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Saturday, November 7, 2015

Sacramental Protestants

This past week, I met a friend of mine for coffee.  If you know me, this is ironic, since up until about two months ago I was adamantly against drinking coffee unless I was in a dire situation that required being alert in order to keep people alive.  Over the past few years, I have probably stopped for coffee at a drive-thru three or four times in order to stay awake while driving.  Then I started traveling more often, doing a lot more of the driving than I ever had in the past.  I discovered Starbucks mocha frappuccinos, and you can probably guess how it went from there.  I still refused to label myself as a coffee drinker, but the truth is I was downing a frappucciono (or two) on, maybe, a monthly basis.  My trip to Portland, in September, sent me over the edge.  And, suddenly, I'm a daily coffee drinker, although I admit that most people might not say that what I'm drinking really qualifies, since I could probably drink the creamer straight and be just as happy.  At any rate, it has come to my attention that being able to say to someone, "Do you want to go out for coffee," actually opens up a lot of opportunities for community.  This just gets funnier, though, because as it turns out, my coffee date friend isn't a coffee drinker!  So, I get my mocha, and she gets her tea, and we pretend that we're adults who drink real coffee. 

Although she is not my very oldest friend, there is something significant about meeting with someone who has known you since you were ten years old.  Even though we have had stretches of life (sometimes long ones) during which we have not talked or seen one another, there are no secrets with friends like this.  If you just look at each other for more than a few minutes, it will all come spilling out.   There aren't that many surprises, either, so when I looked at her and blurted, "I really want to start taking my kids to mass on a fairly regular basis," it was sort of funny when she choked and tried not to spit her tea across the coffee shop.  Shock value?  Me, for the win! 

I then went on to desperately try to explain what it is to be a sacramental Protestant.  No, I am never going to be Catholic.  Yes, I masquerade as Catholic and love the Catholic Church and can't get enough of the Eucharist.  My definition of sacramental is probably a little different than hers, but it is so little.  It is not that different, which is why when our family participated in the Eucharist a couple of days later I added her words about allowing the spirit of Jesus to enter us in the bread and the wine (OK, juice.  We used juice.)

This has me thinking about how we might begin to better connect with people of different traditions, all who love Jesus.  I recognize that there are differences that will prevent us from coming together as one universal Church.  There are something like 30,000+ denominations!  But I think there are things we can do together, and I can't think of anything better with which to start than the Eucharist.  Eating together, drinking together, sharing the table, allowing the spirit of Jesus to enter us all, together, in the body and the blood.  If there's something we need to get right, I think this is it.

What are you drinking?


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