"Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces." Matthew 7:6
"To suffer unnecessarily is masochistic rather than heroic." Viktor Frankl (Man's Search for Meaning, 1959)
I was thinking about these words as they applied to some seemingly fruitless endeavors of my own, then to life in TEC, but then, after reading Anglicat's comments here, I saw the quotes in light of the "open communion" debate.
The Bible is very clear that when we share Holy Communion, we "proclaim the Lord's death until he comes" (I Corinthians 11:26).
So, what is the "death" that we proclaim? Was Jesus just another guy who threw his life away in a quixotic endeavor? Did he "give what is holy to the dogs", or, by giving himself away, did he actually transform some of us mutts? Unless his death was a sacrifice with power to transform our relationship with God, why bother to commemorate it? The Jesus of "open communion" seems to be Frankl's masochist.
If Jesus' death is, as the "open communion" advocates seem to think, a symbol of "radical hospitality" or a friendly face for people interested in religion, then why stay with Jesus? Why not open the newspaper, find an article about someone who died gracefully despite a terrible disease, and build a sacramental meal around him or her? If Jesus is just one among many martyrs, or just a loser, or unlucky, or a victim of injustice, then why build a sacramental system of faith and worship around him? After all, he did nothing exceptional. We can find better archtypes of hospitality (there are other Hiltons besides Paris) and of generally nice religion.
And then there is the "proclaim" part. If his death is not unique or even exceptional, and not the focus of what we are doing as a church, why invite people to a remembrance of his "body and blood, given for us"?
No, if we are going to "proclaim" something, we need at least some understanding of it. And in baptism, the Bible says, we share mystically in Christ's death and new life(Romans 6). That alone might not make us worthy to "proclaim" anything (and there's plenty of corrective stuff in the New Testament, written to people already baptized), but it at least establishes the right reference points for what we do at the Lord's Table. To be baptized at least confesses that Jesus' death is formative of Christian life, and we renew and proclaim that as we share Communion with other baptized disciples. "Open communion" has no reference points. By definition, it is about seeking . And without the reference points (Christ's death and resurrection) set up in baptism, seekers can come to powerfully and tragically wrong conclusions about Jesus (and are probably being guided to such by the kind of preaching most likely to accompany "open communion.")
Open communion is a hoax and harmful. Should have warning labels all over it.