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11.29.2005    |    Speaking of communion...
There are quite a few things that separate Catholics from the rest of us Christians. One of the harshest on the part of Rome is their lack of hospitality at the communion table. They've got their reasons, which I don't find convincing in the least, for they are but men, and not God.

That out of the way, I can tell you from personal experience (I was Roman Catholic) that serious Catholics are among the most dedicated Christians on this planet. Serious Catholics take their Eucharist neat, and fill themselves with the glory that is Christ.

Thought I would share this editorial description of one of those "how-to" books: "How To Get The Most Out Of The Eucharist." You could call this a checklist for the Eucharist:
Serve (Obey the command that Jesus gave to his disciples at the first Eucharist.) Adore (Put aside anything that seems to rival God in importance.) Confess (Believe in God’s power to make up for your weaknesses.) Respond (Answer in gesture, word, and song in unity with the Body of Christ.) Incline (Listen with your whole being to the Word of God.) Fast (Bring your appetites and desires to the Eucharist.) Invite (Open yourself to an encounter with Jesus.) Commune (Accept the gift of Christ in the Eucharist.) Evangelize (Take him and share the Lord with others.)
Which among these things do we find abhorrent? By themselves, in their plain meanings, I say none. The problems arise when the Eucharist is fetishized and swamped with needless ritual, and when it becomes the property of priests, and not all the people. I find nothing in the Gospels where Jesus instructed us to only take communion from a priest. Given Jesus' tussles with the temple priests, this should come as no surprise. Jesus shares His body and blood with all who proclaim Him as Lord. Period. No exceptions, no special categories, no rules of engagement. At least not if we follow Scripture.

We who claim to be Protestants (prounounce this word with the accent on the second syllable to grasp its original meaning) may complain and moan about Catholic exclusivity and the fantastical claims about the "real presence" of Christ in the Eucharist. But we should never deny that Christ is real, and always with us. And that the Lord's table is but one place to allow us to focus completely on Him and His Dad.

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Blogger Bob Waters said...

What's "fanatical" about the plain sense of the words, "This is My body...this is My blood?"

Ahd what is virtuous about setting aside the plain meaning of the Lord's words in favor of an interpretation based soley on rationalistic human philosophy?

The Real Presence is what Jesus asserted. They who deny it reject His plain and simple teaching.

11:34 PM, March 03, 2006  

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.