Thursday, January 18, 2007

Right of admission reserved

I have been asked to do a wedding. The bride is a member of my church, while her husband to be is Catholic. When we met for our first interview, they expressed the wish for me to share the service with his priest. The wedding will take place in our Methodist Church. They also asked to share in the Sacrament of Holy Communion - symbolic of their first meal together.

I already anticipated difficulty in conveying these wishes to the priest. I met him this morning and had a delightful conversation, until we spoke about Communion. The priest made it quite clear that he would have difficulty in sharing in a service where Holy Communion is involved, as it would be celebrated outside a Catholic Church. I was surpised, but at the same time, not really. I know the Catholic view on Nuptual Mass, Mass per se. I respect it, but I am hurt by it.

I am hurt by the fact that the Sacrament of grace cannot find its place outside a specific environment. I am hurt by the lack of recognition that God calls all different kinds of people to minister in God's Church. I am hurt for the couple's sake, for they have to make the decision whether to forsake Communion or ask the Priest not to partake.

When the Table is closed, it is not just the Table that is unaccessible. It leads to more things. It leads to bruised relationships, disappointment and an atmosphere of caution, rather than celebration.

I pray for wisdom. And healing.


digitaldion said...

If they want the sacrament, serve it! The priest is already treading across sacramental lines by allowing the sacrament of marriage to take place outside of a Catholic sanctuary. So, if he wishes to elevate the holy Eucharist above the sacrament of Marriage, then that is his choice, not yours and not theirs.

Let the means of grace be a means of grace. If he is bound in un-grace because of the stance of his denomination let the grace of your celebration fill the whole universe with the message of Christ who was also rejected by those he graciously gave himself to!

You are Christ's and so is the sacred table, and the fallible Church. Let no church edict render the grace of Christ valueless. Your ordination gives you the right, and the joy of making His grace visible, even in the midst of un-grace....

Rock in the Grass said...

Yes Church is a place of great pain: just as the way pregnant women are excluded from the table, and those who do not pay their dues are prevented from baptising their babies, and those who are not members cannot bury their families from a church. There is lots of painful stuff we as Church have to answer for!

Sharky said...

What does this say about the Methodist Church's not permitting the laity to celebrate the sacrament of holy communion? Do we not also have some dubious double-standards?

Just a thought!