Thursday, August 04, 2016
Open open communion
I am a little surprised that the church we've been attending practices not only "open" communion - meaning any person of faith can participate regardless of membership or denominational affiliation - but they apparently don't even require you to be a believer to partake of the elements. I like that.
I'm not going to go into detail about the difference between "open" and "closed" communion - you have google - but I grew up (in the faith) believing it needed to be much more strictly observed. I was always told you couldn't take communion "in an unworthy manner" (1 Corinthians 11:27). To most people I understood that to mean that if you aren't a Christian, or you have known sin in your life, you aren't welcome at the communion table.
At some point in my journey I was enlightened to the fact that, actually, NONE OF US is really "worthy" to take the body and blood of Jesus. It was then that I started questioning not only "closed" communion, but even the need to be a believer at all. Why couldn't someone come to the table as a means of searching for grace? As a means of reaching out to Jesus?
When I was pastoring I finally did start to open communion up to anyone who wanted to participate - even if you didn't understand it or know what it was, but you knew you wanted something else (as a way of searching for God, I guess). There were a few people who didn't take kindly to it, but by and large no one caused too big of a ruckus.
So, I really like that our current church practices open (really open) communion. They never place any stipulations on it, and even encourage it as a way to seek God. I know they have some kind of Lutheran affiliation, and even though I've been told, I can't remember (and don't really care). I also like our practice of the method of intinction (dipping) - and using real wine.
I've mentioned before how I used to not understand the significance of communion, but now I feel it should be a necessary part of any "worship" gathering. It really is a meaningful thing for me each week.