Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Only a church nerd like me would say, "Hey! Let's stop at that National Shrine to Our Lady of Consolation!"The Good Wife had to stay and nurse #3, so I took #1 and #2 to check out the shrine. As it happened, a celebration of the Holy Eucharist was going on and we found a seat. Now, this is Ohio, north of Columbus, it was very hot and no AC, the kids were champs though. Once the Good Wife and #3 joined us, it was time for prayers and then the Communion. Out of respect for the Roman Traditions, I did not receive, and neither did the children (they were not happy about that at all). It was very touching for me to see the Good Wife receive communion, as a confirmed Roman Catholic. But I also felt the division in Christ's Body over this fundamental Christian practice. The big thing in the Episcopal Church right now is over what is called Open Communion, it means to give the Holy Eucharist to anyone regardless of their baptismal status. I could go on about this, but suffice it to say that the issue is wrapped up in scripture, theology, history, sociology, welcome, distinctiveness and other sundry big ideas; in other words it is a perfect Episcopal kind of issue. But sweating and worshiping with all those other Christians and knowing that I would not be sharing in the Holy Sacrament with them, brought to bear how far the Episcopal Church has come toward a true ecumenical respect in the Eucharist. We may never have true, visible Christian unity, but it wouldn't be all that hard to unify, a great majority of the world's Christians simply by allowing Christians baptized into the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, to be able to share the meal that Jesus left us.