Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Can You Stand One More Wedding Word?

One more word from the weekend in Kentucky, and then I promise I'll shut up for a while. The priest with whom I co-celebrated the wedding was a wonderful example of hospitality to this Presbyterian from out of town. Since the wedding was in his church, he laid out the service and assigned responsibilities for the two of us. He pastorally decided to use the order for a wedding that did not include Mass, since at least half of those attending would be Protestant and not able to participate in Communion. Whatever you think about that division, I am grateful that he avoided signs of it for this service. (I know he wouldn't have served me communion if I had gone back to his church for worship later in the weekend, but at least he avoided awkwardness while we were together.) In the note he sent me some weeks before the wedding to assign responsibilities, he spelled out what he'd be doing and what he was inviting me to do, then said, "then we would both be doing good and important things for Kelly and Jesse." When we arrived in Kentucky for the weekend, Father Chuck was welcoming from the first time we met.
When the service was over and we were milling around in the narthex waiting to go to the reception, some lady I didn't know came to me and said, "I've lived here all my life, and I've never seen a Protestant and a Catholic work together as well as you two, do." She didn't say whether she thought that was a good thing or a bad one. I didn't ask. I told her that this Protestant and that Catholic had it figured out, and that if others would listen to us, we'd be happy to tell them how it works. She decided to talk to someone else. I continue to be amazed at how much distance there is between believers who claim to serve the same God. I discovered that Father Chuck had studied preaching with David Buttrick, the real person. That's something I've only done in books. And that he is a big fan of Fred Craddock. What humble preacher isn't? I am grateful for a positive experience and will look forward to others.

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