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Martin Luther's Deutsche Messe was first celebrated on October 29, 1525, and the text was published the following year. I was surprised to see that for the consecration and distribution of the sacrament, he uses the order

  1. Consecrate the bread
  2. Distribute the Body of Christ
  3. Consecrate the wine
  4. Distribute the Blood of Christ

as opposed to the more familiar (at least to me) 1, 3, 2, 4.

He writes in the preface that he is trying to emulate the order of events described in the Bible:

Then the Office and Consecration proceeds, as follows: 'Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the same night' (i Cor. xi. 23 ff). I think that it would be in accordance with the Last Supper if the sacrament were distributed immediately after the consecration of the bread before the blessing of the cup. So say, both Luke and Paul: 'Likewise also the cup after supper.' Meanwhile, there might be sung the Sanctus in German or the hymn 'Gott sei gelobet', or the hymn of John Huss, 'Jesus Christus unser Heiland.' And after this should come the consecration of the chalice and its delivery, with the singing of whatever remains of the above-mentioned hymns, or of the Agnus Dei in German.

It seems that there are quite a few variations among Christians about what sequence is to be used. How should a church determine which order to follow? And, in particular, is there any reason to object to Luther's method here?

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+1 Interesting! At least in Finland, Lutherans use the 1324 order that you call "the more familiar". –  dancek Sep 29 '11 at 15:17
    
Well, Our church uses 2143... –  Sȱɳɨȼ Ʈħe ǶḝÐɠḝħȱɠ Sep 29 '11 at 15:20
    
Interesting topic, but so far the question seems to be playing out as an poll for what churches do it what way. So far the way my church does it isn't listed. I think this should probably be revised to deal specifically with the issue of are there any objectionable orders or methods or more specifically WHY an order is mandated in a specific church. Can you help encourage answers along those lines? –  Caleb Sep 29 '11 at 21:40
1  
I was sort of expecting a Catholic objection that the priest must receive both before anybody else does, or an Orthodox objection that it violates the unity of the epiklesis. I will try to edit the question to make it less poll-like. –  James T Sep 29 '11 at 21:49

3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

I don't think there is any problem with the order Martin Luther used, as it is the same as the order used by Christ in the Last Supper. I do believe the 1324 order is likely used due to it scaling a little better when the bread and wine are distributed after consecrating them.

The Last Supper was only a few people, compared to a Sunday service which could be hundreds of people. By receiving the bread and the wine at the same time, you can cut the time needed for communion to nearly half.

As @warren mentioned in his answer, my current church actually distributes the bread and wine/juice, then the pastor will say a blessing over the bread and we will consume it. Then the pastor says a blessing over the wine and we consume that. I believe this is similar to Martin Luther's method, except it is distributed (to hundreds) before the blessings.

On a smaller scale, I believe Martin Luther's ordering would be wonderful.

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Yes, when you have larger numbers, there will be a delay somewhere! Pre-distribution is a clever solution. –  James T Sep 29 '11 at 19:58

I have ONLY (but in many churches [baptist (several versions), presbyterian (several versions), & non-denominational]) ever seen the order done as described above and one other method:

  1. bless bread
  2. distribute bread
  3. consume bread
  4. bless wine
  5. distribute wine
  6. consume wine

OR (and only in the context of large congregations in awkward facilities)

  1. distribute bread & wine
  2. bless bread
  3. consume bread
  4. bless wine
  5. consume wine

The first method is as described in both Luke and 1 Corinthians.

The second is a variation to accommodate unusual crowds.

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Actually, now that you've stated it, the second method is what my current church uses. –  a_hardin Sep 29 '11 at 15:39
    
Since you don't even state what kind of church this is, I'm not sure how this is a useful answer to the question. So far this just seems like a poll response for how a few churches do it, but without either the 'why's or even the types of churches it doesn't seem to address the issue asked about by the OP. –  Caleb Sep 29 '11 at 21:41
    
@Caleb - I've seen this in a variety of churches: baptist (several versions), presbyterian (several versions), & non-denominational –  warren Sep 29 '11 at 22:33
    
@Caleb - also, given the original question (since edited), it does fit with what the OP asked –  warren Sep 29 '11 at 22:34

My church background is from the Baptist denomination in the UK and when they celebrate communion it's nearly always in the manner described (ie bless & distribute the bread, then bless & distribute the wine). Nowadays I'm part of a congregation where bread and grape juice (there's a no alcohol policy in the building we meet in) are provided and people can take it in any manner, and any order, they see fit.

I've seen communion celebrated in many different ways, formal and informal, with a large variation of what's done when. While some churches dictate a set order for these things, I don't think many would find a slight adjustment objectionable (although as with any group of people there are always some who will kick up a fuss!)

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