“Let us consider then that this sacrament is a singular m
edicine for all poor,
sick creatures, a comfortable help to weak souls, and that our Lord requireth
no other worthiness on our part but that we unfeignedly acknowledge our
naughtiness and imperfection.”
Acknowledging without reservation our
get people on
the inside of the fence
depending on who gets to say
has adequately acknowledged said “naughtiness and imperfection
Fencing was and is not
without its politics, of course.
That’s what gatekeeping is all
bout. So it fell to the Session
in some early European Reformed contexts,
would visit homes and grant tokens for entry. In other
certain people and groups were literally blocked by more than verbal
alls or fences were built to protect the Table from defilement
Calvin, Knox, and other Reformers understood
fencing the Communion Table as an ex
the Corinthian church
when he s
he chaos of their Communion
. This chaos
was characterized by
before others arrived,
eating way more than their share while
others got nothing.
grew out of an impulse to make sure
sanctity of the
from behaviors that defiled it
The fencing practices of the Reformers, however, took an exclusionary turn. Instead
of protecting the sanct
ity of the Table by making room, by including,
protecting the sacrament became a practic
e of excluding, of turning away, of
however the Elders saw fit.
Born from a impulse to prevent violence and harm from diminishing the power of
he Lord’s Supper, Eucharistic Table Manners developed into a tool of violence and
far from protecting the Table from defilement, these fencing
have functioned as
of defilement of a meal Christ instituted to
e the world back home.
“What do I do with all these [darned] forks? I don’t want to make a fool of myself.”
calling his girlfriend during an interview
dinner with a prestigious law firm while they were stud
ents at Yale Law School.
When he sat down to dinner and saw nine utensils, including 3 spoons no less, he
had no idea how to navigate the table manners that were obviously expected.