Wednesday, November 4

The greater danger...

SOME pastors try to keep the "ritual" surrounding the Lord's Supper to a bare minimum -- lest it become rote and impersonal. Now, as I see it, perhaps that was a problem in a by-gone era (perhaps...) but the greater danger in 2009 is that the Lord's Supper can become so simplified and so personalized ("...now is the time to really think about your relationship with Jesus...") that we've lost all sense of last supperconnection to the broader more mysterious salvation narrative. We now commonly see Holy Communion as merely another personal faith enhancement.

As pastors we've become so afraid of boring people with the details that we hardly ever rehearse the broader narrative that walks through creation, fall, exodus, prophets, the cross, the resurrection... (We so underestimate what people can handle!) And then we act upset because nobody knows the biblical story anymore ("They must not be reading their Bibles like they used to..."). Each person thinks of "the communion experience" and salvation as merely an extension of his or her own story -- rather than as a participation in a bigger story.

It's our own fault. We've brought this on ourselves with our casual creed-less truncated mystery-free sacraments.

So, we can continue to whine about how individualistic and consumer-oriented our people are -- or we can do something to help them enter into the story that includes them but which is bigger than them. The question is, do we have the ecclesiastical guts to move in this direction?
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