Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Firewater (And a Word about Communion Without Baptism)

Before the memories of Eastertide and Pentecost fade, I want to say something about Baptism as I poke around the ruins.  It is unsure what practices, structures, and institutions of Christendom will persist through these and coming days.  But the core things will for sure.  And the well spring is no doubt the great renewal of Baptism which is unfolding before us.

From the margins of "getting the kid done" (hopefully in private) to something more and more in the center of the Church's life, Baptism is like new water gushing up among the ruins.  Or maybe, remembering Pentecost, firewater.

It has been said that while the first fruit of the Liturgical Renewal was the return of the Holy Eucharist to the center of worship on Sundays, the deeper impact will come as we re-receive Holy Baptism.  I would say that we are still early in the time of the renewal of both of the principal sacraments.  But it is our time and it is an exciting time.

The hotly debated topic of Communion without Baptism will eventually be resolved as we deepen our practice and understanding of the Sacraments on the other side of Christendom.  Meanwhile, I would recommend no official change in policy while we live with some ambiguities in practice (perhaps stretching the concept of the "baptism of desire").

But the more significant "meanwhile" is the bubbling up of new life among us, through Baptism (and Baptismal Renewal).  I have said many times that we never come closer in this life to seeing the Resurrection with our own eyes than we do when we gather to the waters of Baptism.