In a recent blog RJH describes his Mormon parents taking Holy Communion at an Anglican Church on a visit to England. I wish I could have read his interpretation of the Eucharist a few years ago—before I attended Episcopal services by myself in Cedar City, UT. I enjoyed the service until the small congregation arose as one and went to the front of the sanctuary to receive communion—leaving me sitting alone.
Having been schooled in Mormon tradition that the sacrament is a renewal of covenants and should not be taken unworthily—or by non-members, I remained in my seat. I shook my head when a deacon whispered an invitation for me to join the standing group.
RJH’s blog informed me that in Anglican tradition, communion does not represent the renewal of covenants. It invokes the presence of Christ for those who partake. Had I known that, I could have taken the Eucharist symbolically—attesting to the presence of the divine in each of us.
Not understanding the religious traditions of others can be embarrassing, even offensive. I do hope my refusal to accept the Eucharist that day did not detract from the spiritual experience of members of the congregation.