Tuesday, August 19, 2008

What are your thoughts?

I know my posting has been inconsistent lately (for those who like to check regularly). I think I have baby on the brain a bit.

Yesterday I had the privilege of attending a funeral for the brother of a couple of members of our congregation. The funeral was at a Catholic church. It was a full mass with communion and for the most part really well done. Sitting through communion, though, got me to thinking and I'm wondering if there is somebody out there that can help me understand because I genuinely don't get it (and I'm not trying to pass judgment as I ask this).

How is it that denominations (like Catholics) come to an understanding of closed communion (that understanding that only members of that denomination or even congregation is allowed to fully participate in communion)?

I ask this because it really does go against my understanding of communion. During the words of institution the priest spoke words almost identical to what I might say on Sunday morning, "Again, He (Jesus) took the cup, gave thanks and gave to all to drink saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood shed for you and for ALL people for the forgiveness of sin. Do this in remembrance of me.'" So the bold print isn't normally there, but I put it in emphasize where I am coming from on this topic. If this act was done by Christ for all people, why would we (as a church) try to limit who is allowed access to this saving act of grace? It sounds rather egotistical to me because I hear us (as a church who practices closed communion) as suggesting that we know better than Jesus who this is for.

So that would be my biased, probably even judgmental, understanding. I do, honestly, want to understand why you would practice closed communion. Can anybody help? I do know it did not feel very welcoming to me (a high value for me in a congregation).


DogBlogger said...

I can't help. I'm with you.

And actually, I'll be even more literally "with you" if the ELCA approves the full communion agreement with the UMC at its big meeting next year. I happily voted for it at United Methodist General Conference a few months back.

Anonymous said...

Growing up in the Wisconsin Evengelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), closed or "close" communion has always been a discussion topic between friends of differing faiths. Close communion is a topic discussed on the WELS website such as the following question and answer topic found at http://www.wels.net/cgi-bin/site.pl?process&procID=1518&cuQA_qaID=1&cuTopic_topicID=57&cuItem_itemID=9265. I would be interested in your thoughts after a review of this.