trusting the power of Christ in the SacramentPosted: August 5, 2013
It’s no secret that I am a believer in open Communion, and that I was disappointed that the last General Convention of the Episcopal Church failed to change the policy of baptism being required for Communion. So I am happy to know that most priests and bishops of whom I am aware conveniently ignore that canon.
Jennifer Phillips writes a marvelous piece over at Episcopal Café in which she describes how she meets each person where she or he is, and gives the host to those who wish to receive, while giving a blessing to those who are not comfortable receiving. She writes about giving Communion to a woman who turned out to be Jewish, but who “had a sense of the presence of God in the service and sermon…and thought it would be right to do what others were doing around her.” Phillips wrote, “I trust the power of Christ in the Sacrament.”
All sorts and conditions of people are drawn to the rail for all sorts of reasons conscious and unconscious, in a great variety of states of preparedness and unpreparedness. There’s always lots of teaching going on to help form people in our sacramental life, but the plain truth is that the power of God in the liturgy touches, moves, transforms, and attracts people right then, and at the rail doesn’t seem a good place to question beyond “do you desire to receive the Body of Christ?” At the heavenly throne I’d much rather be explaining why I fed some people inappropriately than why I failed to feed some who hungered and thirsted for God and put their hands out; and I’d rather give an extra blessing with a touch to someone who is drawn forward than explain they should be satisfied with a general blessing at the end. Like grain, in full measure, poured out, spilling over into one’s lap, this love and graciousness of God in the sacrament of the altar.
Thank you Rev. Phillips. I’m glad your views are reflective of those of so many Episcopal priests.