Monday, April 06, 2009


On Thursday our readings will lead us back to the night in which Jesus was betrayed and shared, for the first time, what we no know as communion. So this morning I've been thinking about communion. I wonder if we as a church have soiled the practice through our traditions that attempt to keep "good order?" I find it interesting that over the years, because we hold communion in such high estate, we have decided that we need to put stipulations on who is allowed to participate and who is not. The chief deciding factor seems to be a clear understanding. That's why in some denominations you need to be a member of that church or in other denominations you need to be of a certain age so you can take the class to be allowed to participate.

I am sure there is good reason for this, but I also find it somewhat comical. For one, a big dividing point that has created a variety of different denominations is disagreement over the what communion means and what is really happening. When we gather around the table is it just a symbolic act? Is Jesus somehow "magically" appear in the bread and the wine? These are some serious differences, but also differences that brilliant church leaders and theologians have been unable to agree upon. How then can we require people to understand what is happening in communion if we don't even know? Does that mean none of us are eligible until we're dead and can ask God?

I also wonder about this need to understand to participate when I think of the disciples on that night. Do you suppose it all made sense to everyone of them in the moment? I imagine there was a lot more confusion than there was understanding. I can only imagine that as they were out in the garden waiting upon Jesus as he went off and prayed that there were a few whispered, "What the f*@# just happened in there?" between disciples. What makes us think we can understand it all?

Then there is this whole deciding who gets to participate and who doesn't business. How did we become so arrogant? I don't recall Jesus stipulating who was participating nor specific people that He died for in lieu of others. The words I speak each week are, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness of sin." Who, then, are we as a church to limit how "all people" should include?

It just kind of makes me wonder.

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