Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Sermo in Lingua Mea
As often as I pray Psalm 139 I confess that the Lord knowest altogether the word that is on my tongue. This passage has profound implications for the speech for which we allow the tongue to be employed in our daily life. Yet it also reminds me of the Word made flesh, which is placed upon the tongue in the most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. The Good Shepherd knows what He feeds the sheep of His pasture. And without impugning the motives or faith of those Christians who receive the Body of Christ on the hand, there is a great deal to be said in praise of the traditional practice of receiving our Eucharistic Lord on the tongue. For it is both practically wise, as it makes for more careful handling of the Sacred Species, and spiritually significant, as it elegantly embodies the receptive and passive righteousness of the sheep receiving the nourishing food by the hand of the Shepherd, of the bride receiving the life giving love of her Spouse. Many pastors need to be taught, or reminded, how to properly administer the Body of Christ on the tongue of the communicants, and I say this with respect. For I have witnessed some poor and sloppy practice. These matters require and merit, however, deeper and more attentive expostulation on another occasion. For now, I simply wanted to take a moment again bring up the subject, and to refer the kind reader to one Lutheran wife's take on church art, which I particularly enjoyed.