Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Calvin on the proper celebration of the Lord's Supper

Recently I finished reading the Institutes. However I confess to not reading the last two chapters... I just wasn't interested enough, and I wanted to start my new Bavinck volume instead.

But who knows what I might have missed because Calvin always throws you unexpected morsels to chew on, morsels that often illustrate his attempts to remain as true to the Scriptures as possible.

One example in my latest reading of Book IV comes from his comments on the Lord's Supper in IV:XVII:43. I've long held to Calvin's view that the Lord's Supper should be administered frequently. In fact, I tend to think that Calvin probably believed that the Supper should be shared at every gathering of the church... how else can we understand his comment "at least once a week"? I think it is wrong to separate the preaching of the word among God's people from the adminstration of the supper that God gave us.

In recent conversations with people I've compared notes on how we celebrate the eucharistic meal, in particular thinking through the question of the rights and wrongs of using alcoholic wine.

Funny, then, that Calvin doesn't comment on the alcohol issue at all... what he does comment on is something that I'd never considered... the matter of the colour of the wine. Calvin states that it makes no difference if the wine is red or white.

I dare someone with the proper authority to use White Grape Shloer at their next celebration. Of course you'd be breaking God's law if you did... but not because of the whiteness of the grape... isn't hermeneutics fun?

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