"This is the generation of the great LEVIATHAN, or rather, to speak more reverently of that mortal god, to which we own under the immortal God, our peace and defense." -Thomas Hobbes: Leviathan
No matter how “low-church” the Anglophone Protestants maybe, it is surprising how most of them have a “superstitious” view of the Lord’s Supper. Consider for example the Westminster Confession of Faith which actually teaches a form of “consecrationism”, that is, that some act of the minister can make the bread and wine “holy”,
The Lord Jesus has, in this ordinance, appointed His ministers to declare His word of institution to the people, to pray, and bless the elements of bread and wine, and thereby to set them apart from a common to a holy use…
Thus, there remains the idea that the minister actually do set apart a specific set of bread and wine “apart from a common to a holy use”, etc, in effect performing a sort of consecration upon certain objects. When I was still in FCBC, I remember my Baptist cell leader saying that if they “consecrate” a packet of crackers, they must literally consume the whole lot or dispose of it properly, but they cannot just anyhow leave it lying around.
Believing in the spiritual virtues of a consecrated biscuit.
Anyway, according to my own “non-consecrationist” view of the Eucharist whereby the Body of Christ is presentED through the bread eaten and not simply present in the bread through some act of consecration on the minister’s part, there is no “moment of time” whereby the bread is the body of Christ. The Body of Christ is given through the *use* of the bread and not simply sitting in the bread after some act of consecration. When the bread is *eaten*, the Body of Christ is *given* to us, that is, when the bread is *used*, the promise is effected. But nowhere does this “receptionist” account presuppose any act of consecration.
Which brings me to the question of love feasts. I am not competent enough in history to judge whether the “love feasts” spoken in the New Testament, which were actual full blown meals, a real “feast” and not simply a cracker or wafer, is truly what the Eucharist is. But it is easy to see why those who subscribe to the “consecrationist” view might want to distinguish them. If there is truly some act which turns the bread into the Body or makes it holy, etc, then it becomes a “sacred object” and needs to be handled with care and reverence. It is impossible therefore to have a “feast” with copious quantities of bread and wine, eating freely and merrily, if you have Jesus in your midst sitting in your bread. You must consume t quickly and not commit sacrilege against it, making a feast-like Eucharist impractical and potentially sacrilegious.
But upon my receptionist account, there would be no such problems. There is no act of consecration which makes the bread/wine holy or turns it into the body/blood of Christ. You can have a feast, and then at some point of time in the feast, the “celebrant” or host of the feast calls everyone’s attention, prays and blesses the food, everyone takes a bite or piece of their bread and a sip out of their wine, thanks God for the promise, and continues their feasting. There is no “sacrilege” because the Body of Christ is given through the consumed piece of bread/wine, not by consecration of the whole lot.