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Coptic Orthodox Church
Shower after communion
edited November 2014
I know that it is considered a sin to shower after communion however today after communion I took a nap and had a wet dream. After which I took a shower. Could anyone tell me if I sinned?
It is not a sin to take a shower after communion. Like at all. Our God is so much bigger than folklore.
Of course it is not a sin, but as Coptic Orthodox Christians we rate symbolism highly and live by it even outside the church (commonsense) and not folklore as
referred to such. Copts take it that the body is holy, pure and clean through Communion so there is no necessity to clean up again (of course provided no major need for such, because as
said God is bigger than such things [nonetheless they are quite big in the eyes of God as they are done for Him]). And in addition, canons do say that people should wash up before going to have Communion anyway (yes, canons). Those are the reasons that I know of.
I think it comes from people thinking that you spit a lot in the shower and after communion you might still have The Body and Blood in your mouth, like in your teeth maybe but as stated above, not a sin.
also in the old days, people would wash in public baths or rivers etc. so they could get cuts on their feet and we should take care not to bleed after Holy Communion.
that's why we are not supposed to go swimming.
before i understood why we shouldn't go swimming, i went paddling in the sea with my teenage friends (up to the ankles) because we were visiting a church near the sea!
i thought it was ok because we were not actually getting wet.
thanks to God, we didn't get any cuts! if it happened again, we would try to go down on the saturday to the sea and go swimming, then stay over in the church ready for Holy Communion on sunday.
so as our friends have said, these are guidelines, not laws, and of course if i did gardening or worked in refuse recycling on sunday afternoon, i would wash before sleep, it's not wrong.
what you should avoid is not bothering to wash saturday and then getting up too late to wash on sunday and then having your routine shower just after Holy Communion. this might indicate laziness.
in some cultures, people wash less anyway.
i know someone (in another country) who took a bath on friday evening ready for sunday morning Holy Communion!
i think she felt she would be too busy on saturday to wash.
this lack of washing may make you unpopular with your coworkers, but it is not wrong!
just now, i had a bit of inedible wood (a piece of stalk or something) stuck in my teeth when eating a vegetable dish.
i took Holy Communion today
but i didn't have to swallow an inedible piece of wood just in case i accidently spit out some Holy Communion!
i put it in the bin.
it would be different if you deliberately ate a bowl of olives, spitting out all the stones after Holy Communion, i think this is a lack of reverence.
not that this is worse than being mean or gossiping or anything else that we may be tempted to do in church, but you should show respect.
so what really matters is your attitude and motives.
so i wouldn't worry about it.
may God guide you and give you a peaceful week
edited November 2014
Look, I agree with what people have said here, that do not be bogged down by folklore theology. Eucharistic piety, like avoiding spitting and keeping Sunday holy is good (and swimming is about keeping Sunday holy, not about avoiding spitting; if someone is drowning and you're a lifeguard who took communion, you are encouraged to swim and spit all you can to save that life), and you should strive for that, but it is not a terrible heresy or sin or if you get a cut and bleed before or after the Eucharist. The body and blood is not desecrated by physical actions in you. It is your heart that God desires.
Ask yourself this question. Which is better: a man who fights against sin but who bleeds and spits after communion or a man who does not try to change his life, but avoids bleeding and spitting after communion? If you can answer this question, then you have learned maturity in thinking.
Also my dear friend, a wet dream before or after communion in no way desecrates the communion either. You should read
St. Athanasius' letter to the monk Amun
. Very enlightening, and a breathe of fresh air really.
So no, you did not sin. You did the right thing by showering, even if it was after communion.
I texted Abouna specifically one time just to ask him if it's wrong to take a shower after communion.
He said, "No."
I hope you don't take this the wrong way. But if you are an adult, then I pity you. If Abouna texted the answer to you when you were a teen, that is understandable.
edited November 2014
No, that sounded harsh and highly judgmental.
It's not my fault my parents don't tell me these things.
And Im not the only one with this question.
My dear friend,
What are going to get out of saying Abouna told you No after reading the answers here? If Abouna told you No, don't do it. That's all I can tell you.
I asked him if it was WRONG and he said NO
Oh, then my apologies CopticStrength. I misread that and I ask you to forgive me.
Before we are "coptic" as a faith expressed through culture, we are Christians, meaning we follow the teaching of Christ who damned the focus on symbolism. Symbolism is used as a free expression of that faith which is within us. The faith which sets us free. But if the symbol becomes a bind, it must be rid from our hearts and our traditions since it contradicts the law of liberty sealed by Christ himself. I stand by the idea of this concept of not washing as "folklore" just as much as people who say that it is inappropriate to brush ones teeth prior to communion for fear of breaking the fast.
We cannot let the faith be buried under legalisms of bleeding and the like. If we do that, we end up on a wild goose chase. Should someone taking Bile Acid Sequestrates then not take communion lest, in the GI tract, the Bile Acid Sequestrate bind to the mysteries? Such legalism renders us jewish, and has no place in the faith of freedom, that of XC.
As long as you respect the mysteries, and honor them in your actions and by not walking out of church and spitting on the ground before you get into a hood brawl, then you're golden. And as regards eating olives or lib or the like, I'm not even sure as to where I stand on that. We were taught, as young bucks, that you have to wait 9 hours before you could eat seeds or olives etc. But who's to say that after 9 hours, there isn't some molecular residue of the Eucharist on my teeth. Its at least possible (unless I brushed my teeth which I would expect people to set me on fire for.) You see? It gets ridiculous and distracting. If we focus on Christ, showering after communion isn't that big of a problem. After enough time for me to have flushed my mouth with food or water, there is no problem with enjoying a Sunday afternoon swim with my family.
this is off topic and probably a silly question but where does Christ damn the focus on symbolism?
I know this is addressed to RO, but I'm personally confused at the question? Could you perhaps restate it?
RO said, "Before we are "coptic" as a faith expressed through culture, we are Christians, meaning we follow the teaching of Christ who damned the focus on symbolism."
I was hoping he could expand more on that and maybe give some verses and references, as Rem always loves
Ah, I see. I'll let RO answer, but I suspect he meant strict legalisms and rituals for the sake of being legalistic and ritualistic.
Christ condemns and damns all worship where the focus is not him. If the focus of worship is symbolism, then the focus is not XC himself. This is not to say that symbolism is unimportant. But it is to say that it is not nor should it be the focus. The focus is on the unity of the heart with God in worship. I'm not sure you would disagree with me that Christ had damned a worship that is not focused on God, and so I'm not sure I would need to give references, but I'll do that anyways in the interest of promoting discussion. "Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy saying, 'These people draw near to me with their tongues...teachings as doctrines, the commandments of men." (Matthew 15: 7-9) Or when he condemns the pharisaic focus on washing the cup and dish.
Yes, Minasoliman summarizes the intent of my post
Ah I got it, thanks guys!