Advent with ++KJS Day 8 ” How can We Keep from Singing?”

Today is Day 8. Bishop Katharine gave me a challenging meditation on which to ponder.

She tells a story of bringing Communion to some residents in a nursing home. In this particular nursing home , Bishop Katharine inadvertently gave Communion to a Jewish woman who had come to receive the Bread & Cup of life.

Now according to our Church’s canons, one must be a baptized Christian in order to receive Eucharist. Those who are not yet baptized but wish to come forward during Mass can receive a God’s Blessings in the form of words pfrom the priest. Unlike our Roman Catholics some Lutheran synods, we Anglicans do not practice a truly ” closed” Communion. Ideally anyone who comes to the altar for communion does so because she or he believes that Jesus Christ died & was raised from the dead in atonement for our sins.

I do not agree with the closed Communion policies of the Roman Church, & some synods of the Lutheran Church. yet I can see why ou Anglican tradition’s canons have the policy about all baptized Christians invited to receive at our Table. Yet I can also see the arguments of some Presbyterians whose position is that ALL are welcome at the Lord’s Table.

A few years ago I read a fabulous book by Sara Miles called _ Take This Bread_ .

Ms Miles, a self-proclaimed lesbian, super-liberal atheist suddenly found herself sitting in Mass at St Gregory Of Nyssa Episcopal Chuch in San Francisco. Miles says that she walked into the nave of the building simply because of curiosity. Her experience of inclusion in our Church’s Holy Communion was the catalyst for a radical change in her life. Not only did Ms Miles eventually get baptized, her initial experience of Church was when the priest let all the canons surrounding reception of Holy Communion go & do what God asked of him.

St Benedict of Nursia said that rules are meant to be a guide to follow…not a rigid law. Hmm.

Maybe our Canons should be revised at the next General Convention to permit priests to allow ” seekers” to receive Communion. Our Mass is not for members of an exclusive club. A Presbyterian minister I once knew when I was younger always ended he Prayer before Communion by saying” The feast of God for the People of God.”

Amen. { Thank you Reverend Nan of the Presbyterian Church, USA for your inspiration for me to live out the tough questions of faith.}

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