Tag Archives: Protestantism & Catholicism

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.}

” When the Saints go marching in…”

Today is All Saints Day.

Let me tell you a funny story. Last year All Saints Day fell on a Sunday. So the processional hymn{ I sang in the chior , this was before I focused my ministry exclusively on Christian Education.} Anyhow, the Pittsburgh Steelers{ MY TEAM} were scheduled to play the New Orleans Saints later that day. Anyhow, it was tough on me to stand tall & sing this hymn on the very day that the Steelers faced the Saints, the local favorite team here on the Gulf Coast. With God’s grace , I made it to my seat in the choir stall & after the opening collect my rector said” Did you notice what hymn we marched in to today? It’s when the SAINTS go marching in. Not when the Steelers go marching in, Sarah.” :O) Ha! :O)

Anyhow, when growing up pretty much in the Presbyterian tradition I knew little  about saints. My Roman Catholic family members sometimes wore medals with certain saint’s pictures depicted on them but I never understood why. After all, my thoroughly Protestant background taught me to pray ONLY to the triune God & that saints should not me ” worshipped”.  In spite of my Calvinistic Christian education during my teen years, I began to research { this was way before the Internet} saints as they * really* fit into the Christian Tradition.  Those of us of the Catholic Christian persuasion do not pray to saints. I repeat: WE DO NOT pray to saints!

It frustrates me when well-meaning but misled Protestant friends belittle the tradition of my Church, including her saints.  Though do not think one ned have  experiential ” I came to Jesus” moment in order to be a Christian, I respect that form of Christianity as much as I respect my own.

For instance, when I contemplate the life of St Catherine of Siena{ one of my patrons} I think about how her life & works set a good example for all Christians, but for me in particular. I also identify with St Benedict of Nursia. Benedict’s life & writings  showed me that a way of  ” radical hospitality” was a way to more closer walk with God. Catherine of Siena taught me that some women, in fact DO have spiritual  gifts for homiletics. To me, a major part of living out St Benedict’s ” radical hospitality” means learning about other faith traditions,including but not limited to other forms of Christianity.

As I continue this pilgrimage of life with my sister & brother Christians I’m appreciating more & more the Tradition of honoring saints on their feast days. { the day of their death…NOT their birthday, as I’d originally believed when I started this Anglican journey} I’ve read several books by saints & commentaries on their lives, works & theology .While some of their works are entirely too deep for my mind to grasp right now, others resonate with me immediately.

Saints were regular people, just as are you & me. They had their foibles, quirks, bad choices, illnesses & some even doubted their own faith. But that did not deter them from accomplishing great works for the Church in the Name of Christ.

If you are so led, research a saint and educate yourself on the life & work of him or her.

Amen.

Feast of All Saints 2011

One of my patrons: St Catherine of Siena

Bread and Wine & Gaga

Today is the first day of the Holy Triduum. Liturgical Christians everywhere will celebrate Christ’s Last Supper with a Mass followed by the stripping of the altar in preparation for Holy Friday & Holy Saturday. Until I joined The Episcopal Church, the Triduum meant nothing to me, as most Protestant churches observe Palm Sunday{ Minus the Passion narrative} And go an entire week without remembering what happened during Christ’s last week here on Earth. In my tradition, the Maundy Thursday Eucharist service includes the ” stripping of the altar, where members of the altar guild removed each & every adornment from the altar & nave. Usually our choir mistress chants a psalm{ currently the number of that psalm escapes my memory} and all kneel in silence. Its a very reverent yet spooky service.

This year, my priest is including foot-washing as part of our Maundy Thursday liturgy. I’m not quite sure if I’ll partake in the foot-washing, as I hate people touching my feet & also have a real distates for touching others’ feet. But we’ll see if I am so led by the Holy Spirit to partake in the ” yucky” yet very Biblical ritual of Maundy Thursday foot-washing.

On a completely off-topic note: I find it insulting that Lady Gaga released her latest song _Judas_ in the middle of Holy Week. While I recognize that not everyone observes Holy Week,many Christians of the Roman, Anglican & Eastern Orthodox Catholic traditions do so & to intentionally release a song with the title of _Judas_ is totally tacky. I’d ove to hear what my friends think of this choice of Gaga & her handlers. My guess is that she is pulling another shocking marketing stunt in order to increase her total sales. While I am all for free-market economics, I do think that decorum should be observed at all times, including when one is promoting a product or service. I am a firm believer in the First Amendment and if folks buy Lady Gaga’s ” music” that is their prerogative.

Disclaimer: Just because I do not like the music of one Lady Gaga does NOT mean I am a prude. I do enjoy the music of Paramore & Katy Perry, so plese do not put me ” out to pasture” with the ” old” people yet. :O) I do, however,find Lady Gaga’s music & countenence disgusting.

Blessed Triduum, y’all.

” My soul doth magnify…”

Sunday is IV Advent, also known as ” Mary Sunday”

The Lessons & Carols rehearsal last night at church reminded me of this simple fact when we practiced chanting the MAGNIFICAT in preparation for the Christmas Eve Lessons & Carols Mass. I love chanting the ” Mag” & the arrangement that we are using in Lessons & Carols is fairly simple.

The last time I chanted The Magnificat was during a special Evening Prayer service my parish did in thanksgiving & penitence for the sealing of the Deepwater Horizons well.

Out of all the Sundays in the Advent season, this one is by far my favorite. One of the total treasures of my Catholic{ Anglo-Catholic, but * still* Catholic. Sorry, Steve! } Christian tradition is the veneration{ and NOT Worship of….so many Protestants tell me that we catholics ” worship: Mary. This is a myth. We also do not ” worship” saints…but that is a whole other discussion}

Here is the text of The Magnificat, as per the Book of Common Prayer:

My soul glorifies the Lord, *
my spirit rejoices in God, my Saviour.
He looks on his servant in her lowliness; *
henceforth all ages will call me blessed.
The Almighty works marvels for me. *
Holy his name!
His mercy is from age to age, *
on those who fear him.
He puts forth his arm in strength *
and scatters the proud-hearted.
He casts the mighty from their thrones *
and raises the lowly.
He fills the starving with good things, *
sends the rich away empty.
He protects Israel, his servant, *
remembering his mercy,
the mercy promised to our fathers, *
to Abraham and his sons for ever.

On Sunday I plan to wear ” sarum blue” in honor of the Mother of Our Lord. :O) Until two Advents ago, I did not know that the Anglican tradition sometimes uses blue as the color of Advent.

Convention 2011: Wh00t!

Today we had ONE Mass followed by our parish’s Annual meeting{ and THEN followed by a monthly Potluck!} Although I generally am not a fan of annual parish meetings, this one went by well. 201o was an…unusual year for me & my parish. But its all good now. When I was a Presbyterian I HATED congregational meetings & the still are far from my favorite part of life as an Episcopalian. But let me go on record as saying that Anglican Partish Annual Meetings are really not as trying as are the similar sorts of meetings I attended as a Presbyterian.

I. Love. My . Parish! :O)

We elected two new Vestry members & three Convention delegates. And….I am going to Convention as a VOTING delegate. Last year I went, but went as my parish’s alternate delegate. This year, I actually have a vote. :O) Plus, the format of the Convention will be the usual three-day{ well, more like two-and-a half days} event in Fairhope, Alabama. My parish has a GREAT group of delegates for the 2011 Central Gulf Coast Convention & of course it shall be wonderful to see my friends from around the Diocese at Convention.

An added joy this year will be the ordination of the Diocese’s first class of vocational { permanent, for all my Roman Catholic friends} deacons. My dear Cursillio sister-in-Christ, Susan, will be among those ordained & I am triple glad that I get to personally witness her ordination into the Order of { vocational} Deacons. Susan, I am so so so so proud of you!

Understanding God in differences

Ouch.

Clearly I am * still* smarting from the hurt by a certain group of people. Although I am at a * much* better place than I was over two years ago * still* smart from how I was treated before & after I left the Presbyterian church. They not only hurt ME badly, they also hurt the children of my Episcopal parish last summer when there lay leadership decided{ after a ten-year-long tradition} to stop co-sponsoring VBS with my parish. They gave us no reason & as a result the children of my small parish did not have an opportunity for VBS last summer.

It is bad enough that all but one family from that church shunned me totally….but to shun MY parish after years of shared VBS ministry is, to me, totally almost unforgivable.

++ Katharine Jefferts-Schori, in her book_ A Wing & A Prayer_ ” there are all kinds of ways we meet God. There are all kinds of ways that we understand God. Or don’t understand God, which is probably a whole lot closer to the truth.”

In the same sermon, ++ Katharine continues to say that we are ALL part of the same human community,no matter how we understand God.

I stll do not understand why they acted as they did{ and apparenly continue to act…} Being shunned from one community , even when one has left it, is painful. But what doubles the pain I feel from this situation is how they included my current faith community in their collective shunning. :O(

Once again, ++ Katharine’s words help….now my charge is to find out exactly how to put this advice into action.

wedding bells

 I went to a wedding in Georgia this past weekend. It was lovely & I am * very* happy for the bride & groom. { Congrats Michael &  Elizabeth. Many many happy years together! }

The wedding was held on the beautiful campus of Berry College in north Georgia. This ceremony took place in one of THREE chapels/ churches on the huge campus. Frost Chapel is really an architectural treasure & I have photos posted on my Facebook account in anyone is interested in seeing what it looks like. { I apologize for the poor quality of the altar area photos, as my little  Canon Power Shot camera isn’t the best at taking photos in low-light}

 But what I * really* wanna know is why Protestants do not view marriage is one of the 5 sacramental rites as do we catholic Christians? It is true that the two main sacraments of our Church are Baptism & Eucharist, but what I want to know is the reason for the Protestants’ decision to do away with all the other sacramental rites of the Church?  I was baptized & spent most of my faith life as a Presbyterian & * always* was puzzled as to why mainline Protestantism  denies te importance of the rites of marriage, confirmation, ordination, reconciliation and unction of the sick.

Bayside Confession

 Today  during our weekday Mass we learned more about our sacramental rite of reconciliation.

My priest says that he * did not* read my mind, but sometimes it is amazing how the Holy Spirit works through all of us…as I had been prepping to make my second  reconciliation . As a matter of fact{ oops} my cell phone rang during Mass this morning &   the reason for the phone call had to deal with scheduling my Confession.

 I’ll make my Confession at Beckwith Camp & conference Center tomorrow  afternoon. BCCC is located on gorgeous Weeks Bay in southern Alabama & is my Diocese’s  camp & conference facility. It is a beautiful facility & I am looking forward to seeing it again….the last time I was there was for a Central Gulf Coast Cursillio closing.

 It has been over one year since I’ve made my first { & so far only} confession & I am way overdue.  As Anglicans we approach reconciliation with the attitude  that” all may, some should but none must” make a Confession.  I know that if I HAD to make a Confession, I’d approach this rite with  much less enthusiasm  as I hate folks telling me that I * must* do anything.

But since Confession is not a requirement  for we Anglican Christians I approach this rite with more open-heartedness than I would if canon law dictated  how often I go to Confession.  Even though  I need not have made a Confession in order to be confirmed in The Episcopal Church, this was something that I felt that I wanted and needed to do as part of my pre-confirmation preparation. I come from the Reformed, Calvinist Presbyterian tradition but since I came of age in a community with a majority of the population  as Roman Catholic, I knew more about the 5 sacramental rites than your average Protestant girl.

” I Am An Anglican”

One of my friends introduced me to this cute Episcopal camp song…here are some of the words.

Sung to the tune of _ God Bless America_

Not a Presby,
Nor a Luth’ran
Nor a Baptist, white with foam;
I am an Anglican –
Just one step from Rome!
I am an Anglican —
Via Media, Bom Bom

The first verse has something about we Anglican Catholics as being ” protestant”  , so I intentionally left that part out of bot my Facebook quote & today’s blog. We are NOT Protestant!  :O) I know some of my dear friends will disagree with me on this, but I don’t care.  Trust me, no Prot Christian will submit to the authority of a bishop…among other differences.

Yup , I’m proud to be ” one step away from Rome” . I tend to think that we Anglo-Catholics are the more improved & updated Catholics.

50 days with KJS: Day 3

Day 3: Collective Memory

{Mark 22-25}

That  section of The Gospel of Mark is my favorite  of all the stories in which Our Lord institutes the Lord’s Supper.  Jesus says:

“While they were eating he { Jesus} took a piece of bread, and after blessing it, broke it, have it to them & said ‘Take, eat this is my body. Then he took a cup, & after giving thanks he gave it to them and all of them drank from it. He said to them ‘ This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many….”

 Bishop Katharine, in today’s sermonette sermonette, says that the verb ” to remember” has a far deeper meaning for we Christians.  She says that by the act of gathering together at the Table to receive Eucharist we  ” re-member” all of Christ’s Body.  Think about it. When we come forward to receive Eucharist, we Catholic Christians kneel or stand beside our siblings-in-Christ who can hold different world views, be of another race or sexual orientation,  be well-off or in financial need, both male & female, young children  & the elderly.

SHe says that  the sacramental act of gathering at the Communion table for Eucharist is an act  in which we see a glimpse of  ” Shalom. I agree with her .   My former Protestant tradition  only celebrates Communion   sporadically & they do * not* believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist as we do{ therefore, dear low-Church friends, we Anglican Christians are NOT PROTESTANT! But that discussion is neither here nor there}

Bishop Katharine says

” Remembering is about the truths of our faith as well as making the possibilities real now  in the future.”

 When we go forward to receive Eucharist, we  become part of something that is so much bigger than any of us, or even our Church.  At choir practice on Wednesday evening my parish choir practiced a gorgeous  hymn  entitled _ In Remembrance of Me_  The words  are something like this

” In remembrance of Me/ feed the poor/ In remembrance of Me/ heal the sick”

 As Christians of any  denomination, we are called to live out our faith  by helping those who  are needy.  Someone { and I cannot remember who} once told me that the word Eucharist  comes from the Greek word for THANKSGIVING.  THis same person also  said that we are not only called to  receive Eucharist on a regular basis but also to BE Eucharist.

 As the  effects of the floods in Tennessee continue to  spread heartbreak among the people there, as the looming oil spill  creeps closer to US Gulf beaches, as millions of Americans  deal with the reality of an economic  downturn, let us re-member that we are all welcome at God’s Table, even & perhaps especially those who  feel hopeless , alone or despondent.

Amen.