Monday, June 8, 2009

Did You Hear the One About the Priest and the Pastor?

I was privileged to be a part of the wedding of one of our lovely young women at Bethel on last Saturday. As all weddings are; this one was beautiful. Wonderful music. Everyone decked out in their finest clothes. Wedding Director on the spot. Custodians at their post. It all went off without a hitch. And, when you think of all of the little details that go into a wedding, that's pretty amazing.

I presided sat this wedding and was assisted by a Catholic Priest. Early on I learned that our young lady was marrying a nice Catholic young man. They spoke to me about having the Priest participate in the service. Of course, I said. No problem. He can take half the service and I the other half. They wanted me to do the vows; so I offered to give the other half of the service to the Priest.

A month or so ago while visiting with the bride and groom, they suggested that the Priest just do the Gospel and the Homily. Word from the Priest was that if he did anything more than that he would have to fill out all kinds of paperwork.

That's fine. I told them I would do everything else. The Priest arrived and we shared the service. It was a lovely occasion.

Now, I say all this to say that we United Methodists have always been leaders in the ecumenical movement. That is, we have always been leaders in bringing people together from other Christian Churches, synagogues, or other religious groups. That's because we believe in the "Holy Catholic Church".

Some ask what "Holy Catholic Church" means when we say it in the creed on Sundays. It means simply: "the whole church, the one church, all of every stripe and category of Christian are part of the church." We believe that, while we may not agree on every detail of our faith, we do share enough as followers of Jesus Christ to, at least, bless each other.

Over my ministry I have preached in all kinds of churches, even a Catholic Church. And, I have shared all kinds of services with my brothers and sisters of other denominations. As one of friends once said: "If we can't get together, then who can?"

I say we can do more than that, we can accept and love each other as well. My life has been enriched by other Christians of other churches.

Dave Nichols

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Thanks for checking out my blog. I'm new to this, as you can probably see. But, I, like you, have convictions and ideas worth sharing. I hope this will be an opportunity to connect with others who are Christian and/or religious. I am happily United Methodist. I am committed to the basic teachings of our church, and to the compassionate outreach to the world.

I hope these pastoral ponderings will generate something in you that is hopeful.

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A graduate of Newberry College and Duke University Divinity School.  I have served as a pastor in the United Methodist Church since 1975.

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