Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sometimes the church...

drives me nuts. There are reasons why only certain people have certain privileges in certain religions. I'm not inclined to think very highly of most of those reasons or restrictions. To me, most seem to insure prestige, power and wealth for the privileged few, mostly white males in so-called western societies.

This morning, the third time in six weeks, the weather kept our Episcopal supply priest away. It is not easy for us to suddenly change to Morning Prayer because we rarely do it and only a couple of people are licensed. And few like it. So we do what we have begun calling the "third setting" - simply omitting the homily and the eucharist.

What bothers me is the insistence that only properly ordained priests can properly bless the elements. Even deacons don't have that privilege. I believe I and most other lay persons are perfectly capable of presiding at the eucharist in an emergency in God's "eyes". I don't mean that in an arrogant way. I respect the rules even tho I suspect Jesus would roll his eyes and shake his head and wonder how he can possibly reach some people. Actually he probably does that constantly, especially in many institutions which claim exclusive knowledge of him.

I believe that the ELCA suspends the "rules" in emergency situations but I have no idea if our situation would be considered an emergency. It certainly is for us.

Sometimes I wonder if I really want to be an Episcopalian. Oh well, I want to try to help the parish so why not? God cares how I live, not what what dogma I believe is God's true word literally.


susankay said...

Yeah -- I don't get how we got from "when two or three" to apostolic succession. Plus the implication that only special people can "invoke" the Presence is offensive to me. The Presence I worship is not "invoked", S/He graciously comes.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Oh dear, this is a much, much longer conversation. 'Scuse me while I just take a back seat here and listen for a while.

Caminante said...

Yeah, I am with Elizabeth here... it's too broad, too vast a subject to undertake in comments. (I know we have talked about this topic in the past and we gently disagree.)

Crimson Rambler said...

is there any "custom" (avoiding the word "tradition" for the moment) in your part of the world for a layperson, Lay Reader, or deacon to be permitted to distribute the reserved sacrament at a gathering like this? When I was a theological student left in charge of a small-ish parish for a month in the summer, that was our strategy...the priest "consecrated up a whole bunch" of wafers and wine, and on Sundays I distributed them.

sharecropper said...

The late Aidan Kavanaugh taught his class on the origins of eucharist leading us to a theory that the eucharist was devolved from the seder and from the covenant renewal ceremony, both, as you know, older Jewish traditions. Witnesses were present for both. Food was present. God was present. Participants were present. To me, eucharist is when food, people and God are present with the intent of celebrating the presence of God and God's promises in this world.

However, as one layperson who has had the privilege of doing a "deacon's eucharist", saying the prelude to the consecration of the elements and distributing the elements (see we don't even call them food any longer - guess because they are both food and Christ)- anyway - distributing them lets the person be a conduit for God to enter more fully into the meal, the celebration. I felt very differently in that position than I did as lay eucharistic minister giving the cup to people.

A sense of awe and wonder pervaded my entire being.