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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    That's commendable, I also agreed with exactly that proposition but still lost my Anglican badge. :laugh: Funny that!
     
  2. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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  3. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    That's very decent of you but no need.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 5, 2020
  4. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    I do not believe that fasting priorto communion is necessarily required (I certainly can't recall any biblical priof for it), but is practiced among a great many Anglicans. I think it is a relic of the Catholic innovation of Transubstantiation.
     
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  5. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I think that fasting in general should be done a lot more of, in all kinds of circumstances. We've forgotten how to fast and how to practice mortification. We should be doing some gentle fasting prior to the daily devotions. Practicing before Sunday divine services, either communion or evensong. Fasting during national days of mourning, and on feast/fast days of the Church calendar.

    So just fasting more in general is a great idea, we just need more excuses to do it.
     
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  6. S. DeVault

    S. DeVault New Member

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    Here are some more days and vigils where are are instructed to fast, by the BCP, no less.
    https://stbenedictanglican.com/news/2018/2/7/fasting-according-to-the-1928-book-of-common-prayer

    Fasting is a beautiful thing. It's been practiced by the Church since its earliest days.

    Mark 9:29 "And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting."

    Saint John Chrysostom: "Fasting is the support of our soul: it gives us wings to ascend on high, and to enjoy the highest contemplation! [...] God, like an indulgent father, offers us a cure by fasting."
     
  7. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    I disagree. I think that the Church's role here is to ease people's burdened consciences and proclaim the good news that we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Fasting is a form of rigorism in fasting is just the kind of work of supererogation that AOR XIV warned us to shun. Fasting is a tradition of the church, no doubt about it and should be practiced but if it leads to people believing they are fit to take the Lord's Supper trusting in the righteousness they demonstrated by fasting, rather than in following the Catchism's requirements to "To examine themselves, whether they repent them truly of their former sins, stedfastly purposing to lead a new life; have a lively faith in God's mercy through Christ, with a thankful remembrance of his death; and be in charity with all men" then they are led astray and may receive the sacrament unworthily, bringing judgment upon themselves. Alternatively, if the fasting requirement proves too restrictive to someone such that they decide not to receive the sacrament rather than risk violating the fast requirement, we have erected a wall around the sacrament far higher than Our Lord ever intended. My recommendation is to follow the example of the Scriptures and what do we see there?

    According to Matthew 26: "While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it..."

    According to Paul's letter to the Corinthians, he instructs the believers to eat at home.

    Nowhere else in scripture is fasting linked to prepping for communion. Therefore, I see no reason to insert a fasting duty when neither Christ nor the Apostle did so.
     
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  8. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Well, there are two issues here.

    "Nowhere in scripture is fasting linked to prepping for communion" -- true, but nor does it have to be. The scriptures teach us of doctrine, but there's a lot more to a Christian's life that has to do with discipline, piety, and training in virtues and sanctification. That is what the Church is for. There we see the great footsteps of Christians before us in training up for the spiritual life.

    "fasting is a form of rigorism" -- It has nothing to do with works of supererogation or rigorism; no one has linked it to justification. Piety and worship are also required, and yet mandating them is not a work of erogation or a rigorism. Prayer doesn't justify us, and yet we must do it. And how/where do we learn how to pray? From the Church. Where do we learn holiness? from the church.

    To claim that all examples of piety, all feast days, fast days, all prayers and forms of worship have already been listed and limited to the Bible, is an instance of a 'regulative principle of worship, ie. a form of Presbyterianism.
     
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  9. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    It would be if I said that but I didn't.

    I said requiring fasting prior to communion does not follow the example of Christ and the Apostles. Which you agree is true. Our Lord says That his yoke is easy and his burden is light. Why add more to that burden than He thought appropriate? Why add more requirements to taking communion than laid out in scripture or the Anglican fathers? Because you like fasting and think its good? That's a rather arbitrary basis, don't you think?

    It begs the question, if fasting is so good then why ever stop?

    It is by faith and not fasting that one worthily receives the sacrament. Adding more than is required is indeed a supererogation.
     
  10. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    That's a word I had to look up in the dictionary.
    Definition of supererogation
    : the act of performing more than is required by duty, obligation, or need
    Did You Know?
    English speakers took "supererogation" from the Medieval Latin verb supererogare, which means "to perform beyond the call of duty." That Latin word, in turn, derives from the prefix super-, meaning "over and above," plus erogare, meaning "to expend public funds after asking the consent of the people." The earliest English uses of "supererogation" occurred in religious contexts, where it often referred to the doing of good deeds beyond those required for salvation. By the late 1500s, "supererogation" was being applied to any act performed above and beyond obligation.​

    I see value in fasting when it's done for the purpose of training one's body to accept self-denial, and when praying and seeking God's will, direction, or spiritual discernment. An example of the latter would be Jesus' counsel to His disciples that some evil spirits "come not out but by prayer and fasting."

    As for pre-Eucharist fasting, because I grew up in the RCC my mind was trained with a mindset of fasting for at least 1 hour prior; the reasoning given was that the digestive tract should have time to 'purify' or 'separate' from the act of taking natural nourishment, in preparation for ingesting supernatural nourishment (God). Today I recognize (rationally) that this is not derived from the Bible (and AFAIK not derived from the very early church either); however, emotionally, out of habit, I tend to prefer not eating anything right before the service (although I certainly don't time myself!).
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2020
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  11. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    This is how the Articles of Religion uses the term:

    XIV. Of Works of Supererogation.
    Voluntary Works besides, over and above, God's Commandments, which they call Works of Supererogation, cannot be taught without arrogancy and impiety: for by them men do declare, that they do not only render unto God as much as they are bound to do, but that they do more for his sake, than of bounden duty is required: whereas Christ saith plainly When ye have done all that are commanded to you, say, We are unprofitable servants.​

    I often equate this with that most Lutheran of terms: "Works Righteousness".

    I think that linking fasting as a form of external personal piety only strengthens that argument.

    "When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."

    "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise."

    Fasting is a good thing, when done moderately and with the right intention, but should not be a requirement for the sacrament, especially since it has never been a requirement in the Anglican church. Though, perhaps the middle ground and, thusly, the most Anglican course when it comes to fasting prior to communion is to follow the old addage: "All can. Some should. None must."
     
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