Thread: "If you love the Lord Jesus" Board: Oblivion / Ship of Fools.


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Posted by Nenya (# 16427) on :
 
Last Sunday in the communion service the invitation to take communion was extended to "anyone who would like to take it and who loves the Lord Jesus." I wondered then, and am still wondering, what if you don't? If someone at the gathering is not a person of faith but is still at that gathering, for whatever reason, should he or she be excluded? I know there's a verse about not taking the bread and wine in an unworthy manner. What does that mean?

There was a time when I would have said communion is only for believers, but I am changing my thinking about a lot of things and now I'm not so sure. What do other Shipmates think?
 
Posted by Ad Orientem (# 17574) on :
 
Of course, I would argue that only those who have been fully initiated into the Church (that is, those who have been baptised and chrismated) can receive Holy Communion. But then I say that as an Orthodox and indeed that is what we practice.
 
Posted by LeRoc (# 3216) on :
 
You'd be welcome to partake in my church (excluding isn't really our thing), but I'd also ask myself: why would you want to?
 
Posted by Jade Constable (# 17175) on :
 
I was under the impression that open/closed communion was a Dead Horse topic. I don't say this to junior host, genuinely asking if this has changed.
 
Posted by Adeodatus (# 4992) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Nenya:
Last Sunday in the communion service the invitation to take communion was extended to "anyone who would like to take it and who loves the Lord Jesus."

I'd have spent the rest of the service agonising over whether the speaker and I meant the same thing by the word "love".
 
Posted by Cottontail (# 12234) on :
 
A few years ago, I had just preached on God's unconditional forgiveness when I came to that part of the communion service. I was about to announce that the Table was open to "all who love the Lord", when I realised that I was just about to set a condition of my own - my own little fence around the table. So on the spot I adjusted it to "This Table is open to all whom the Lord loves", i.e., everyone, no preconditions. I still use it.
 
Posted by TheAlethiophile (# 16870) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Nenya:
Last Sunday in the communion service the invitation to take communion was extended to "anyone who would like to take it and who loves the Lord Jesus." I wondered then, and am still wondering, what if you don't? If someone at the gathering is not a person of faith but is still at that gathering, for whatever reason, should he or she be excluded? I know there's a verse about not taking the bread and wine in an unworthy manner. What does that mean?

There was a time when I would have said communion is only for believers, but I am changing my thinking about a lot of things and now I'm not so sure. What do other Shipmates think?

That's exactly how it is phrased at my church. The gist of it is that it's up the individual's own conscience. If they want to, they are welcome. Sometimes, it might be supplemented with a reference to Matt 5:24 about leaving your offering and saying that if you have a quibble with someone else, then it may not be wise.

Yet since communion is a symbolic act by which we demonstrate our unity, I find the idea of turning people away abhorrent.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
hosting/

quote:
Originally posted by Jade Constable:
I was under the impression that open/closed communion was a Dead Horse topic. I don't say this to junior host, genuinely asking if this has changed.

Yes it is, and thence goes this thread.

The best way not to junior host is not to junior host. If you have questions about what topics go where, please raise them in the Styx.

/hosting
 
Posted by The Phantom Flan Flinger (# 8891) on :
 
I blogged about this very topic a while ago...
 
Posted by Ad Orientem (# 17574) on :
 
The practice of the RC and Orthodox lies more in its ecclesiology (as most of these things do) than anything else, including the verse you cite in your blog piece. Actually, that verse says nothing of membership, so I would agree that the Apostle is referring to each person searching their conscience (and for that we have confession).
 
Posted by Albertus (# 13356) on :
 
I don't really see the problem in the OP. I would have thought that with those words of invitation, anyone who wants to receive could, unless they were being especially- and I would say unneccessarily- scrupulous about the meaning of 'love the Lord Jesus'. It goes with that, of course, that anyone who for any reason does not wish to receive should not be placed under any pressure to do so.
 
Posted by seekingsister (# 17707) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ad Orientem:
The practice of the RC and Orthodox lies more in its ecclesiology (as most of these things do) than anything else, including the verse you cite in your blog piece.

Isn't it also their theology regarding the Eucharist? Lutherans in the US do not hold themselves to be the only church but many have closed communion because they wish to ensure that only those who share their beliefs on what happens during the Eucharist partake.

I'm not aware of the RCC requiring people to have been confirmed before taking Communion. I grew up in a heavily Catholic area and most people had their first Holy Communion (often followed by parties that put most weddings to shame) much earlier than Confirmation.
 
Posted by Latchkey Kid (# 12444) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Cottontail:
A few years ago, I had just preached on God's unconditional forgiveness when I came to that part of the communion service. I was about to announce that the Table was open to "all who love the Lord", when I realised that I was just about to set a condition of my own - my own little fence around the table. So on the spot I adjusted it to "This Table is open to all whom the Lord loves", i.e., everyone, no preconditions. I still use it.

Open communion is what I/we share at our house church.
 
Posted by opaWim (# 11137) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Nenya:
There was a time when I would have said communion is only for believers, but I am changing my thinking about a lot of things and now I'm not so sure. What do other Shipmates think?

In my view Communion is meant for anyone who wants to belong to (the Body of) Jesus Christ.

There are valid arguments for and against restricting Communion, hence presumably why this is in Dead Horses, but for me the arguments pro do not outweigh the arguments contra anymore.
If people are helped on their journey to/with Jesus Christ by receiving Communion, that's good enough for me, and I'm convinced it's good enough for God too.
And that the powers that be in my church, the RCC, decree otherwise is a problem I do not lose any sleep over anymore.
There will always be people who receive Communion and shouldn't. Restrictions do not prevent that. But restrictions might prevent people who would benefit from receiving Communion. And that to me would be the greater evil.
 
Posted by Ad Orientem (# 17574) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
I'm not aware of the RCC requiring people to have been confirmed before taking Communion. I grew up in a heavily Catholic area and most people had their first Holy Communion (often followed by parties that put most weddings to shame) much earlier than Confirmation.

That's because that archreformer Pius X (at least I think it was him or Leo XIII) changed the ancient practice. The sacraments of Christian initiation always went thus: baptism, confirmation, holy communion. Somewhere along the line (in the West at least) confirmation became linked to the "age of reason" (whatever that is) but holy communion wasn't. So, Pius X (or Leo or whatever) changed the order. Another one of those innovations of the worst kind founded in the ultramontanism of Roman bishops.
 
Posted by opaWim (# 11137) on :
 
It was pope Pius X, canonized, by pope Pius XII, on 29 May 1954.

Remarkably this "archreformer" is also the hero of the arch-traditionalists of the FSSPX [Killing me]
 
Posted by Ad Orientem (# 17574) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by opaWim:
It was pope Pius X, canonized, by pope Pius XII, on 29 May 1954.

Remarkably this "archreformer" is also the hero of the arch-traditionalists of the FSSPX [Killing me]

Yes, I find it most ironic too, but an archreformer he was. Look what he did to the Psalter also.
 
Posted by Baptist Trainfan (# 15128) on :
 
The invitation to "all who love the Lord Jesus" is commonly used in Baptist churches; but it may raise a question in the mind of the hearer as to what this might mean (or if their love is "sufficient" to find acceptance).

We often use the first two of these invitations (taken from the Baptist Manual "Gathering for Worship", but not copied here for copyright reasons). I don't know who originally wrote them.
 
Posted by opaWim (# 11137) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
We often use the first two of these invitations

Thank you. You just brightened my day.
 
Posted by Baptist Trainfan (# 15128) on :
 
Thank you. Bearing in mind that (like most Baptists) we serve people in their seats for Communion, and use wee cuppies for the wine, we also say something along the lines of, "Please eat the bread as you receive it, as a mark of your personal faith in Christ; but please wait until all have received the wine, and we will then drink together as a symbol of unity with his Church. If you prefer not to eat or drink, simply allow the plate and the cups to pass you by".

[ 21. August 2014, 14:31: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]
 
Posted by Lyda*Rose (# 4544) on :
 
Our vicar always says at the beginning of the Sunday Eucharist service, "Wherever you are on your journey of faith, you are welcome at the Lord's table". She often adds, "If you do not wish to receive Communion, you may come up for a blessing if you prefer".
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by opaWim:
quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
We often use the first two of these invitations

Thank you. You just brightened my day.
Me too - I like those.

We have an open table but words About loving Jesus is not our style.

Indeed, i don't always love Jesus all that much. sometimes |i wish he'd go away - and i think that is a fairly common experience on the Christian 'walk'.
 
Posted by opaWim (# 11137) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
[QUOTE]Indeed, i don't always love Jesus all that much. sometimes |i wish he'd go away - and i think that is a fairly common experience on the Christian 'walk'.

Isn't that normal in any serious relationship?
And of course He asks/suggests quite a lot, doesn't he?
Quite often I don't feel really willing and/or up to it. The trick, I guess, is to allow yourself to be loved and do what you are able to do. Not to let yourself be paralyzed by your inability to live up to an unattainable standard that is probably of your own making.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
I must admit I'd always understood "All who love the Lord Jesus" or similar words simply as a statement of an open table - that is, if you're of another denomination or church, don't worry, you can still share with us. I never really thought it should be given the kind of deep analysis it's had in this thread....
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
That's the Ship for you, I'm afraid, Steve.

[Biased]
 
Posted by Late Paul (# 37) on :
 
I started going back to church about a year ago and they - a baptist one - use this formula. I'm extremely glad they do because it allows me to partake in clear conscience. I would never try to take part somewhere where I know the table is "closed".

Even so there have been times when I've wondered if they really know what I believe, or how much I sometimes doubt, whether I'd still be welcome. But it's meaningful to me so I go ahead.
 
Posted by Margaret (# 283) on :
 
Another Baptist one I heard in my mother-in-law's church and liked very much - he invited us to receive communion "if you're serious about God", which gets round the problem of worrying whether you feel you love him very much at that particular moment.
 
Posted by SvitlanaV2 (# 16967) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Nenya:
Last Sunday in the communion service the invitation to take communion was extended to "anyone who would like to take it and who loves the Lord Jesus." I wondered then, and am still wondering, what if you don't? If someone at the gathering is not a person of faith but is still at that gathering, for whatever reason, should he or she be excluded? I know there's a verse about not taking the bread and wine in an unworthy manner. What does that mean?

Methodist ministers sometimes use a formula of this type to invite people to Communion. It's always presented as a very inclusive, promiscuous invitation. After all, it could include people from a number of different religions, and theoretically even 'Atheists for Jesus' types!

Moreover, by using non-alcoholic Communion wine (recovering) alcoholics, teetotalers and Muslims can participate - although those who believe 'grape juice' to be inauthentic or disrespectful, etc., might feel excluded - as would anyone with a very High view of Communion/the Eucharist. An American Catholic once told me he'd never take Communion in a Methodist Church. Telling him that he'd be just as welcome as a Muslim or an atheist probably wouldn't change his mind!

It's interesting that secularisation has enabled religious symbols, rituals and even particular theological ideas to be 'appropriated' by people who otherwise reject church authority and orthodox church teachings. The clergy must be ambivalent at best about this, but the whole concept of the Open Table seems to encourage it, because everyone who participates in such a context might have quite different, and maybe totally bizarre, ideas about what Communion 'means'.
 
Posted by Boogie (# 13538) on :
 
Our (Methodist) Minister simply says 'all are welcome'. I think Jesus would say the same.

[Smile]
 
Posted by Albertus (# 13356) on :
 
Didn't Wesley famously say something about having a very open table because he believed that the eucharist could be a 'converting ordinance'? Not, even now, the CofE/CinW approach but one I like very much.
 
Posted by Baptist Trainfan (# 15128) on :
 
He did: this article seems to be an interesting comment on the phrase (I have no idea who the author is, except as referred to in said article).
 
Posted by Ad Orientem (# 17574) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Albertus:
Didn't Wesley famously say something about having a very open table because he believed that the eucharist could be a 'converting ordinance'? Not, even now, the CofE/CinW approach but one I like very much.

Holy Communion, I would have thought, is for believers only, however one wishes to interpret "believers". If there is such a thing as a "converting ordinance" then surely it's baptism? I know I have a high view of the sacraments but surely those with a lower view have an order to them also?
 
Posted by la vie en rouge (# 10688) on :
 
Wesley's precedent was the dinner with the disciples from the Emmaus road, who recognised Jesus at the moment of the breaking of bread.
 
Posted by Baptist Trainfan (# 15128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ad Orientem:
Holy Communion, I would have thought, is for believers only, however one wishes to interpret "believers".

Which is why the Strict Baptists (and Exclusive Brethren) have "closed tables" - and why, in times past, the Church of Scotland so rigorously "fenced the tables" at their pre-Communion gatherings that only a small percentage of people actually "communed".

quote:
Originally posted by Ad Orientem:
If there is such a thing as a "converting ordinance" then surely it's baptism?

I can see where you're coming from. But baptism can't be a "converting ordinance" if you believe - as Wesley did - that conversion implies a conscious decision by the "convertee" to turn to Christ. Don't forget that Wesley himself came from an Anglican background and had been baptised as a baby, also that Methodists to this day practice Infant Baptism.

[ 22. August 2014, 09:18: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]
 
Posted by Albertus (# 13356) on :
 
Thanks for the link, BT- a very interesting article. ISTM that very rarely will anyone, at an ordinary clebration of the Eucharist, present themself for communion without having at least some mustard seed of faith and, in such a case, a desire for more of it.
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
Not in my experience--I've seen plenty of nonbelievers watch the people they've come with stand up to go to communion and they think they ought to go too, because that's what everybody else is doing. Others are embarrassed to be left the only ones in their seats. Some may even think they are showing solidarity with a grandchild who's being confirmed that day, or whatever.

You really have to ask them to know why they are going up.
 
Posted by Nenya (# 16427) on :
 
Thank you for all your interesting and thoughtful replies. I apologise for putting this thread in the wrong place.

I'm reassured that my current wondering whether we should actually put any conditions on taking communion does chime in with what some others think. Cottontail, Lyda*Rose, Boogie - I'd like to come to your churches but I think you're all rather too far away. [Biased]
 
Posted by JoannaP (# 4493) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
Not in my experience--I've seen plenty of nonbelievers watch the people they've come with stand up to go to communion and they think they ought to go too, because that's what everybody else is doing. Others are embarrassed to be left the only ones in their seats. Some may even think they are showing solidarity with a grandchild who's being confirmed that day, or whatever.

You really have to ask them to know why they are going up.

Indeed my mother (who is confirmed but does not describe herself as Christian) was quite shocked when I told her that I would prefer it if she did not receive communion at my wedding.
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
And that right there is what's wrong with closed communion.
 
Posted by LeRoc (# 3216) on :
 
I don't know your mother, but I can understand her so well.
 
Posted by Ad Orientem (# 17574) on :
 
Yeah, whatever. Because there should be no prerequisites ever for anything, innit, especially concerning matters of faith...even if you have no faith.
 
Posted by opaWim (# 11137) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ad Orientem:
Yeah, whatever. Because there should be no prerequisites ever for anything, innit, especially concerning matters of faith...even if you have no faith.

This is not so much about prerequisites as it is about plausible excuses to be exclusivistic.

[ 23. August 2014, 07:17: Message edited by: opaWim ]
 
Posted by Baptist Trainfan (# 15128) on :
 
I think it is also something to do about deciding who draws boundaries and makes assessments on matters of personal faith. Does the Church lay down the rules about who can be admitted to Communion (those who are baptised, who are members in good standing etc.) Or is this left to individual conscience ("Let a person examine themself")?

Perhaps the churches that do not offer an open table should ask themselves if their criteria are too simplistic: a baptised member may have a totally nominal faith or be living in deep sin while an excluded person may be a faithful but hesitant disciple. And perhaps the churches that offer an open invitation should stress the solemn nature of the sacrament and ask people to examine their hearts before partaking.

But even this isn't ideal. And, thinking of Jesus' attitude to people generally (not to mention ecclesiastical legalism!), I think I'd prefer to "invite" rather than "hinder".
 
Posted by St Deird (# 7631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ad Orientem:
Holy Communion, I would have thought, is for believers only, however one wishes to interpret "believers".

Well, there's the rub. How does one define "believers"? I'm not sure there's a clear dividing line where you go from no to yes.
 
Posted by Raptor Eye (# 16649) on :
 
Who is the judge? Closed communion means turning people away from the table of Christ on the judgement of a human being, albeit one who supposedly is listening to God. In the same way as he or she cannot be judged by those coming to the table as to worthiness to minister, so he or she cannot judge who is worthy and who is not worthy to receive it.

I would prefer the words 'if you want to follow the Lord Jesus' to 'if you love' him, as it ties in with baptism and the first steps of faith as well as remaining appropriate for those mature in faith.
 
Posted by Ad Orientem (# 17574) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by St Deird:
quote:
Originally posted by Ad Orientem:
Holy Communion, I would have thought, is for believers only, however one wishes to interpret "believers".

Well, there's the rub. How does one define "believers"? I'm not sure there's a clear dividing line where you go from no to yes.
Membership, for a start. But as I said earlier, membership is largely defined by ecclesiology.
 
Posted by Ad Orientem (# 17574) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Raptor Eye:
Who is the judge? Closed communion means turning people away from the table of Christ on the judgement of a human being, albeit one who supposedly is listening to God. In the same way as he or she cannot be judged by those coming to the table as to worthiness to minister, so he or she cannot judge who is worthy and who is not worthy to receive it.

I would prefer the words 'if you want to follow the Lord Jesus' to 'if you love' him, as it ties in with baptism and the first steps of faith as well as remaining appropriate for those mature in faith.

As I just said, I think ecclesiology largely defines the practice.
 
Posted by orfeo (# 13878) on :
 
I've always seen communion as being for believers, but at the same time I've never thought it was a good idea to subject people to some kind of on-the-spot cross-examination as to whether or not they should be taking communion, to ascertain their belief.

My church always said something along the lines of "if you're from another church, you're welcome". If someone believed it was appropriate for themselves to have communion, we pretty much trusted their judgement.
 
Posted by LeRoc (# 3216) on :
 
Although I theologically don't agree with it and wouldn't want to be a member of a church with closed communion, at least in a way I can respect that every club can have some activities which are 'members only'.

But earlier on this thread we were talking about a wedding service. In such a service, it's quite normal that people are invited who are not members of the church. Why invite them and then have a section that is 'members only'?

It seems incredibly rude, for starters.
 
Posted by Albertus (# 13356) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by JoannaP:
...Indeed my mother (who is confirmed but does not describe herself as Christian) was quite shocked when I told her that I would prefer it if she did not receive communion at my wedding.

Understandably so. Indeed I think that if I had been her I might have told you where to stick your bloody wedding. But perhaps your mother is a better person than I am- for all that you did not think that she should receive the Sacrament alongside you.
 
Posted by JoannaP (# 4493) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Albertus:
quote:
Originally posted by JoannaP:
...Indeed my mother (who is confirmed but does not describe herself as Christian) was quite shocked when I told her that I would prefer it if she did not receive communion at my wedding.

Understandably so. Indeed I think that if I had been her I might have told you where to stick your bloody wedding. But perhaps your mother is a better person than I am- for all that you did not think that she should receive the Sacrament alongside you.
Apologies for favouring brevity over clarity. On the rare occasions when she is present at a Communion service, my mother normally does not go up to the altar because she would feel a hypocrite in doing so. She offered to do so on this instance, as she thought I would want her to. She was surprised that I was more concerned with content than form; that I was more upset by the prospect of the Eucharist being treated as a meaningless social obligation than by the proprieties not being observed.

My mother's intention would not have been to "receive the Sacrament" as it would be understood by anyone who capitalises Sacrament. If she had received, she would have done severe violence to her personal beliefs but I told her that such a sacrifice was not necessary, although I did appreciate the offer. Does that make more sense?
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
Yes, it does, at least to me! Thanks for clarifying.
 
Posted by Figbash (# 9048) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Albertus:
quote:
Originally posted by JoannaP:
...Indeed my mother (who is confirmed but does not describe herself as Christian) was quite shocked when I told her that I would prefer it if she did not receive communion at my wedding.

Understandably so. Indeed I think that if I had been her I might have told you where to stick your bloody wedding. But perhaps your mother is a better person than I am- for all that you did not think that she should receive the Sacrament alongside you.
Perhaps I should point out, speaking as the other half of the couple who were married in that ceremony, a number of facts (made reasonably clear in my spouse's original post):
I therefore consider a certain amount of the rhetoric deployed in the reply quoted above to be unnecessary.

(My mother, on the other hand, informed me that our choice of a nuptial mass was a deliberate slight to her, as meaning that she would be shown up as not taking communion, and made to look bad, and that therefore I was a bad son for even suggesting such a thing, and should have called the whole thing off. Does it turn out that I was wrong to tell her that her conscience was her own problem, and that neither I nor anyone else gave a flying fuck what she did?)

[ 23. August 2014, 19:16: Message edited by: Figbash ]
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
I personally can't imagine choosing a wedding ritual that would clearly exclude important family members, least of all my mother. But I get along well with my mom -- perhaps you don't.

Personal factors aside, celebrating a wedding with a ritual that excludes some of the invited guests to me goes against the whole point of a wedding ceremony celebrated with family and friends. If it's just between the couple and God, why have all those people there?
 
Posted by Albertus (# 13356) on :
 
Thank you, Figbash & Joanna P: I see and understand where you are coming from now.
 
Posted by LeRoc (# 3216) on :
 
Me too. I'm not sure if our church does Holy Supper at wedding services. It didn't at the weddings I went to. I'm starting to get the feeling in light of this that it might be better if it doesn't.
 
Posted by Figbash (# 9048) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
I personally can't imagine choosing a wedding ritual that would clearly exclude important family members, least of all my mother. But I get along well with my mom -- perhaps you don't.

Well, there are a number of factors in our case. First, the chaplain of my college (where we married) made it clear that he expected a Nuptial Mass. Second, we both wanted God involved in our marriage ceremony. Third, JoannaP's mother wanted us to have a civil ceremony, and so was going to be unhappy come what may. Fourth, my mother is a narcissistic, sociopathic bitch who gets off on hurting people (psychologically), so I really had no interest one way or another (and would have been much happier had she not been there).

I do rather envy people with sane parents...
 
Posted by Oscar the Grouch (# 1916) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
The invitation to "all who love the Lord Jesus" is commonly used in Baptist churches; but it may raise a question in the mind of the hearer as to what this might mean (or if their love is "sufficient" to find acceptance).

We often use the first two of these invitations (taken from the Baptist Manual "Gathering for Worship", but not copied here for copyright reasons). I don't know who originally wrote them.

Thanks for these. The church I am ministering in now has a very determined "open" table policy - much to my intense delight.

Personally, I dislike the use of the phrase "love the Lord Jesus", as it is just churchy jargon and so actually rather exclusive (ironically!) But these two examples are very good and I may use them from time to time.

There is also the invitation from the Iona Community worship book:
quote:
Come to this table, you who have much faith
and you who would like to have more;
you who have been here often
and you who have not been for a long time;
you who have tried to follow Jesus,
and you who have failed;
Come.
It is Christ who invites us to meet him here.


 
Posted by opaWim (# 11137) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Oscar the Grouch:
Personally, I dislike the use of the phrase "love the Lord Jesus", as it is just churchy jargon and so actually rather exclusive (ironically!)

It isn't ¨just churchy jargon¨ to me.

[ 24. August 2014, 09:15: Message edited by: opaWim ]
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
I personally can't imagine choosing a wedding ritual that would clearly exclude important family members, least of all my mother. But I get along well with my mom -- perhaps you don't.

Personal factors aside, celebrating a wedding with a ritual that excludes some of the invited guests to me goes against the whole point of a wedding ceremony celebrated with family and friends. If it's just between the couple and God, why have all those people there?

I don't consider a wedding withOUT a nuptial mass to be kosher.

We go to mass at crucial points of our lives, such as death - a requiem.

Maybe it was easier in the older rites when only couple received communion at a nuptial mas and only priest received at a requiem.
 
Posted by Baptist Trainfan (# 15128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Oscar the Grouch:
There is also the invitation from the Iona Community worship book:
quote:
Come to this table, you who have much faith
and you who would like to have more;
you who have been here often
and you who have not been for a long time;
you who have tried to follow Jesus,
and you who have failed;
Come.
It is Christ who invites us to meet him here.


Yes, we use that too.
 
Posted by South Coast Kevin (# 16130) on :
 
OtG - I've not seen that invitation to Communion before, but it's beautiful. Breathtakingly so.
 
Posted by Oscar the Grouch (# 1916) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by South Coast Kevin:
OtG - I've not seen that invitation to Communion before, but it's beautiful. Breathtakingly so.

I like it. But....

There is a problem (for me anyway) in using it. The repeated use of the phrase 'you who have' can be actually rather awkward to say. I used this invitation on Sunday (as a result of this thread, actually!) and found myself tripping up over these words. I think you need to pace this bit of liturgy carefully, so that the words come out cleanly and clearly. If you rush it, the words tend to come out as 'yu-hoo-have'.. [Frown]

It's an example of how liturgy can read OK on paper but actually work out differently in practice.
 
Posted by fullgospel (# 18233) on :
 
'There is also the invitation from the Iona Community worship book:
quote:
'Come to this table, you who have much faith
and you who would like to have more;
you who have been here often
and you who have not been for a long time;
you who have tried to follow Jesus,
and you who have failed;
Come.
It is Christ who invites us to meet him here.'

Yes, it is short, to the point and beautiful.

Also spiritually real- and alive.

To me.
 
Posted by Jon in the Nati (# 15849) on :
 
quote:
Personal factors aside, celebrating a wedding with a ritual that excludes some of the invited guests to me goes against the whole point of a wedding ceremony celebrated with family and friends.
When my wife and I got married, only a handful of people present received communion. Most of my family are conservative protestants, most of her family are Catholics (this was an Anglican wedding).

I could not possibly have cared less if anyone there felt excluded (I doubt many of them did, but still). Similarly, I've been to half a dozen Catholic weddings, and never have I felt the need to receive communion so I felt 'included' or some damn thing.

Inclusivity may be a theological virtue in the normal course of church, but expecting people to change their wedding rituals to so that everyone's delicate feelings aren't hurt when they can't or don't want to participate is beyond silly.
 
Posted by LeRoc (# 3216) on :
 
quote:
Jon in the Nati: When my wife and I got married, only a handful of people present received communion. Most of my family are conservative protestants, most of her family are Catholics (this was an Anglican wedding).
Did the church exclude them, or did they exclude themselves?
 
Posted by Jon in the Nati (# 15849) on :
 
quote:
Did the church exclude them, or did they exclude themselves?
The church did not exclude them, nor were they explicitly invited to partake. The Catholics knew they were not allowed (extraordinary circumstances excepted) to receive Communion in a schismatic church, and the conservative protestants knew they could not partake because they don't believe that Real Presence garbage anyhow. There were also a handful of non-Christians in attendance.

But really, what does it matter? I knew going in that I was electing a ritual in which most of the people in attendance would be unable to participate, but chose such a ritual anyway. Am I not a jerk, or at least an ungracious host? Should I, as RuthW suggests, simply have declined to invite those who could or would not participate?
 
Posted by LeRoc (# 3216) on :
 
quote:
Jon in the Nati: But really, what does it matter? I knew going in that I was electing a ritual in which most of the people in attendance would be unable to participate, but chose such a ritual anyway. Am I not a jerk, or at least an ungracious host? Should I, as RuthW suggests, simply have declined to invite those who could or would not participate?
Hm, to me it does make a difference at a wedding service whether a church exludes people (which I'd consider bad form at such a service) or whether people choose not to participate themselves. In the latter case, it's up to them.
 
Posted by Fr Weber (# 13472) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Albertus:
Didn't Wesley famously say something about having a very open table because he believed that the eucharist could be a 'converting ordinance'? Not, even now, the CofE/CinW approach but one I like very much.

In Wesley's time, practically everyone was at least nominally Christian. The sort of conversion he refers to is the conversion from a lukewarm, by-the-numbers practice of faith to a vibrant and active one. I'm not aware of Wesley ever having abandoned the BCP's Eucharistic discipline.

When visitors are present in our chapel, I invite baptized Christians to receive the Sacrament. I don't demand baptismal certificates; in the end it's left up to the individual's conscience. If they want to put one over on me, it would be very easy to do so. And in cases where I might have doubts, my rule of thumb is to ask whether I would cause more scandal by administering Communion or by denying it. In the vast majority of cases, I'm pretty sure it'd be the latter.
 
Posted by LeRoc (# 3216) on :
 
quote:
Jon in the Nati: Why would that be bad form? If a church practices close/closed communion, should it practice open communion for a wedding or funeral?
No, if I'd marry in a church that practices closed communion and I'd invite guests that would be excluded from this communion, I'd choose not to have communion at my wedding service.
 
Posted by Jon in the Nati (# 15849) on :
 
Oops, looks like the post in which I asked that question got lost in the ether. Sorry about that...
 
Posted by Jane R (# 331) on :
 
RuthW:
quote:
Personal factors aside, celebrating a wedding with a ritual that excludes some of the invited guests to me goes against the whole point of a wedding ceremony celebrated with family and friends.
But unless all the members of your family and all your friends share your beliefs, whatever you do is going to exclude or upset somebody. I have a friend who did not have a communion/mass at her wedding, and her parents (who are fairly devout Anglicans) were quite upset. But she was marrying an atheist, quite a lot of her friends were atheists (some had evidently not set foot in a church before) and having the service in the parish church without communion was the best compromise she could come up with.
 
Posted by LeRoc (# 3216) on :
 
quote:
Jane R: I have a friend who did not have a communion/mass at her wedding, and her parents (who are fairly devout Anglicans) were quite upset.
I've been mostly talking about explicitly excluding people from parts of a wedding service. Not having communion doesn't exclude anyone. They might be upset about it, but that's not what the verb 'to exclude' means.
 
Posted by Fr Weber (# 13472) on :
 
A church wedding is an explicitly Christian rite. If a Eucharist is included, it shouldn't be very surprising to anyone that the profession of Christian belief and some rite of Christian initiation are prerequisites for participation. In early Church practice, the unbaptized were dismissed before the Offertory. Exclusive? Well, of course; you're either on the bus or you're not.

If you are expecting that the majority of your wedding guests will not be Christians, it's probably better not to have the Eucharist as part of the celebration.
 
Posted by LeRoc (# 3216) on :
 
quote:
Fr Weber: If you are expecting that the majority of your wedding guests will not be Christians, it's probably better not to have the Eucharist as part of the celebration.
Exactly, this would be my choice (if I were member of a church that practices closed communion).
 
Posted by Arethosemyfeet (# 17047) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Fr Weber:
A church wedding is an explicitly Christian rite. If a Eucharist is included, it shouldn't be very surprising to anyone that the profession of Christian belief and some rite of Christian initiation are prerequisites for participation. In early Church practice, the unbaptized were dismissed before the Offertory. Exclusive? Well, of course; you're either on the bus or you're not.

Interestingly, the church where I grew up evolved a modern version of this - pausing the (ASB Rite A, then Common Worship)service at the peace and then resuming (following coffee) with the offertory. This allowed people to attend for the ministry of the word and depart before communion without being conspicuous, and helped ensure that people didn't dash off without communicating (though there was nothing to stop you remaining in your seat if you didn't want to interact with people). It worked well even if it was a little unusual (and a small problem for anyone used to practicing a Eucharistic fast).
 
Posted by Jane R (# 331) on :
 
LeRoc:
quote:
I've been mostly talking about explicitly excluding people from parts of a wedding service. Not having communion doesn't exclude anyone. They might be upset about it, but that's not what the verb 'to exclude' means.
Yes, I noticed that. If you read the rest of my post you might have noticed I told that story as an example of someone who chose *not* to have a part of the ritual in order to avoid excluding people.
 
Posted by LeRoc (# 3216) on :
 
quote:
Jane R: If you read the rest of my post you might have noticed I told that story as an example of someone who chose *not* to have a part of the ritual in order to avoid excluding people.
Um yes, I noticed that.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Host Note

I'm very glad JoannaP and Figbash posted to clarify. My thanks to both of you for your courteous responses.

There's a good lesson there for all of us re jumping to conclusions.

Barnabas62
Dead Horses Host
 
Posted by LeRoc (# 3216) on :
 
quote:
Jane R: Yes, I noticed that. If you read the rest of my post you might have noticed I told that story as an example of someone who chose *not* to have a part of the ritual in order to avoid excluding people.
This seems to be about different uses of the verb 'to exclude'.

Case A: John and Mary have a wedding in a church. Among the guests they invite there are a substantial number of people who are not members of the church; one of them is Aunt Jackie. Communion is part of the wedding service. The preacher says that people who aren't members of the church aren't allowed to take part.

Case B: John and Mary have a wedding in a church. Among the guests they invite there are a substantial number of people who are not members of the church; one of them is Aunt Jackie. Communion is part of the wedding service. Aunt Jackie decides that she cannot partake since she isn't a member of that church. Maybe she's a member of a different church that doesn't allow inter-communion (or whatever it's called) with this church.

In both cases, you could say that the couple has 'excluded' Aunt Jackie. But that's different uses of the verb 'to exclude'. In Case A, the church (by proxy of the couple) has explicitly excluded her. In Case B, she has excluded herself.

I personally would consider Case A bad form, and my choice would be not to have Communion during the wedding service in this case. I don't consider Case B to be bad form, at least not in the same degree.
 
Posted by Jane R (# 331) on :
 
And I agree with you. But for those of us who are members of a church that has closed communion and also believe that communion (mass) should be part of the wedding ceremony, it is a difficult question. And I'm not speaking from my own experience here; I'd describe myself as middle-of-the-road Anglican (I know, I know, everyone thinks they're MOTR) and having a nuptial mass wouldn't be that important to me.

Which is probably a good thing, because however you dress it up (and notwithstanding the Iona Community's call to communion, which is a nice way of putting it) all the Anglican churches I've ever been in do practice what I would describe as closed communion; they don't ask you to show your baptism and confirmation certificates at the altar rail, and they usually give communion to anyone who comes up for it; but the priest says something to the effect that 'if you would normally take communion in your own church, you are welcome to take it here, and anyone else is welcome to come to the altar rail for a blessing'. So that's a kind of combination of your Case A and Case B: the priest says 'These are the rules in our church' but leaves it up to Aunty Jackie's conscience to decide what she's going to do about it.

Personally I think that's as far as you can go without sending the message that the Eucharist isn't really that important; but I realise others feel differently about it, including some very devout Christians who really *don't* think the Eucharist is that important.

[ 03. October 2014, 12:23: Message edited by: Jane R ]
 
Posted by Baptist Trainfan (# 15128) on :
 
In our church (Baptist/URC) we explicitly invite anyone who wishes to receive Communion to do so - while also telling them that it's OK not to if they don't wish to. I will say something about "not needing to be a member of this, or any other, church" and stress that it is down to individual's own consciences.

We have often used the Iona invitation (which, to my mind, is a corrective to the old CofS practice of so "fencing the Table" that virtually everyone felt so unworthy before God they did not eat and drink the Sacrament; those who did were, I suspect, accused of the sin of pride!)

In older Baptist practice, the Communion service was virtually a "bolt-on" section after the "main" service; even in churches which were not "closed table" (and there are still some), the understanding was that many people would go home and leave only the faithful remnant to "commune".

BTW, we never (or very, very rarely) include Communion in wedding services. But that is more because we don't consider marriage as a Sacrament, and because we are aware that - unlike on a Sunday morning - the vast majority present would have no idea whatsoever about its meaning.
 
Posted by bib (# 13074) on :
 
At my church the invitation is given to any visitors who would normally receive communion at their own church to receive it here also. Apart from this there is just the usual Anglican invitation to partake of the eucharist.
 
Posted by Net Spinster (# 16058) on :
 
And then there is the LDS practice where temple weddings can only be attended by LDS members in good standing. I believe in the UK where the actual civil wedding has to be public and therefore takes place just before the temple wedding little problem. In the US if the couple have a civil non temple wedding, they have to wait a year before getting their temple wedding (which is a very big thing in the religion) (barring rare cases where the couple to be live more than a very long distance from a temple in which case the temple wedding can happen as soon as feasibly possible). It seems that fairly frequently a lot of close relatives including for instance parents can't be invited.
 
Posted by LeRoc (# 3216) on :
 
quote:
Jane R: But for those of us who are members of a church that has closed communion and also believe that communion (mass) should be part of the wedding ceremony, it is a difficult question.
That's why I'm happy that I'm in a church with open communion [Smile]

My biggest gripe is with Case A. To invite people to have a celebration together, and then in one part of the celebration to say "You don't really belong here" sounds rude to me.

quote:
Jane R: So that's a kind of combination of your Case A and Case B: the priest says 'These are the rules in our church' but leaves it up to Aunty Jackie's conscience to decide what she's going to do about it.
Seems like a very Anglican solution to me [Biased]
 
Posted by Ad Orientem (# 17574) on :
 
Or you could just restrict communion to the bride and groom.
 
Posted by Albertus (# 13356) on :
 
Yes, that's a sensible solution which IM(limited)E offends no-one.
 
Posted by LeRoc (# 3216) on :
 
quote:
Ad Orientem: Or you could just restrict communion to the bride and groom.
I'm rather happy that my church doesn't have this tradition. I would be completely against it. Communion is about community.
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ad Orientem:
Or you could just restrict communion to the bride and groom.

Indeed - that was normal; practice for a very long time. As late as the mid 1980s I went to wedding where that happened.

It is also the practice at coronations. Only the newly crowned monarch receives.
 
Posted by Forthview (# 12376) on :
 
I'm sorry to say that I that much of this discussion seems to me to be terribly petty.If a couple wish to have a Christian wedding,should they only invite other Christians and only those of the same religious denomination for fear some may feel excluded by something which they are not used to in their own church ?
If someone wishes to have a Christian funeral for prayers for the repose of their soul to be said,should the family only invite to the funeral those who agree entirely with this practice ?
Are we not adult enough to accept that there are people with many views who should be able to come and participate as far as they are able ?
Take the example of a Catholic wedding - no doubt there will be a number of non-Catholics or indeed non-practicing and non-believing 'Catholics' present - why don't we just leave it at that and not expect that everyone should go to Communion so that no-one feels 'excluded'
What if there is a marriage where two different languages are used or there are two different nationalities involved.Are those who do not speak one of the languages necessarily 'excluded' just because they can't speak the language or because they don't belong to the same ethnic or national group. There are ways round these difficulties and there are ways round religious difficulties which just involve showing respect for all.
 
Posted by Jane R (# 331) on :
 
LeRoc:
quote:
Seems like a very Anglican solution to me.
[Big Grin]

[ 04. October 2014, 15:48: Message edited by: Jane R ]
 
Posted by Forthview (# 12376) on :
 
I appreciate that 'rites of passage' ceremonies are incredibly important for those intimately involved in them.Why,however, make a major problem out of the possible reception of Communion. ? As well as those of differing Christian communities,when not everyone may be able to receive Communion together,what about friends who do not share your Christian faith,will they not feel 'excluded' if the wedding is in a Christian church ? Or might they not just be glad to be present at a ceremony which celebrates the love of their friends - or indeed on another occasion honours in some way a departed friend.

Would you accept with joy an invitation to a Hindu wedding if the couple were your friends ?
Would you overworry if you were not 100% sure of Hindu rites ? Or would you say 'No,I can't come because this wedding ceremony does not recognise the unique role of Jesus Christ in salvation history and I would feel excluded ?
 
Posted by LeRoc (# 3216) on :
 
@Forthview: you're mostly talking about Case B from this post. My problem is with Case A.
 
Posted by Forthview (# 12376) on :
 
You don't say in Case A whether Aunt Jackie is a member of any church,nor whether she is a regular churchgoer who would feel a need to receive the eucharist.Some Christian communities only celebrate the eucharist infrequently,why make a big thing about going to Communion in a 'strange' church,if you don't often go in your own church ?

Take the example again of a Catholic wedding and an Anglican guest who regularly receives Communion
in a fairly similar celebration in his/her own church.It should NOT be the bride and groom who say 'Non Catholics cannot receive Communion'.It might be the priest who should choose his words carefully to explain the views of the Catholic church that the reception of Communion in a Catholic church expresses one's agreement with the Eucharistic and ecclesial theology of the Church.If one does not agree with the Eucharistic beliefs and ecclesial theology of the Church then no full communion is possible - even if one goes forward to receive the Host.
 
Posted by LeRoc (# 3216) on :
 
quote:
Forthview: You don't say in Case A whether Aunt Jackie is a member of any church,nor whether she is a regular churchgoer who would feel a need to receive the eucharist.
Er, no. I don't tell the colour of her shoes either. You can make it as complicated as you want.

quote:
Forthview: Take the example again of a Catholic wedding and an Anglican guest who regularly receives Communion
in a fairly similar celebration in his/her own church.It should NOT be the bride and groom who say 'Non Catholics cannot receive Communion'.It might be the priest who should choose his words carefully to explain the views of the Catholic church that the reception of Communion in a Catholic church expresses one's agreement with the Eucharistic and ecclesial theology of the Church.

I'd still find it rude, no matter how carefully he explains it. My preference would be not to have Communion at the service.
 
Posted by Forthview (# 12376) on :
 
Of course that might be your preference,but what if it is not your wedding.Should the bride and groom forego the opportunity to receive Communion at their wedding because some of the guests cannot receive ? If,and that is an important 'if', the bride and groom are regular communicants, should they be denied the grace of Communion at their wedding service,just because one or more of the guests would like to partake of communion at a service the validity of which they do not accept ?
Again one must ask the question - what should the bride and groom do,to make people who are not Christians feel comfortable with a service which is alien to them ? There is no way round this.The guests are there to support the bride and groom,
not to dissect their religious beliefs on the day of their wedding.
If Communion is really important for the bride and groom,they could have a private Communion before the marriage ceremony,but it still doesn't solve the problem of guests who feel uncomfortable and 'excluded' in any church.
 
Posted by LeRoc (# 3216) on :
 
quote:
Forthview: Should the bride and groom forego the opportunity to receive Communion at their wedding because some of the guests cannot receive ?
I would forego it. Better to miss something that's important for my faith than explicitly telling people they're excluded from something to which they have been invited.

quote:
Forthview: Again one must ask the question - what should the bride and groom do,to make people who are not Christians feel comfortable with a service which is alien to them ?
Don't explicitly exclude someone. The rest is Case B.

quote:
Forthview: If Communion is really important for the bride and groom,they could have a private Communion before the marriage ceremony,but it still doesn't solve the problem of guests who feel uncomfortable and 'excluded' in any church.
Having a private ceremony (with other church members) would be a good solution. Guests feeling uncomfortable and excluded are case B.

[ 04. October 2014, 17:47: Message edited by: LeRoc ]
 
Posted by Forthview (# 12376) on :
 
Le Roc I think that a desire to receive the eucharist is an important preparative step to actually receiving.Although we mortal human beings cannot always have a really deep understanding of exactly what the sacred Mysteries are,I would say that in normal circumstances,at least for a non=handicapped adult, an ability to distinguish between the eucharist and ordinary bread is a pre requisite.
I didn't ask what Aunt Jackie was wearing because that is not important,but if she has no knowledge and no desire for the eucharist what is the point of going forward.At best it is a meaningless gesture and at worst a mockery of the Holy Sacrament.
 
Posted by LeRoc (# 3216) on :
 
quote:
Forthview: I didn't ask what Aunt Jackie was wearing because that is not important,but if she has no knowledge and no desire for the eucharist what is the point of going forward.At best it is a meaningless gesture and at worst a mockery of the Holy Sacrament.
So, don't have a Holy Sacrament at an event you're inviting Aunt Jackie to.
 
Posted by Ad Orientem (# 17574) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by LeRoc:
quote:
Forthview: I didn't ask what Aunt Jackie was wearing because that is not important,but if she has no knowledge and no desire for the eucharist what is the point of going forward.At best it is a meaningless gesture and at worst a mockery of the Holy Sacrament.
So, don't have a Holy Sacrament at an event you're inviting Aunt Jackie to.
Sorry, but I reckon that's the worst reasoning ever.
 
Posted by LeRoc (# 3216) on :
 
quote:
Ad Orientem: Sorry, but I reckon that's the worst reasoning ever.
Are you going to tell me why?
 
Posted by Ad Orientem (# 17574) on :
 
It's just a crappy reason not to have the sacrament, because some people aren't able to partake of it. It's absurd. Shall we stop having the sacrament altogether so as not to upset the catechumens and penitents?
 
Posted by Jon in the Nati (# 15849) on :
 
Seems to me we've got it backwards. If we are in a non-open-communion context in which we also want people to not be offended (assuming, for the moment, that people are offended by this, which I doubt), then the answer that is obvious to me is that we must ensure that no one who is unable to partake in the Eucharist ever attends a celebration of the Eucharist.

"The doors, the doors!"
 
Posted by Autenrieth Road (# 10509) on :
 
I'm pretty much with Forthview on this.

It seems to me that the "don't invite people to an event they can't participate in" reasoning misses a couple of things.

One, a church service is not a social party at which the bride and groom are the hosts. It's a religious event that's important to the bride and groom. For those who don't think weddings should have closed communion, do you also think a member of a closed communion church should not invite a friend to come to church with her to a communion service?

Two, there are lots of parts of a wedding, or any religious service, that not everyone gets to do the same thing as everyone else. The congregation doesn't go up in the pulpit to read the preacher's notes. At a funeral, while several people may be chosen to give remembrances, it's the rare funeral where everyone is then invited to share their own remembrances during the service (although I have experienced it). At most weddings I've been at, the congregation doesn't process down the aisle with the wedding party.

So it seems to me that there's something about what communion represents that leads to a position that it's wrong to have a wedding with communion where not everyone is permitted to take communion, that makes communion the flashpoint for "it's wrong to invite people to a service with a part that they're not allowed to participate in."
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
Seems like my funeral requiem mass might offend - except that the liokely attendees know me better.
 
Posted by LeRoc (# 3216) on :
 
quote:
Ad Orientem: It's just a crappy reason not to have the sacrament, because some people aren't able to partake of it. It's absurd. Shall we stop having the sacrament altogether so as not to upset the catechumens and penitents?
I don't know who the catechuments and the penitents are.
 


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