I love my church!
Just when you think you’ve got her all figured out, warts and all, she comes up with something so right…
A couple weeks ago I posted “Calling All Pastors – Need Answers To Question“. All the folks who responded (thank you all!) came down on the side of “yes” — if we believe in the “priesthood of all believers” then, like it or not, all believers have the right to administer baptism and communion.
The problem is, many in my denomination (Anglican/Episcopal) do not agree with this view. So I posed the question to some seminarians over lunch the other day. Of the three, two carefully agreed that a lay person may administer the sacraments. The third, an Anglo-Catholic, disagreed on the same grounds any good non-Protestant would.
What got to me though was the beautiful attitudes, thoughts, and faith they expressed in dealing with my hypothetical scenarios. “It’s not that we want to take away people’s rights, that’s not it at all” was the message. Communion is a serious thing, they said… people can end up in spiritual trouble by taking it without understanding it. “It’s not an authority thing, it’s a ‘let us serve you’ thing.”
Having said that, they said, yes there are times when a layperson might be called on to serve communion. Yes, there are times when this is very appropriate. That’s why some of the sacrament is always held in reserve.
“Held in reserve”… so if un-ordained Bible study leaders want to have communion with their study group, they may do so, taking from the reserve, with the priest’s permission. Or if someone wants to do an in-home communion with family or for a shut-in, they may do the same. No ordination necessary.
Did I mention I love my church? 🙂