Sunday, December 11, 2011

Simply Sacred

Growing up, I was a Catholic kid. I received infant baptism into the church and my First Holy Communion after my first act of Confession. All of these rituals required a priest.

As I have grown I have often asked myself why parents can't hold a dedication ceremony in their own homes at which time they swear all present into a community of people who will lay down their own lives to raise the child in the way he or she should go. We would have to define laying down one's life, as very few of us will ever be asked to stand between a child and a bullet. But we are daily challenged not to lead our children to sin with our own examples.

In watching the lives of truly righteous people, I would respectfully suggest that it is much more difficult to live in a righteous manner than to allow oneself to be killed for what one espouses but doesn't necessarily live. It is we that should be dedicated at the dedication ceremonies, not the innocent infant. Only in this way can we stop handing our children our legacies of the sins of the fathers and mothers.

As for communion, our family meals should all be acts of gratitude for the gifts of the Creation and the lives that are dedicated to nourishing and protecting us. Some have a tradition of acknowledging "The Unseen Guest" at their tables, referring to the Spirit of Jesus. The Native Americans had rituals for honoring the food and the Spirit that provided the food. Kosher laws provide for respectful homage to the gifts of creation. Somehow, it seems to me that our giving over the full power of the Eucharist to a person performing a ritual among a group of strangers is not what makes communion holy.

We have lost the culture of family meals at which we honor The Creator, creation, and the providers of the labors of love that go into the nourishment of the vessels of our souls. Never do I feel more like I'm experiencing Holy Communion than when I am at the table of our dear friends where we always begin the meal with a blessing that ends with, "And bless the cook."

Having been a cook my whole life, I feel that he really does understand the efforts I expend to feed them my best blessing. The last time we were with them at their table, he was rather taken aback when I retorted, "and bless the people who earned the money to buy the meal."

My parents and grandparents spent untold amounts of energy providing for our meals. We would go to church and experience the sacred in that communion, but we were never taught that communion can happen in every loving home, and does in many every day.

1 comment:

  1. These things you mention are some of the reasons that in our tradition we have called "Communion" by a different label most of the time. We do refer to it from time to time as "Communion", but more often as "The Lord's Supper". For me, the Communion is about remembering the Lord's death on the cross as the price for my sins. He died that I might live. The wafer signifying the broken body - and the fruit of the vine signifying the blood that He shed on Calvary's cross.

    In my growing up as a Pentecostal, we always were taught to pray before every meal and it included something like, "Thank you Lord for the food set before us and ...Lord bless this food, the hands that have provided it and those that prepared it. In Jesus name." That's thanksgiving first to God, then to the human hands that took part in the preparation thereof.

    The "dedication of a child" always involved a charge to the parents that this was a moment of challenge to them that it is their responsibility to teach their child the ways of the Lord to the best of their ability. This dedication does not assure the child's salvation. That is a personal matter for the child to decide when the child comes to the age of accountability and makes his/her own decision to accept Christ or reject Him.