Can we worship together?

Over at The Huffington Post, I reflect on my recent participation in a Lutheran friend's ordination ceremony, and I then explore some ways that ecumenism may begin in worship in an attempt to find common ground on doctrine. From the post:

I was in Connecticut at a suburban Lutheran church for the ordination ceremony of a close friend who was called to serve a congregation in western Massachusetts. We had met as divinity students; he was on track to be a minister while I opted for a strictly academic route. The school we attended prided itself on its ecumenical nature, and Tim used his small in planning this joint ordination to incorporate this ethos into his ordination. As a result, he asked me, his Roman Catholic friend, to serve as crucifer (some misread the title as crucifier, an admittedly more dramatic role I may have considered had it been offered). I would wear an alb, lead the procession to the altar carrying a wooden cross, and have a prime seat in the sanctuary for the duration of the service.

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From that vantage point I was able to see the other ways that the ecumenical spirit animated parts of the service. Many of my classmates had been ordained earlier in the year, and they vested and processed in behind me. Included were a handful of Episcopal priests, a few Congregationalist ministers, and others of various Christian persuasions. All the clergy sat together, their denominational loyalties mostly hidden beneath their uniform chasubles and stoles.

In the days and weeks that followed the ordination, I was filled with a spirit of ecumenism that I had not felt as viscerally since my time in divinity school, and my thoughts again turned to the place of worship in ecumenical efforts. There are many theological issues, some legitimate and some aesthetic and trivial, that keep Catholics and Protestants apart. Figuring out how to bridge these gaps often seems to be the starting point, with the goal of arriving someplace where common worship is possible.

What if we flipped the order?

Read the full piece here.

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Crystal Watson
6 years 9 months ago
Thanks for the link to the article - I found the ecumenism really "consolong", in the Ignatian sense of the word  :)
Bill Mazzella
6 years 9 months ago
What was Jesus doing at the well with the woman who had five husbands and not married to the man she was living with. Yet she became an Apostle to the Samaritans. What was he doing letting this evil woman anoint him? What was he doing with the tax collector? The real question, might be, David Smith, what are you doing?
Mike Evans
6 years 9 months ago
So what would happen if we 'accepted' all the Christian churches who practice valid baptism and renamed them as 'Rites' of the universal church? Roman Rite folk could easily continue just as Byzantine rite folk do now. But Lutherans, Episcopalians, Anglicans, Methodists and perhaps Baptists and Congregationalists,  too could offer valid and licit worship with their clergy enabled to consecrate, bless, forgive, anoint and preach the gospel. The current rhubarbs about the new Roman Missal could melt away into nothingness and those Lefevre-ites could restore which ever version of the old Latin mass they like. The real difference is that worshipers would be free in conscience to participate in whatever rite or rites meet their needs at any particular point in time. All it would require is to tolerate different hymnals, translations and prayer forms. I don't think God would be at all displeased to see his children praying together.

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