Mike Crowl’s comment on the previous post led me to Richard Giles’ somewhat controversial book Creating Uncommon Worship: Transforming the Liturgy of the Eucharist wherein Giles had this to say:
In every method of sharing communion there lurks a gremlin that needs to be named, and the name of the gremlin is intinction. This is an antisocial habit, which smacks of fear, arrogance and lack of faith, symptomatic of our not thinking what we are doing. It is a problem that needs to be addressed by the community, led by the pastor and his/her leadership team.
Although of ancient provenance (first springing out of the woodwork in the seventh century) it has been repeatedly condemned and outlawed by the Church. Fear of spilling the Precious Blood of Christ, or of catching the plague, may have made sense in the Middle Ages, but surely not today. It is a particularly grave misdemeanour for Anglicans and Lutherans, whose spiritual ancestors fought so hard in the Reformation period for the restoration to the people of communion in both kinds. How ironic if today we were to turn up our noses at the chalice!
Intinction poses two problems, theological and practical:
1. The common cup has always been a potent symbol of the bond between disciple and Lord. The passing of the cup is a dramatic feature of the gospel accounts of the Last Supper, and those who would be close to him are challenged, as were James and John, with the question, ‘Are you able to drink the cup that I drink?’ (Mark 10.38)
2. It leaves such a mess for those who come after, especially so in the era of real bread, when those who instinct reduce the contents of the chalice to a soup.
The remedy lies in a renewed education of congregations about the history of the sacrament, the privilege of the common cup, and its safety on health grounds. We also need a few more pastors who will slap wrists. (pp. 200–1)
An undercooked theology? An over-reaction? Or both?