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I deeply appreciated Bill Leonard’s testimony about his mother and her advancing Alzheimer’s Disease.
Each first Sunday, when the deacons bring my mother Holy Communion and read the words of Jesus: “As often as you do this, remember me,” the text and the ritual take on a whole new meaning that churches should confront as they care for those who no longer recall the old, old story. Since Lavelle and multitudes like her live in remembrance of no one, even Jesus, then perhaps the church — the community of memory — can believe for her, with her as she sings, and even cusses a little, all the way to the end. Let’s all try to remember that, as long as we can.
This is the best response to Harold Camping’s rapture-mania I’ve seen so far. The ending deserves a standing ovation:
But even if we assume that the 21st is the end, and there’s no need to maintain any savings to fall back on, is spending huge sums of money on billboards the best way to help people prepare? Sure, we’re all motivated by an impending deadline, but the Family Radio signs I’ve seen aren’t invitations to a relationship with Christ so much as they are warnings not to be left behind. They seem to promote repentance based on fear of what might happen to you if you don’t turn to Christ, rather than the loving relationship you’ll gain if you do. Essentially: hedge your bets.
So if not billboards, than what? Perhaps it would have been nice if Camping and his followers had used the money to hold a series of meals across the country, events to which everyone—young or old, rich or poor—was welcome. They could create a place where everyone had a chance to serve and be served, to experience community, to rejoice in the gift of this life and the blessings it offers. And there’d be pie. Lots of pie. I totally would have attended.
But, as it stands, I’m not making any special plans. If the world is still around next Sunday, I’ll maintain my usual routine of riding the 7 train past 5 Pointz and enjoying the view as I head into Manhattan for the 11:30 a.m. Mass. Because, although there is a discouraging lack of lemon meringue at my parish, I’ve found it is a place where everyone is welcome, where I am able to serve and be served, and I’m able to give thanks for the blessings in my life. Even without billboards, I’m reminded every week that Christ has died, Christ has risen, and Christ will come again. And I also get the chance to look around at my friends and neighbors and to recognize in them the ways in which Christ is already among us.
Well done, Mr. Weber. Well done. (H/T: The Anchoress)
This story is too amazing not to share. The first chalice acquired for the first Baptist church in Tbilisi, Georgia, has been discovered almost literally in my back yard: in a closet in the chapel at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia. This was, in fact, the chalice from the first Baptist church founded in the Russian Empire in the 1860s. Archbishop Malkhaz of the Evangelical Baptist Church of Georgia has graciously granted permission for me to share with my readers the email I received from him. It is reproduced in full below the break, with links added and some very minor editing. (more…)
I don’t mean this to sound snarky, but I’m seriously confused by stories coming out of places like Palm Beach, Peoria, and Austin that their respective Catholic archdioceses are recommending worshipers not receive the precious Blood of Christ from a common cup, or at all, at the Eucharist due to fears over the spread of swine flu.
I’m confused because it has been my understanding that Catholics believe in transsubstatiation, the view that at the Eucharist the physical elements of bread and wine are transformed in substance so that they are no longer bread and wine but in fact the Body and Blood of Jesus. The outward “accidents” of the elements are unchanged (the taste, aroma, etc.) but the inward “substance”—what it really is—is transformed.
So, what does it mean theologically that germs can be spread through the medium of consecrated Communion wine? Can the Blood of Christ make you sick? The image that comes to mind is someone hesitating to shake hands with Jesus because Jesus may have shaken hands with someone contagious. I’m not sure what I think about that image, but I struggle to see the faith in it—Eucharistic or otherwise.
I can understand why other groups (the Austin TX article mentioned Methodists) would consider the possibility of contagion from Communion wine and take suitable precautions. For them, it’s still wine in substance and not merely in accidents. (It may be considered to convey the real presence of Christ, depending on the denomination we’re talking about, but the wine is “really present” as well.)
I welcome any clarification or correction from my Catholic readers. And yes, I will delete any uncharitable comments directed at any point of view concerning the meaning of Communion.