Lutheran: Holy Communion

Josiah

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This Sacrament, also known as the Eucharist or Lord’s Supper, may be thought of as “God’s way of hugging us.” Jesus shares the promised blessing: “This is My blood which is poured out for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:28).



While this Sacrament doesn’t play a huge role in Scripture, we know that it did in the earliest church. Christians cherished this Sacrament and included it in their Sunday worship.



Let’s carefully look at the relevant Scriptures here…



Matthew 26:26-29, “While they were still eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to His disciples, saying, ‘Take and eat, this is my body.’ Then He took the cup, (wine) gave thanks and offered it to them saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the new covenant which is poured out for many of you for the forgiveness of sins. I tell, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine (wine) again until I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom.”



1 Corinthians 11:23-29, “Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘This is my body which is for you, do this in remembrance of me. In the same way, He took the cup saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, do this, as often as you drink it, remembering me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner is guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment upon himself.”



Real Presence!



Historically, this has been one of the most stressed and treasured teachings of Christianity. As we look at the Scriptures, a literal reading embraces that the meaning of “is” is “is.” Jesus says “This IS my Body… this IS my Blood.” We believe that Christ is present in the Eucharist, fully, “for real” and this is the essence of the doctrine of Real Presence. We accept this “at His word” and as a mystery. Lutherans do not even attempt to get into the science or physics of all this – we don’t believe we are being cannibals (an early charge against Christians!) and we realize that it doesn’t look or taste like anything other than bread and wine, but we take Jesus at His word – and leave it at that. We don’t get into the questions of HOW or WHEN or WHY – we just accept that the word “is” means exists, present, “there.”


But while not specifically a part of our doctrine, we do not deny that bread and wine are present, too. As we look at the Scriptures, we see that after the Consecration, we find the realities referred to as bread, wine, body and blood – all FOUR, without any distinction or differentiation, and thus we just accept that all 4 are “real” and “there.” In a sense, all 4 are the “is.” The focus, of course, is entirely on the Body and Blood (so we speak of it as such), the bread and wine are fairly irrelevant (you can have bread and wine any day!) but we accept that bread and wine are equally “really there,” too. It is only the bread and wine that our senses perceive, but our faith perceives much more! The Eucharist is not just bread and wine, it is also Jesus! This is Real Presence.



Newer Catholic View….


Real Presence was the view from the earliest Christians, and is still the doctrine among Lutheran, Orthodox and many Anglican and some Methodist Christians. Technically, it's still ONE view of The Catholic Church although such has been largely "buried" by a new concept it invented in the Middle Ages called “Transubstantiation.” Technically, the unique Catholic dogma of Transubstantiation (1551) does not replace Real Presence (since, again, Real Presence is simply the literal affirmation that Christ is literally present) but adds to it.

The Catholic Dogma of Transubstantiation dogmatically rejects 2 of the 4 realities spoken of in the biblical texts – the bread and the wine. The new Catholic dogma states the bread and wine were converted into the body and blood (in a specific sense) and thus cease to exist in any real way (Catholicism says they exist only as an “Aristotelian Accidents” - from the pagan philosopher Aristotle’s theory of accidents); the Catholic Church now speaks only of the “appearance” of bread and wine “remaining” but insists that the bread and wine are not really “there.” The bread and wine were “transubstantiated” (from the concept of alchemy) into the Body and Blood of Jesus.


Transubstantiation was not a dogma in Luther’s day, but Luther and the Luther fathers did not embrace it. Nor did Reformed or Anglican Christians. They found this theory (coming out of medieval Catholic Scholasticism) to be textually baseless (again – the Bible says “is” not “converts” and the Bible speaks equally of FOUR things after the Consecration – Body, Blood, bread and wine) and simple irrelevant - a classic case of just going too far, applying too much human “stuff’. It does nothing to affirm Real Presence and focuses instead on the bread and wine – which just doesn’t matter much. There’s nothing achieved by embracing two abiblical pagan theories – from alchemy and Aristotle – to try to deny the bread and wine, especially since we all agree the bread and wine are not the point anyway. Lutherans simply don’t get into “scientific” theories here (much less make them dogma!), we rather leave the issue exactly where God does, and consider the issue as Mystery. If someone wants to embrace some pious opinion about HOW of all this (or a host of other matters), fine – but that doesn’t make it dogma. We simply embrace that what is said is literally true: IS…. BODY, BLOOD, BREAD, WINE. We just accept that. All of that. As mystery. Letting God have the last word.

Transubstantiation requires a “split interpretation” of the texts whereas 2 realities are taken literally and 2 are taken figuratively (essentially explained away) in spite of no textual indication for such a distinction. The 16th Century reformer Zwingli eventually did the same thing, only embracing the bread and wine as “real” and the body and blood as not “real,” requiring the same “split interpretation” of the texts, the same need to explain away 2 of the 4 things the Bible speaks of after the Consecration. Many modern
“Evangelical” Protestants (especially in the USA) eventually embraced Zwingli’s view. It affirms the bread and wine are “real” but the Body and Blood are not; they are “present” only in some symbolic “sense.”


Newer "Evangelical" View...


While Lutherans find the new Catholic essential denial of the bread and wine as pretty irrelevant (they don’t really matter), we find the typical Zwinglian/Evangelical denial of the Body and Blood more troubling – Jesus does matter!!! But in both cases, the Mystery is being subjected to science concepts, the issue seems to be what “can’t” be instead of what Scripture simply says is. Lutherans believe we should leave it as the glorious Mystery the Bible presents, letting God have the last word. It doesn’t matter if our brains can explain things scientifically, if we can’t explain “how can that be?” What matters is that our faith embraces the Mystery of Christ’s presence. Lutherans stick with the ancient, biblical affirmation of Real Presence – adding or subtracting nothing from it.


See below...



.
 

Josiah

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COMMUNION: Does "is" mean "is?"

Catholic, Lutheran, Evangelical answers to that.


Let's very carefully look at the Eucharistic texts, noting carefully the words - what Jesus said and Paul penned, and what they did not.


Matthew 26:26-29

26. While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body."
27. Then he took the cup (wine), gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you.
28. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
29. I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine (wine) from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's kingdom."


First Corinthians 11:23-29

For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread,
24. and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me."
25. In the same way, after supper he took the cup (wine), saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me."
26. For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.
27. Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.
28. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.
29. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself.



There are three basic "takes" on this in modern Western Christianity.....


REAL PRESENCE:
Orthodox, Lutheran, some Anglicans and Methodists.
"Is" means "is"
(real, present, exists)


Real Presence is:

1. Real Presence accepts the words of Jesus and Paul. Nothing added, nothing substracted, nothing modified.

2. Real Presence accepts that the meaning of is is is. This means that we receive Christ - quite literally, physically. When my pastor gives me the host, his exact words are: "Josiah, this is the Body of Christ."


Real Presence is NOT..

1. Real Presence is not a dogmatic denial of the words "bread" and "wine" AFTER the consecration as if we must take a "half real/half symbolic" interpretation of the text. It simply regards such as irrelevant. The point of Real Presence is the presence of CHRIST. It's not called, "The Denial of What Paul Wrote" because that's not what it is, it is the AFFIRMATION of what he penned and what Christ said: the body is, the blood is, CHRIST is present.

2. Real Presence is not a theory about anything or explanation regarding anything. It simply embraces EXACTLY and LITERALLY what Jesus said and Paul penned. The HOW and the physics are left entirely alone.

3. Real Presence doesn't teach or deny any "change." The word "change" never appears in any Eucharistic text and thus Real Presence has nothing whatsoever to do with that. Rather, it embraces what it IS - because that does appear in the texts and seems significant. "IS" means is - it has to do be BEING. If I say, This car is a Toyota, that doesn't imply that it was once a cow but the atoms were re-arranged so that now it is a Toyota. Accepting, "This is a Toyota" simply and only means this is a Toyota. It doesn't state what brand of car it USED to be or how it became a Toyota.

Now, without a doubt, the faith and conviction raises some questions. But Real Presence has always regarded all this to be MYSTERY. How it happens, Why it happens, exactly What happens - it doesn't matter. We believe because Jesus said and Paul so penned by inspiration. That's good enough for the Orthodox and Lutherans, as well as many Anglicans and Methodist. And was for the RCC until 1551 when the RCC alone dogmatized a second view about the Eucharist.


Orthodox, Lutherans and some Anglicans and Methodist embrace Real Presence. The Catholic Church does too but it has been entirely buried under it's own unique new secondary dogma, that of Transubstantiation, so much so that many Catholics I've found don't even know what Real Presence is, only the new unique RCC second dogma.



TRANSUBSTANTIATION: Modern Catholic Church.
"Is" means "changed via an alchemic transubstantiation leaving behind a mixture of reality and Aristotelian accidents."


This is a separate Eucharistic dogma of the individual Roman Catholic Church (alone), officially and dogmatically since 1551.

The Mystery of Real Presence does raise some questions (unanswered by Scripture). All regarded these as just that - questions (and irrelevant ones at that), until western Roman Catholic "Scholasticism" arose in the middle ages. It was focused on combining Christian thought with secular ideas - in the hopes of making Christianity more intellectual and even more to explain away some of its mysteries. It eventually came up with several theories about the Eucharist. One of these was "Transubstantiation."

Although no one claims there's any biblical confirmation of this, and while all admit it lacks any ecumenical or historic embrace, it should be noted that there are a FEW snippets from RCC "Fathers" that speak of "change." But, while Orthodox, Lutherans and others are comfortable with that word, it doesn't imply any transubstantiation. If I'm making pancakes and I've put in flour and now sugar, what's in the bowl has changed - but the flour did not.

"Transubstantiation" is a very precise, technical term from alchemy. You'll recall from high school chemistry class that alchemy was the dream that, via incantations and the use of chemicals and herbs, fundamental substance (we'll call such elements) may be transformed from one to entirely others (lead to gold was the typical objective). These western, medieval, Catholic "Scholastics" theorized that the Consecration is an alchemic transubstantiation.

This, however, caused a bit of a problem! Because, in alchemy, the transubstantiated substance normally would have the properties of the NEW substance, and one of the "questions" of Real Presense is why it still has the properties of bread and wine. Here these western, medival Catholic theorists turned to another pop idea of the day: Accidents. This came hook, line and sinker from Aristotle. He theorized that substance could have properties (he called them "accidents" - it's a very precise term for his theory) that are entirely unrelated to the substance. Sometimes called "ghost physics," the one part of his theory of "accidents" seemed especially useful to these medieval Catholic theorists. He stated that properties of one thing could CONTINUE after the actual causative substannce ceased. His example was lightening. Seeing the connection between lightening and thunder, but knowing nothing of wave physics, he taught that the SOUND of lightening continues long after the lightening ceased to exist: this is an "accident." This, then , is what we have in the Eucharist: ACCIDENTS of bread and wine (since, in transubstantiation, bread and wine no longer exist in any real physics sense - it was transubstantiated). No one claims that this has any biblical confirmation or that the RCC "father" referenced Aristotle's Accidents - even as pure theoretical pious opinion.

In Catholicism, there are TWO dogmas vis-a-vis the Eucharist: Real Presence and Transubstantiation. The later was first suggested in the 9th century and made dogma in 1551 (a bit after Luther's death), some say in order to anathematize Luther on the Eucharist since he did not affirm such. Luther regarded it as abiblical, textually problemmatic and unnecessary.


SYMBOLIC PRESENCE: Many Protestant denominations, generally in "Evangelicalism"
"IS" means "symbolizes, reminds"

Look again at the Eucharistic texts. An important aspect is (with apologies to Bill Clinton), what the meaning of "is" is....

While Real Presence was nearly universal, there have always been those few with "questions" that made this doctrine problematic for them. The mystery was difficult for them to embrace. This became far more common beginning in the 16th century. Some said that Christ CANNOT be present in the Eucharist because He is in heaven and CANNOT be here - physically anyway. To them, "is" cannot mean "is" - it MUST be a metaphor, it must actually mean "symbolize." Metaphor is certainly not unknown in Scripture, the question becomes: is that the case HERE?

This view stresses the "Remember me...." concept. They tend to see the Eucharist as an ordinance (something we do for God) rather than as a Sacrament (something God does for us), a matter of Law rather then Gospel.


One might summerize the 3 common views this way:


LUTHERANS: Is.... Body..... Blood..... bread..... wine....... All are true, all are affirmed. It's mystery.



ROMAN CATHOLIC: Body.... Blood..... THEY are true and affirmed, but "is" doesn't mean that and the bread and wine actually aren't, they are Aristotelian Accidents instead. It's an alchemic Transubstatiation.


EVANGELICALS: Bread.... Wine.... THEY are true and affirmed, but "is" doesn't mean that and the Body and Blood actually aren't, they are symbols instead. It's metaphor.



- Josiah


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Josiah

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Let's try it this way....

Read what is stated (always a good first step!)

Matthew 26:26-29

26. While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body."
27. Then he took the cup (wine), gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you.
28. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
29. I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine (wine) from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's kingdom."


First Corinthians 11:23-29

For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread,
24. and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me."
25. In the same way, after supper he took the cup (wine), saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me."
26. For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.
27. Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.
28. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.
29. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself.


Now, look for the following words above. Underline and embolden them each time they appear:

Was
Change
Seems like
Appears
Become
Not
Roman Catholic Church
Symbolize
Represents


Now, look for the following words above. Underline and embolden them each time they appear

This
Is
My
Body
Blood
Wine (cup)
Bread
Recognize
Forgiveness



.
 

Faith

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Let's try it this way....

Read what is stated (always a good first step!)

Matthew 26:26-29

26. While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body."
27. Then he took the cup (wine), gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you.
28. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
29. I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine (wine) from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's kingdom."


First Corinthians 11:23-29

For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread,
24. and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me."
25. In the same way, after supper he took the cup (wine), saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me."
26. For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.
27. Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.
28. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.
29. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself.


Now, look for the following words above. Underline and embolden them each time they appear:

Was
Change
Seems like
Appears
Become
Not
Roman Catholic Church
Symbolize
Represents


Now, look for the following words above. Underline and embolden them each time they appear

This
Is
My
Body
Blood
Wine (cup)
Bread
Recognize
Forgiveness



.
Good post
 

1689Dave

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This Sacrament, also known as the Eucharist or Lord’s Supper, may be thought of as “God’s way of hugging us.” Jesus shares the promised blessing: “This is My blood which is poured out for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:28).



While this Sacrament doesn’t play a huge role in Scripture, we know that it did in the earliest church. Christians cherished this Sacrament and included it in their Sunday worship.



Let’s carefully look at the relevant Scriptures here…



Matthew 26:26-29, “While they were still eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to His disciples, saying, ‘Take and eat, this is my body.’ Then He took the cup, (wine) gave thanks and offered it to them saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the new covenant which is poured out for many of you for the forgiveness of sins. I tell, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine (wine) again until I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom.”



1 Corinthians 11:23-29, “Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘This is my body which is for you, do this in remembrance of me. In the same way, He took the cup saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, do this, as often as you drink it, remembering me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner is guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment upon himself.”



Real Presence!



Historically, this has been one of the most stressed and treasured teachings of Christianity. As we look at the Scriptures, a literal reading embraces that the meaning of “is” is “is.” Jesus says “This IS my Body… this IS my Blood.” We believe that Christ is present in the Eucharist, fully, “for real” and this is the essence of the doctrine of Real Presence. We accept this “at His word” and as a mystery. Lutherans do not even attempt to get into the science or physics of all this – we don’t believe we are being cannibals (an early charge against Christians!) and we realize that it doesn’t look or taste like anything other than bread and wine, but we take Jesus at His word – and leave it at that. We don’t get into the questions of HOW or WHEN or WHY – we just accept that the word “is” means exists, present, “there.”


But while not specifically a part of our doctrine, we do not deny that bread and wine are present, too. As we look at the Scriptures, we see that after the Consecration, we find the realities referred to as bread, wine, body and blood – all FOUR, without any distinction or differentiation, and thus we just accept that all 4 are “real” and “there.” In a sense, all 4 are the “is.” The focus, of course, is entirely on the Body and Blood (so we speak of it as such), the bread and wine are fairly irrelevant (you can have bread and wine any day!) but we accept that bread and wine are equally “really there,” too. It is only the bread and wine that our senses perceive, but our faith perceives much more! The Eucharist is not just bread and wine, it is also Jesus! This is Real Presence.



Newer Catholic View….


Real Presence was the view from the earliest Christians, and is still the doctrine among Lutheran, Orthodox and many Anglican and some Methodist Christians. Technically, it's still ONE view of The Catholic Church although such has been largely "buried" by a new concept it invented in the Middle Ages called “Transubstantiation.” Technically, the unique Catholic dogma of Transubstantiation (1551) does not replace Real Presence (since, again, Real Presence is simply the literal affirmation that Christ is literally present) but adds to it.

The Catholic Dogma of Transubstantiation dogmatically rejects 2 of the 4 realities spoken of in the biblical texts – the bread and the wine. The new Catholic dogma states the bread and wine were converted into the body and blood (in a specific sense) and thus cease to exist in any real way (Catholicism says they exist only as an “Aristotelian Accidents” - from the pagan philosopher Aristotle’s theory of accidents); the Catholic Church now speaks only of the “appearance” of bread and wine “remaining” but insists that the bread and wine are not really “there.” The bread and wine were “transubstantiated” (from the concept of alchemy) into the Body and Blood of Jesus.


Transubstantiation was not a dogma in Luther’s day, but Luther and the Luther fathers did not embrace it. Nor did Reformed or Anglican Christians. They found this theory (coming out of medieval Catholic Scholasticism) to be textually baseless (again – the Bible says “is” not “converts” and the Bible speaks equally of FOUR things after the Consecration – Body, Blood, bread and wine) and simple irrelevant - a classic case of just going too far, applying too much human “stuff’. It does nothing to affirm Real Presence and focuses instead on the bread and wine – which just doesn’t matter much. There’s nothing achieved by embracing two abiblical pagan theories – from alchemy and Aristotle – to try to deny the bread and wine, especially since we all agree the bread and wine are not the point anyway. Lutherans simply don’t get into “scientific” theories here (much less make them dogma!), we rather leave the issue exactly where God does, and consider the issue as Mystery. If someone wants to embrace some pious opinion about HOW of all this (or a host of other matters), fine – but that doesn’t make it dogma. We simply embrace that what is said is literally true: IS…. BODY, BLOOD, BREAD, WINE. We just accept that. All of that. As mystery. Letting God have the last word.

Transubstantiation requires a “split interpretation” of the texts whereas 2 realities are taken literally and 2 are taken figuratively (essentially explained away) in spite of no textual indication for such a distinction. The 16th Century reformer Zwingli eventually did the same thing, only embracing the bread and wine as “real” and the body and blood as not “real,” requiring the same “split interpretation” of the texts, the same need to explain away 2 of the 4 things the Bible speaks of after the Consecration. Many modern
“Evangelical” Protestants (especially in the USA) eventually embraced Zwingli’s view. It affirms the bread and wine are “real” but the Body and Blood are not; they are “present” only in some symbolic “sense.”


Newer "Evangelical" View...


While Lutherans find the new Catholic essential denial of the bread and wine as pretty irrelevant (they don’t really matter), we find the typical Zwinglian/Evangelical denial of the Body and Blood more troubling – Jesus does matter!!! But in both cases, the Mystery is being subjected to science concepts, the issue seems to be what “can’t” be instead of what Scripture simply says is. Lutherans believe we should leave it as the glorious Mystery the Bible presents, letting God have the last word. It doesn’t matter if our brains can explain things scientifically, if we can’t explain “how can that be?” What matters is that our faith embraces the Mystery of Christ’s presence. Lutherans stick with the ancient, biblical affirmation of Real Presence – adding or subtracting nothing from it.


See below...



.
My view is that it's not what scripture says so much, but what it means. If we hyper-literalize everything we would all be out, handling snakes with the Appalacian Pentecostals.
 

Lamb

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My view is that it's not what scripture says so much, but what it means. If we hyper-literalize everything we would all be out, handling snakes with the Appalacian Pentecostals.

Well, your view isn't Lutheran and that's what the thread is about.
 

1689Dave

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Well, your view isn't Lutheran and that's what the thread is about.
Well, your view isn't Lutheran and that's what the thread is about.
I've learned a lot about the LCMS from you and others in how you represent them. I'm just asking questions and commenting. Is that wrong? If so I'll ask elsewhere.
 
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