Open or Closed Communion – Mike Morrell

Picking the eyes out of this fantastic blog post and comments on Open or Closed Communion by Mike Morrell…

Byzantine/Anglo-Catholic liturgist Richard Fabian makes a brief-but-compelling case for reversing the well-tread order of Baptism and Eucharist in his essay First the Table, Then the Font.

“If the Church wants to insist on a closed, bounded-set meal based on one night of our Lord’s life, shouldn’t it work equally vigorously to celebrate the scandalously inclusive, no-strings-attached manner of eating our Redeemer practiced during the vast majority of his public ministry?”  (…& even Judas got a gig at the last one!)

“I long to see creative, prophetic acts of public worship, like my friend Lucas Land proposes in Eucharist as Eat-In. If we unshackle Jesus from our exclusionary practices, the transforming love of God can spill into the streets and the ‘profane’ lives or ordinary people – through our supposed ‘means of grace’ that we keep shut up.”

“william cavanaugh explores the eucharist as an antidote to consumerism in his book Being Consumed.” – lucas

“So what do we do with this today? We make it about meticulous introspection before we sip a cup (or down a shot glass of grape juice) and eat a crumb. How atomized, individualized, and modern! I don’t mean to diss personal introspection for personal sin, but I feel like it’s become – literally and morally – “Honey, I shrunk the Eucharist.” It’s become a notional meal, a gesture of a meal, and our interpretation of Paul’s warnings in 1 Corinthians have likewise become individualized and not communal… (My scholarship on this is primarily informed by Australian scholar Robert Banks; his ‘Paul’s Idea of Community’ and ‘Going to Church in the First Century.’ Also BW3′s ‘Making a Meal of It,’ and for contemporary autobiography, Sara Miles’ ‘Take This Bread: The Story of a Radical Conversion.’)…

So for today: If we’re to have a redacted ritual (which I recognize is a practical necessity in many cases), it should be real bread (preferably baked by a congregant) and real wine, the Table should be open to all, but with increased responsibility placed on those who are known by the community, that the Body be properly discerned. This would doubtless extend to the Body partakers as they moved from curious to committed, and became better known themselves. But ideally – once a month maybe? – mission third way communities should host block parties, Love Feasts, that are healthy locally-produced potlucks where the neighborhood is invited. It’d be a come-as-you-are affair, but with Eucharist – thanksgiving for God’s bounty and gratuitous presence in our midst – as the center.

That’s what I’m working with these days anyway…Lucas Land has many more developed thoughts on this all the time via his What Would Jesus Eat? blog.”  – zoecarnate

“To my mind, it’s a distraction to talk about “inclusivity” as if our Table practice were about being nice, or friendly. The fact is, we need strangers, because eating with the wrong people changes everything for the faithful– not just for the nominal outsiders and sinners whose presence is, at best, tolerated. We find salvation in eating with strangers: “Blessed be God the Word, who came to his own and his own received him not, for in this way God glorifies the stranger.”

The single best way to know that it’s Jesus’ table–not ours— is the presence there of someone completely inappropriate.” Sara Miles   (see Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion)

The Pragmatism of the Didache:  The Eucharist as you’ve never heard it before… Carl Gregg

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