I understand that Lutherans believe in the real, physical presence of Christ in the Eucharist, but not in such a way that the species cease to be true bread and wine. So you are physically eating God, but you are also physically eating bread. (Similar to the hypostatic union of Christs two natures: Christ is fully human and fully divine. The bread is fully bread but also fully Christ).

I was wondering when the consecrated species cease to be divine and return to normal, natural, mundane matter. I heard somewhere a long time ago that lutherans believe that the real presence only continues for duration of the liturgy and once the mass concludes the species return to being normal bread and wine, but I have not been able to confirm this.

Perhaps the Lutheran view is similar to the catholic view. That is, the sacramental union persists so long as the bread and wine are recognizable as bread and wine. Once they have gone mouldy, turned to vinegar, evaporated or been digested, the body and blood are no longer present.

  • I think I have seen a very similar question here, but I'm not abel to find it. It quotes letters of Luther on what to do with the leftovers (eat them all). – K-HB Jul 29 '19 at 20:19

As a former Lutheran, I was taught that the belief is that the sacramental union only persists through the liturgy, although the elements are still treated with respect afterwards.

Wikipedia's description of Lutheran Eucharistic beliefs seems to confirm this:

In most Lutheran congregations, the administration of private communion of the sick and "shut-in" (those too feeble to attend services) involves a completely separate service of the Eucharist for which the sacramental elements are consecrated by the celebrant.[14]

Contrast this with Catholics, who bring the consecrated Host to the shut-ins without the need to celebrate Mass in their homes, and who have communion services when priests are unavailable and receive the consecrated Hosts which remain in the Tabernacle.

A comparison of Good Friday services also reveals important differences. Catholics do not have Mass on Good Friday, but still have communion using the Hosts in the Tabernacle. That is, Catholics do not celebrate the Eucharist, but still consume the Body and Blood of Christ. On the other hand, Lutherans have a service without communion at all. They do not celebrate the Eucharist and, thus, have no Host to consume.

Also from Wikipedia:

Lutheran Eucharistic adoration is not commonly practiced, but when it occurs it is done only from the moment of consecration to reception.

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