Sabbatical Day Eight: Reading and sketching at Carluccio’s and Birmingham Library


My plans to study at Birmingham Library have been frustrated by the discovery that the library only opens at 11am daily! Carluccios, however, provided a lovely space for reading and sketching, with Italian hot chocolate and a croissant.

As the doctrine of the Lord’s Supper grows and develops in my mind, I am aware of the need for pictures to help new believers from non-English speaking backgrounds, those with lower educational attainment and our children grasp what God is doing when we gather as a church for communion. Here’s the early development sketches with draft commentary. Comments are most welcome, especially from theologians with a developed Reformed theology of communion. My ideas for the study guide are to create simple sketches and captions which will will create an appetite to study the liturgy and associated catechism.

What happens in church?

1. What happens when the church gathers?

God's people sing praise to God for the greatness of who he is and what he has done.

2. God’s people sing praise to God for the greatness of who he is and what he has done.

God speaks as his word is preached. The word points us to Jesus and makes his people sorry for their sins. They say sorry in the words of confession and trust in Jesus.

3. God speaks as his word is preached. The word of God points people to Jesus and makes his people sorry for their sins, which separate them from God and divide the people of the world. They say sorry by praying the prayer of confession, in which they turn away from sin and put their trust in Jesus.

The word also points us to Jesus who beat dewath and is now seated in the heavenly realms.

4. The word also points believers to Jesus who defeated death for his people and is now seated in the heavenly realms.  The Holy Spirit makes faithful hearts thankful and He fixes the eyes of faith on Christ.  This makes the believer joyful and ready to receive Christ.

As believers eat and drink the communion meal, the bread and wine are signs of Jesus' broken body and shed blood. Believers put their faith in Jesus and so eat and drink the signs of his body and blood. As they do, the Holy Spirit unites true believers to Jesus so that he is in us and they are in him.

5. Gathered believers are invited by an authorised minister to take and eat the bread and drink the wine, the body of Christ broken and blood poured out.  He warns them not to eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ.  Believers have faith in Jesus and so eat and drink the signs of his body and blood. As they do this, the Holy Spirit unites true believers to Jesus so that he is in them and they are in him.

As the Holy Spirit unites believers to Jesus, when they eat and drink the signs of his body and blood with faith in him, they are raised up and seated with Jesus in the heavenly realms.

6. As the Holy Spirit unites believers to Jesus, when they eat and drink the signs of his body and blood with faith in him, they are raised up and seated with Jesus in the heavenly realms.

By being united to Jesus by faith, the work of Holy Spirit and the act of eating which is prompted by faith, all true believers are united to Jesus and so to one another as one body.

7. By being united to Jesus by faith, the work of Holy Spirit and the act of eating which is prompted by faith, all true believers are united to Jesus and so to one another as one body.

I’ve finished “Given for You” by Keith A. Mathison. Chapter 8 provides lots of useful, simply put, descriptions which explain the diagrams above. He also has many proof texts and references which will be useful when I begin to compile the study guide and catechism.

Archbishop Cranmer’s Immortal Bequest by Samuel Leuenberger begins with a foreword by J.I. Packer who says “Looking at a familiar object from an unfamiliar angle can be an illuminating experience.” Leuenberger is a German scholar who stumbled on Anglican liturgy when in America. He became interested in the development of Reformed liturgy, not just doctrinally, but historically and biographically. He gives a fascinating summary of the interactions between Peter Martyr, Bucer and Hooper as well as the Archbishops Cranmner’s relationship with Henry VIII and Mary I and Grindal’s with Elizabeth I. I’m half way through the book and tomorrow will look at the liturgy in detail.

Ros Clarke reminded me to read her paper The Function of the Words of Institution in the Celebration of the Lord’s Supper and to make a little change to box 5.  Thank you, Ros.

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3 Responses to Sabbatical Day Eight: Reading and sketching at Carluccio’s and Birmingham Library

  1. Ros says:

    I don’t think it’s ‘As believers hear the words which Jesus said at the Last Supper, the bread and wine become signs of Jesus’ broken body and shed blood.” I think it’s as they are broken and poured out, and as they are eaten and drunk. See here: http://www.theologian.org.uk/church/wordsofinstitution.html

  2. neilrobbie says:

    Edited box five to suit.

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