Monday, February 23, 2009

Communion: The welcome table or a meal for insiders

Different churches has different policies for who is allowed to commune. They all have statements about why certain people are allowed at the table and while others aren't. But why should anyone be left out?
If Communion is the "foretaste of the feast to come" then everyone should be invited. Like the parable says invite everyone you see and go out to the streets and bring them in. It is a meal of Grace, undeserved. If Jesus is the host, then why are we putting regulations on it. Aren't we attempting to undo what Jesus was trying to do? Jesus came and shared meals with everyone.
It seems more natural to invite someone to a meal then to have then go through an initiation process (baptism) before they are allowed to eat. This makes communion a meal for insiders.
I've been baptized, and I'm a Christian, but if you want to evaluate my current level of faith before communion there are days I wouldn't be allowed. As I sit in the pew, I'm not sure what I believe or if the word Christian would accurate describe me, but I always take communion because I believe God is bigger than my doubts and the my neighbor has faith for me when mine is lacking.
So, when someone new walks into a church and feels compelled to participate in communion, even if they don't completely understand what it is about, I do not want them to be turned away. God is working in them, and we shouldn't let anything, our rules, misgivings, or tradition, get in the way.
Afterall, Christ is the host of the meal and is present, so let him decided who can come and eat. As far as I can tell, Jesus ate with lots of people and you didn't have to jump through any hoops to be invited.

Monday, February 9, 2009

I don't believe in Santa God

I remember very distinctly when I did believe in Santa. Santa was this amazing person who knew things about me and all children. Santa cared about me. Santa knew my Christmas Eve schedule, so that the presents would be delivered each Christmas Eve while we were at church. Santa knew me well enough to know what presents to bring even though I never wrote a letter.

But then there was Jesus. Jesus seemed like a good man. He told great stories and healed people. For a short time I even believed he told these stories every Sunday at my church. After all, there was a guy up there in a white robe telling stories everyone listened to, he must be Jesus.

I struggled for a while about the difference between Santa and God. Both seemed to know a lot about me and preferred when I acted good, but could overlook some minor bad behavior as long as I was sorry. When my Sunday School teachers asked what the meaning of Christmas was REALLY about I knew the answer was Jesus. (Being me, however, and never wanting to give the answer I just sat there while the other kids said Santa and the teacher go annoyed that none of knew it was Jesus.)

I stopped believing in Santa, finally. And my concept of God has changed from when I was little and confused the two, but this has been a slow process and still is kinda confusing. Santa and God just seemed to become one person. All those years I heard about Santa it really seemed like I was hearing about God. Eventually, the two concepts became one, and old habits tend to die hard.

I'm sure I am not the only one who got confused. Think about these images of God. Old man in the sky watching over us. We pray for things and God delivers. God brings healing to the sick who are prayed for, but only sometimes. This is Santa by another name.

I no longer believe in Santa, and I no longer believe in Santa God.

(You'll have to wait to hear what I believe in.)