When David and I were engaged, we knew we'd be getting married at my parents' parish in New York. To do this, we had to get permission from our own parish priest at the time. In our dealings with him, it was revealed that we were co-habitating, sharing the same apartment next to the insanely noisy R5 Regional Rail line. We were in love, getting married, and still clearly in violation of Church rules. He told us flat out that we shouldn't take Communion until we had moved into different apartments and confessed the sin of sharing the same bed. As David and I walked back to our apartment, I howled and railed at his audacity. "Fine," I said. "I get that there are 'rules' and he's obligated to inform us of them, but to say we can't receive the body and blood of Christ? Do you think Jesus would deny us a seat at his table?" Eventually I had to just let it go, but I didn't stop taking Communion. As soon as I was sure that letter was sent, we stopped attending that church.
I just finished reading a book called Take This Bread, and I really wanted to share a passage of it with whomever happens to read this. The book follows the conversion of a woman who was raised in an atheist family. On a whim one day, she walks into a local Episcopal church and takes communion. As her faith and knowledge grow, she feels called to heed the teachings of Jesus and feed the hungry. And so she does so, in a big way, starting a food pantry at St. Gregory's (her new church), and with some help from her community, is able to start food pantries in other locations nearby to feed to skyrocketing number of people who are unable to afford basic groceries.
It's an amazing spiritual memoir, and the author, Sara Miles, does a good job questioning why churches put up barriers to Communion.
Since this is Holy Thursday, and we celebrate the Last Supper, where Jesus broke bread and drank wine with saints and sinners -- both a man who'd deny knowledge of him three times and a man who'd betray him with a kiss -- I thought it appropriate to offer a meditation, via Sara Miles, on Communion.
This will be my last Holy Week post, as we are traveling to New York, so have a lovely Easter!