Proskuneo Christos

My Photo

Oh wretched man that I am, who will save me from this body of death? Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Weekly Report 10

Ben Robinson
Weekly Report #10
11-27-05 through 12-4-05
"Helping Serve Communion"

This week I also had the wonderful opportunity to help serve communion. I was excited yes also somewhat apprehensive. The Eucharist is a sacrament which is highly significant and very powerful. I believe in the historically orthodox position that grace is communicated through the act. I believe an ordained minister should give the blessing over the elements but that it is fine for a lay-person to help serve the elements.

Some of my contemporaries disagree with me on this last point. They feel that it is fine for a lay-person to conduct an entire communion service because they themselves have at times done so and the service "was meaningful to all of us." When is the theoligical accuracy of a ritual determined by how "meaningful" it feels to the person participating in the act? Can our emotions not deceive us? Can we find something meaningful even if it was done with little respect to the act? I think so. Can God work in the same way through communion by means of a lay-person? Yes. But the question is really not whether God can but whether God will. It is clear that God has chosen to work in various ways in this world, some ways that are very specific. I am not supposing a blind sacerdotal approach to the Eucharist but I do believe that for such acts as sacraments God predominantly works through ordained ministers.

Certainly there may be exceptions, particularly when there is no ordained minister available (i.e. some middle eastern countries). However, exceptions are exactly that; exceptions. We should not make them the rule.

The experience itself was quite beneficial, even if I disagree with the theological position of my practicum church. I brought the juice around to the congregants. Communion was served by means of passing the elements. While this is also not my preferred method of serving communion, the experience still was valuable because I was able to be in the role of one serving his brothers and sisters.

Through this practicum I learned that the theology behind our praxy is very important. I also saw, though, the power that the Eucharist has to bind together congregants as a community. Communion seems to inspire in a community a change in perspective. Thanks be to God for His grace.

Weekly Report 9

Ben Robinson
Weekly Report #9
11-27-05 through 12-4-05
"Praying During Service"

I had the wonderful opportunity to lead the congregation in prayer this Sunday. I prayed the invocation as well as a simple prayer asking for God's providence in the situations that those in the congregation are going through. I decided to use an invocation that I had previously submitted for class. It is as follows:

Holy and ever present God! We acknowledge Your transcendence and rejoice in both it and Your promise of immanence. Open our hearts and our minds, that we may gladly receive that which You have spoken and continue to speak. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

I have found that I much prefer a "scripted" prayer over "spontaneity." Perhaps years of prayer being ushered as spontaneous babbling has conditioned me to be attracted to prayers that contain theological merit. The way a church prayers reflects the attitudes and depth of its people. I want to be part of a congregation which is seeking to not just know what they believe, but understand what they believe. I have found that often we say the right things without knowing what we are actually saying. This is a serious problem that the evangelical church is going to have to confront very soon.

As a result of this practicum, I learned that prayer is crucial to a service. It not only displays the character of the congregation but most importantly calls upon the Holy Spirit to be the present and driving force behind a service.