Communion and Shalom

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CW: Brief discussion of the #MeToo movement.

I wrote a piece reframing the conversation about communion and baptism within a conversation about shalom and the total well-being and thriving of our neighbor.

“Just as a friend or even a stranger can be invited to a family dinner should they turn up at mealtime, so the unbaptized may turn up at the rail, hungry for something they don’t yet even know exists. If the manner in which we eat the Lord’s supper is faith (BCP Article 28), and faith is itself a work of the Spirit in the heart, then the budding and unrecognized faith of many may bring them to the rail for reasons they cannot yet articulate, as the Spirit draws them to God.

Does this diminish from the sacredness of communion or the need to prepare one’s heart before receiving? I would argue it does not, for the desire of that person may be much purer than those who — though baptized — are receiving from habit or rote, and not letting the act of communing with Jesus each week have any discernible impact on their day-to-day life. In fact, the latter model for receiving communion should be considered dangerous. After all, communion is a recommittal to our union with Christ, and is, as Carole Bailey Stoneking put it, “…deadly work because it forms us into people ready to die for what we believe.” This holds perfectly with admonishment in the prayer book that “The Wicked, and such as be void of a lively faith … yet in no wise are they partakers of Christ: but rather, to their condemnation, do eat and drink the sign or Sacrament of so great a thing” (BCP Article 29). In other words, I think it would do many of us in the church a great good to consider our own manner of receiving and let God sort out what’s happening when, on occasion, an unbaptized person is drawn to the table.”

Read the rest here.