Fasting before Holy Communion

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

  1. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    1 Cor.11:17-34. Fasting before is entirely optional. If it helps you control the temptation to exhibit unseemly behaviour you should actually eat at home first rather than force your way to the front in church, to get served first, according to St. Paul. If fasting before hand helps to get you in the right frame of mind to receive, then by all means do it.
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  2. Edmundia

    Edmundia Member

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    I really don't want to cause trouble, but I thought that Anglican practice derived in a large part from the Early Fathers and the faith of the undivided Church ? I would have thought that of all practices Fasting Communion was one that was followed by the primitive church and was maintained until relatively modern times ; as a witness, I would call to my aid the 1928 Prayer Book (England) where it is strongly advised as a primitive practice, I also think that many Communicants' Manuals (and not just High Church ones) advised it, books like In His Presence and Bishop Walsham-How's Communion Manual. It is also witnessed to by the usual old style Anglican custom of "8 o'clock Communion" [with Matins at 11 a.m.] and later on, the Parish Communion movement encouraged a corporate Parish celebration at about 9 or 9.30 (Fasting) followed by a Parish Breakfast. This caused the demise of Matins in the 1950s and 1960s. The (Anglican: High Church) Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament always had prayers against non-fasting Evening Communion, but the rug was pulled from under them by the relaxation of the Roman Catholic rules and they were left very much High And Dry. My point is that most Anglican Divines and books would not have taught that fasting communion was at all optional. My Low Church (of Ireland) parents were certainly taught that you received at the Early Service.
     
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  3. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I was similarly taught, when I grew up RC, to fast prior to communion. It wasn't until I left the RCC that I heard a contrary teaching based on 1 Corinthians.
    1Co 11:20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper.
    1Co 11:21 For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.
    1Co 11:22 What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.....
    1Co 11:33 Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another.
    1Co 11:34 And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.


    This is the well-known teaching from Paul's hand concerning the Eucharist. John Gill's commentary on verse 34 says,
    "...and therefore if anyone was hungry, and could not wait till the Lord's supper was over, let him eat at home before he come to the place of worship, and satisfy his appetite, that he might with more ease and decency attend the table of the Lord..."
    Some churches had long seen this verse as an argument against fasting before communion, on the grounds that it encourages hunger and might cause the recipient to receive Eucharist unworthily (as food to satisfy hunger). I think this is why the RCC in the 1960s changed their guidelines, IIRC, to "fasting 1 hour prior."
     
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  4. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    But John Gill was a congregationalist iirc. At any rate, he wasn't an Anglican and so doesn't really shed light on the traditional Anglican practice. As Edmundia's posts show, the traditional practice specifically in the Anglican tradition has always been of fasting prior to communion.
     
  5. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    But I'm not trying to shed light on traditional Anglican practice. I'm quoting simply to make very plain what 1 Cor. 11 is saying: eat at home, if necessary, to avoid coming to communion physically hungry. I suppose I could have simply quoted the scripture and expounded upon it without quoting Gill (a Baptist, oh the horror!). :rolleyes:

    Anglican practice is meant to align with scripture, after all.

    To be plain, I'm not suggesting that one cannot or should not fast as one's conscience leads. I'm saying there is one particular reason which, if applicable in a given situation, favors breaking fast (eating breakfast) instead.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2020
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  6. Shane R

    Shane R Well-Known Member

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    There have been times that I wished I had fasted after communion. I have had some of the worst chili in the world at church. Also some terrible spaghetti on occasion.
     
  7. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Quite a lot of coffee that you could take home and paint garden fences with too. :laugh:
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  8. Symphorian

    Symphorian Well-Known Member

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    Ah yes, the delights of Church of England Coffee™. That's one thing I definitely haven't missed during lockdown.
     
  9. Shane R

    Shane R Well-Known Member

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    My bishop has a rule for diocesan functions: no one who served in the Navy (which includes quite a few of us) is allowed to make the coffee.

    When I was down in Ecuador they gave us instant coffee everywhere we went. And they usually offered us a cup of warm milk to make it. I started asking for hot water because I drink coffee black and they would invariably assume I was wanting a cup of tea and bring me a tea bag.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2020
  10. Edmundia

    Edmundia Member

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    I think it unwise to use a single private interpretation of Scripture against the wealth of very ancient Tradition. We can find all manner of personal and private writings interpreting any verses. However, I would have thought the weight of tradition and the "Anglican fathers", I mean the Caroline Divines (the real sources of classical Anglicanism), would weigh against it. You find Bishop Jeremy Taylor,a real Caroline father from the Church of |Ireland writing about fasting communion in the 17th cent. ------ no Anglo-Catholicism there.

    I think that Rome changed its discipline after the Second World War , from Midnight to three hours and then to one hour. It was, I think, just a way of keeping in tune with modern life and their love of ease and comfort and the new "needs" for lunch time and evening Mass; both a real break with ancient practice.
    I have heard catholics saying that this change was a fundamental and destructive of ancient apostolic tradition, almost as bad as changing lst May, SS Philip and James to S.Joseph the worker.

    I just wondered what orthodox,strict Anglicans thought of it all ?
     
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  11. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Isn't that a very Roman viewpoint, though? The RCC tells its members that only it, the RCC, can correctly interpret Scripture. And that is why they kept the Scriptures away from the laity for many centuries. If no common person can "rightly divide the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15), then we should all turn in our Bibles and accept whatever the Magisterium tells us.
     
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  12. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    To be fair, the OP did ask,
    Do you believe that Anglicans should observe a fast prior to receiving Holy Communion

    I don’t see Edmundia invoking Rome at all, I just see an affirmation of the history of the church (including the Anglican tradition) on this practice.
     
  13. Edmundia

    Edmundia Member

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    No that's certainly not exclusively Roman at all. The Orthodox Church has always been very careful about private/personal interpretation of scripture and so always was Anglicanism. This was the belief that Scripture was to be read Ecclesially. Anyone could - as many evangelical protestant writers - come along and say this is what I think this verse says. That is why the Roman Catholic church was always very careful about the laity reading the Bible ----there was,of course, the little problem of there being no printing of books until the 15th century.

    Historic Christianity in its Orthodox,Roman and Anglican forms always looked to see what the early Fathers, the Saints, the Councils said and wrote. As far as I understand it traditional Anglicanism always relied on the three fold test of any practice: Scripture, Holy Tradition [the General Councils and the Early Church Fathers] and the light of human reason, all working together to produce nothing new but just a consensus, explaining and making for a deeper understanding of the "Faith once delivered to the saints".

    I think that modern Anglicans need to read that FANTASTIC work of Anglican humour,thought,doctrine; Rose Macaulay's THE TOWERS OF TREBIZOND, for although its two main characters are High, it delves into Rose Macaulay's own very "broad" and inclusive Anglicanism and though it is hilarious in parts it is desperately deep and moving, especially in the later chapters; it really explains the Anglican mood and mind.
     
  14. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    The question is presumably asked of Anglicans on an Anglican website so the implications are fairly obviously Anglican and apply only to actual Anglicans.

    If in answering the question I answer "No", though, would that make me no longer an Anglican in the opinion of fasting Anglican believers, who would deem me 'un-Anglican', a humiliation I very publicly suffered in the past on this website? :yes:

    As has been pointed out Anglicans can follow the advice of St Paul in the scripture and eat at home before communion rather than irreverantly receiving the Eucharist as a means of merely staving off physical hunger pangs or alternatively follow the teaching of the divines and the traditions of Anglicanism and not receive communion unless they have previously fasted, for a time deemed requisite.

    If any individual's Anglican orthodoxy is going to be decided by how inflexibly one keeps to 'Anglican Tradition', I would consider that a slide into legalistic Pharisaism and a very dangerous trend for the church.
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    Last edited: Jul 4, 2020
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  15. Edmundia

    Edmundia Member

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    Gosh, I am astounded,Tiffy. The statement that human gender cannot be applied to God as a spirit, is a condemned proposition by the Anglican Forum, is something I teach my students (when they get going on God the Father and "that's sexist,sir ) and I take it in a Roman Catholic school from the official Roman Catholic Catechism, produced under the so called "ultra Conservative" John Paul II and the then Cardinal Ratzinger.
    Oh dear, another reason for not going back to Anglicanism - I'd be condemned here as an heretical anglican, instead of being a wicked "guest" R.C.
     
  16. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Not many Anglicans, nor any other denomination for that matter, have adequate understanding of the nature of God the Holy Trinity, and none have a complete understanding of the mystery of it. It is beyond human comprehension.
     
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  17. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Um, I don't think that's what Jesus had in mind when He spoke of being persecuted for His sake. The forum hasn't beaten you with the forty lashes less one (yet). :laugh:
     
  18. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    I see I should have put some smiley emoticons in to preempt exactly a reaction like this. :laugh: Actually the forum hasn't beaten me yet, (or shut me up), period. ;)
     
  19. Phoenix

    Phoenix Moderator Staff Member Anglican

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    The only proposition defended was that only male gendered predicates such as "Father", "Son", "he/him" may be applied to God, which is the immemorial Christian way going back to the new and even the old testaments. This doctrine is currently under assault on all sides, and we certainly would want to make a stand about it here. Please feel free to follow the logic of the conversation in the thread above, and make comments of your own to add to the discussion. No need to derail this thread which is on a different subject.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 5, 2020
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  20. Edmundia

    Edmundia Member

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    I do apologise; I was defending what seemed to be an unfair criticism and humiliation of Tiffy.
    I agree with, accept,promote and defend the use of the male pronoun and the description of God as Father together with, his Son Jesus,true God and true man.