Wednesday, September 02, 2009
he said it
"All Christians are members of the house or family of God, are called and constituted a holy and a royal priesthood, and may, therefore bless God for the Lord's
table, its loaf, and cup--approach it without fear and partake of it with joy as often as they please, in remembrance of the death of their Lord and Saviour."
The above statement, by Alexander Campbell, is the fourth proposition of seven regarding the Lord's Supper in Campbell's definitive exposition of it in his 1835 The Christian System. It is a point of peculiarity of the Churches of Christ that our weekly communion is typically celebrated by a "layperson," though of course we don't use that term often in our churches. In most traditions, celebration of the Eucharist, or Communion, or the Lord's Supper, is an act reserved for ordained clergy or priests. In our churches, however, Campbell's argument for the radical application of the notion of the "priesthood of all believers" is applied, even to this most holy and sacramental act of presiding at the Lord's Table.
Campbell elaborates upon this proposition: "May not, then, holy and royal priests thank God for the Lord's table, its loaf, and cup of wine? May they not, without a human priest to consecrate the way for them, approach the Lord's table and handle the loaf and cup?...Do you not thank God for the cup while the priest stands by the table; and do you not handle the loaf and cup when they come to you? And would not your thanksgiving have been as acceptable, if the human mediator had not been there, and your participating as well pleasing to God, and as consolatory to yourself, if you had been the first that had handled the loaf or the cup, as when you are the second, or the fifty-second, in order of location?"
All Christians are members of the house and family of God.
All Christians are called and constituted as a holy and royal priesthood.
All Christians may, therefore bless God for the Lord's table, its loaf, and cup.
He said it.