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.
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.