I’ve been doing some thinking in preparation for a paper I’m presenting in a few weeks time. It is a consideration of the place of warnings prior to receiving the Lord’s Supper, and what our practice today should look like (and why). Here are the instructions to the Curate (assistant minister) that Cranmer set out in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. Given the plethora of readers of this blog, I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on what Cranmer instructed, as well as what you have found/done in your churches (particularly if you come from a non-Anglican/Episcopalian tradition).
So many as intend to be partakers of the holy Communion shall signify their names to the Curate, at least some time the day before.
And if any of those be an open and notorious evil liver, or have done any wrong to his neighbours by word or deed, so that the Congregation be thereby offended; the Curate, having knowledge thereof, shall call him and advertise him, that in any wise he presume not to come to the Lord’s Table, until he have openly declared himself to have truly repented and amended his former naughty life, that the Congregation may thereby be satisfied, which before were offended; and that he have recompensed the parties, to whom he hath done wrong; or at least declare himself to be in full purpose so to do, as soon as he conveniently may.
The same order shall the Curate use with those betwixt whom he perceiveth malice and hatred to reign; not suffering them to be partakers of the Lord’s Table, until he know them to be reconciled. And if one of the parties so at variance be content to forgive from the bottom of his heart all that the other hath trespassed against him, and to make amends for that he himself hath offended; and the other party will not be persuaded to a godly unity, but remain still in his frowardness and malice: the minister in that case ought to admit the penitent person to the holy Communion, and not him that is obstinate. Provided that every Minister so repelling any, as is specified in this, or the next precedent Paragraph of this Rubrick, shall be obliged to give an account of the same to the Ordinary [Bishop] within fourteen days after at the farthest. And the Ordinary shall proceed against the offending person according to the Canon.
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.