Tuesday, 23 March 2010


This has a 'not so tenuous' link with my previous post on Facebook.

Who do we communicate with, and what does that mean?

In response to Vic.

From the perspective of a 'host' church I see three broad positions on receiving communion:

1. Anyone who wants to take part may receive communion at the Lord's Table "This is not my table but the Lord's". I've seen this more at the evangelical/free church denominational boundary, and it is also where the purpose and value of confirmation is least understood/accepted.

2. All who communicate must be confirmed members of that denomination/church and occasionally a person who is not may be specifically invited for pastoral reasons to partake (as a gift) "This is the community of the faithful and we celebrate our shared beliefs and values". I've come across this at the Anglo/Roman Catholic boundary.

3. Confirmed members of the Anglican Church plus those communicant members of other churches that are in good standing with their own church-the current Anglican position.

Depending on which of these flags you stand closest to, the practice of other churches can seem to trivialise or to exclusivise Communion.

Which leads us to two questions?

What does Communion mean? Is it a memorial of things past, a celebration of the present (and presence), or a foretaste of the heavenly banquet? Or some combination of the above? We each have our own answers and I like Vic's tardis analogy.

Second, what does it mean to take communion with, to be in 'koinonia' with those around you-physically in that place at that time, and representationally with all those around the world, past, present and future?

Yes, it is a tardis-like honour to preside at the Table.
So far I have not refused communion to anyone, and can't imagine doing except in extremis.  Despite what I have been told by some people about their faith or understanding or lifestyle I try not to judge, but to love and pray for each person when I communicate them.  Beyond that though, I do ask myself how I can help individuals and groups to grow in that faith and understanding so that they can each exercise their own judgement with integrity, within the limits of their ability (children, alzheimers, disabled etc).
Just as belief can follow belonging, so I have seen that learning comes 'after' doing, "Act 'as if' and it will become so" is sometimes a good maxim to follow. If I recall my scriptures correctly, there are precendents... 5 'goody points' to those who can quote their favourite examples.
And as for why this blog may become private; I have limited energy, and it is at a very low ebb.  That too will pass.

No comments:

Post a Comment