that I had ignored Stalwart. Then on my screen post #2 is missing. I don't know where it is. And, Rexlion, I thought you were from an Evangelical background. Perhaps I need to go and lie down in a dark room.

    I know the Anglican Church, unlike the RCC, does not make a rule on this, but you you think they should? I suppose it would also depend on what you believe and we in the Anglican fold are a broad church. I fast out of respect for what I believe I am receiving, which is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ.

    It is interesting in what you time about the fast time in the RCC. Before the three-hour rule they used to have to fast from midnight. We seem constantly to be relaxing the rules, which is not something that is common in the Eastern Orthodox (EO) churches. I would how many of us would cope with an EO fasting regime.
     
  7. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    I can't fast like that. If I did I woudl become clammy and weak if I fasted from midnight on. Physically it is not good for me. I could fast for a couple of hours though and maybe could work my way up to the midnight fast. I think we should fast also from sex also
     
  8. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    That sounds like a blood sugar issue. Have you considered either a keto diet or a whole foods - plant based diet? I've heard good things about both in relation to hypoglycemia.
    Only if you have your wife's consent.... but if I know anything about wives in general, that should be extremely easy to obtain! ;)
     
  9. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Oh, I'm well-traveled. RC from birth to late 20s, then evangelistic Protestant for over 30 years, and now I'm an evangelistic Anglican.

    No, not really. Unless the rule is, "there shall be no rule concerning fasting before Communion." Like I said, I think it should be up to each individual to decide.

    At its root origin, the occasion of the first Communion was a Passover seder. The apostles and Jesus celebrated this seder by eating and drinking directly prior to Jesus' consecration and sharing of the elements. So there is Bible precedent for not fasting. But neither fasting nor not fasting was ever made a requirement in the N.T.
     
  10. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    Most likely it is a combination of physical work and a very fast metabolism. I am 35 and can still wear clothes from high school. I have a job and then a farm on the side so when I go to bed I am often a bit hungry and wake up famished.
     
  11. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    If communion is held at 08:00 am I can see a lot of sense in waiting until returning home to have breakfast.
    If communion is at midnight or 20:00 as at Christmas and Easter often is, then it makes little sense to go without food and drink all day before hand, and where does one draw the line anyway. It is impractical to fast from the previous evening for effectively 24 hours, and would risk a dangerous decline into ascetisism and the spiritual pride that often accompanies it and seeks to compare the laxity of others with one's own superior spirituality.

    St Paul's advice was as follows: 1 Cor.10:31.
    .
     
  12. PDL

    PDL Active Member Anglican

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    I know people who are evangelistic prefer to look to the Bible for everything. I would be interested in what you think early Christians were to use as a source for their faith.
     
  13. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    I know this question is addressed to Rexlion, and he is well able to answer it himself, but here is my own opinion.

    The Early Jewish Christians obviously had the Hebrew / Greek edition scriptures, (at least access to them via their religious teachers, most could not read them themselves, books and scrolls were well beyond the financial reach of all normal people.)

    From 40AD onwards they also had the writings of St Paul and other worthy's in the faith for guidance, but still had to rely mostly on the live preached word of respected teachers and leaders.

    As the church began to get more Gentile believers than Hebrew ones, and more letters from leaders became available to more congregations, there was a shift to mostly New Testament teaching, and an increase in 'explanations' in the texts of Hebrew thought and custom which were now unfamiliar to the now predominant Gentile congregations. Thus we have more references in John's Gospel (late produced), to 'The Jews' and explanations of Jewish thought and custom which would have been totally unnecessary for a Jewish readership.

    Not until 360AD or thereabouts do we even have any agreement among Christians concerning which documents were sufficiently inspired as to form a trustworthy account of the tenets of The Way of Christ and to constitute a reliable account of Christian Praxis and Doctrine.

    Paul stated that "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (By "word of God", Paul was not referring to the Bible, he was referring to his and other apostle's words), and "Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? . . .He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith"?

    So I take that to mean there is something else involved in making believers, believers, more than just having access to and reading the Bible.
    .
     
  14. peter

    peter Active Member

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    I would tend to take a similar view to fasting before Communion as I would to sacramental confession. It is a good and holy practice for those who wish to do so, but not essential and people who do not wish to do so should not be precluded from recieving or made to feel guilty. The main reason for fasting at least for me is to draw a clear distinction in my mind between the Eucharist and regular food. A brief period of fasting helps me to do this, and probably would help a lot of people if they tried it. One hour before recieving, or if possible maybe an hour before the start of the service is a realistic time. Longer than this and unless you are very disciplined you will probably either not stick to it or end up not being able to recieve because of it. Water and medications and things of no nutritional value such as a mint or chewing gum are generally not regarded as breaking the fast. While those who promote fasting would generally regard children, the elderly and the infirm as exempt, if seen as a desirable practice and not a mandatory activity there is no need for any exemptions.
     
  15. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Technically, Christians didn't 'use' anything as a source of faith; faith originates with God (He gives all men the measure of faith, Rom. 12:3) and no one 'uses' God. ;) But I think you meant to ask, upon what source of information did the early Christians depend to learn about God and their faith in Him. My answer is, they were informed by the Old Testament and by the letters, usually through oral communication of the same. They heard the Gospel of the Living Word, Jesus Christ, as well as the prophecies about Him, spoken to them (unless they were literate).

    Unfortunately, oral communication is somewhat variable from both ends of the transmission; the speakers might gradually interject incorrect ideas of their own, while the hearers may misunderstand, drift off and miss details, or reinterpret what is heard based on experiences. Thus it eventually became plain to the body of Christians that the writings which they possessed provided a standard, unmoving transmittal that predated the errors which were creeping in. We know that a good many heresies were introduced quite early on, and likely some of them would have been avoided had they possessed the full N.T. publication we now have.

    The lack of a canonized, published compilation of N.T. documents during the earliest years of the church age should not be construed as evidence that the oral communications were somehow better, more reliable, or more indicative of correct practices & beliefs simply because they predated the eventual N.T. publication. Quite the contrary! The lack of a N.T. compilation meant the lack of a bright-line standard by which truth and accuracy might be measured. Without the N.T. canon, Christianity today would be in a far, far greater tangle of heretical nonsense than it is.

    By the way, it's been said that of the 7,967 verses in the N.T. scripture, 2,606 of those verses contain O.T. references or quotes. I think that's interesting.
     
  16. PDL

    PDL Active Member Anglican

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    I apologise and I shall aim for greater precision in what I write.

    I agree with you, and I believe we can all probably recount an example of when we have been affected by an oral communication being altered. The Gospels were not written immediately after Christ's Ascension so how can we be certain that no errors were reproduced in the Gospels?

    Yes, some communities may have received Pauline epistles. However, in those days we cannot be certain of their wide circulation. Many pre-date the Gospels and so Paul must have been relying on an oral tradition.

    I think we ought to be clear here that centuries had passed since the death of Christ and the approval of the NT canon. That means the gap between Our Lord's death and the approval of the canon was a longer time span than the American Revolution is from us. How could the bishops in council have known which books to approve and put in the canon and which ones to reject?
     
  17. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    At this point, wouldn't we have to refer (and defer) to the forum rules? :halo:

    By the same way we are certain that no errors were reproduced in the Gospels (I will address both together). We believe that the Holy Spirit actively inspired the writings, actively worked to preserve them, and actively inspired the deliberators as they examined the various writings and rejected those that did not rise to the level of trust or accuracy necessary to be included in the canon. (Many of the rejected works can be seen to contain historical or factual errors, erroneous theology, or other problems).

    I will add that, to some extent, the scriptures are self-affirming.
    God the Son said, Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away (Luke 21:33).
    In Isaiah 40:8 we read, The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
    Psalm 12 tells us that God's eternal words will prevail over the vain words of man:
    Psa 12:1 Help, LORD; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men.
    Psa 12:2 They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak.
    Psa 12:3 The LORD shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things:
    Psa 12:4 Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us?
    Psa 12:5 For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the LORD; I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him.
    Psa 12:6 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
    Psa 12:7 Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.

    When we recall that nearly 1/3 of the N.T. verses contain either quotes of or references to O.T. scripture (which was already respected as God's word by Jesus' time), we might conjecture that the Council deliberators may have been partially guided by this. Among all the N.T. writings, only the brief letter to Philemon lacks an O.T. reference (but the author, Paul, was recognized).
     
  18. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    The Gospels were not written for the most part by eye witnesses. They are gathered information, much of it reproduced from Mark's original Gospel or from posibly a lost record of 'Sayings of Jesus', recollections and anecdotes from eye witnesses or even hear say accounts. Though they were careful to get their facts as straight as possible they did not verify every fact but took each account on faith and trusting the witness's evidence.

    A good example of this is the report of the death of Judas.

    Throwing down the pieces of silver in the temple, he departed; and he went and hanged himself. But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since they are blood money.” After conferring together, they used them to buy the potter’s field as a place to bury foreigners. For this reason that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Matt.27:5-8

    And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,) Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry. Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood. Acts 1:15-19

    It would seem that Peter did not know exactly how Judas had died. How could he, Jerusalem was in an uproar and the disciples were hiding in fear of their lives. Peter got his information from a faulty interpretation of the words of King David, and hearsay from a filtering of current Jerusalem gossip, which Peter correctly reports and Luke records for posterity in Acts chapter 1:15-19

    There is little doubt that Judas actually hanged himself and the exact location of his death is not recorded. Matthew's Gospel was written some time after Acts of the Apostles so there was plenty of time for the truth of the matter to become known, rather than the rumours on the Jerusalem grapevine and a faulty interpretation of OT scripture which was uttered before Peter had received the gift of discernment from The Holy Spirit, in fact before anyone had received The Promised Holy Spirit. (Peter had a habit of getting things wrong up until then). The field was bought by the priests, not by Judas, and the prophesy was by Jeremiah, not from David.

    Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of the one on whom a price had been set, on whom some of the people of Israel had set a price, and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.” Matt.27:9-10.

    And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. Acts 2:1-4

    The fanciful theological gymnastics resorted to by some pedantic inerrantists, that Judas somehow bought the field from the priests: - (already bought by the priests with the money Judas had thrown into the sanctuary that night, which by then he no longer possessed. Quickest conveyancing land purchase in history, those priests must have had a smart solicitor on hand the moment they got hold of the money again) - Then straightway hanged himself, somehow cut himself down, fell headlong and all his bowels gushed out, simultaneously: - are completely unnecessary, unless you entertain the unbiblical notion that every word printed in every version of every bible is God's honest, perfect, plain, infallible truth, needing no further thought or comment other than what is literally printed, face value, on every single page.

    Such notions are only entertained by those who have never studied it, much less been enlightened by its Divinely Inspired Wisdom.
    .
     
  19. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Are you saying it's impossible that Judas hanged himself, his corpse subsequently rotted and fell from the noose, whereupon the impact caused his bloated carcass to rupture and spill his entrails? And there's no possible way Peter spoke hyperbolically of Judas having 'bought' the field rather indirectly by supplying the money for its purchase (when he hurled it away in the temple)?
     
  20. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Some people believe that the Loch Ness Monster is 'possible'. We have yet to discover if they may be right but when we consider the probabilities we can be excused for being sceptical of the possibility of Nessie's existence. Especially when other theories based on research, are more plausible.
    .