Sara Miles, from St. Paul’s, London

SaraMiles_StPaulLondonSara Miles, the granddaughter of ardent missionaries and a former agnostic war reporter, is the author of Take this Bread and founder of an innovative food pantry in San Francisco. In this talk given at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, Miles shares the pulpit with Nadia Bolz-Weber, a non-traditional Lutheran pastor and tells the story of her conversion. Miles’s narrative of a Damascus Road experience at the altar is my favorite example of why there must always be a place in Christianity for a clerical commitment to “open eucharist,” one that truly leaves it up to the inner conscience of the individual in the silence of the moment whether or not they choose to participate in “communion” or “the Lord’s supper” on their very first visit to a worship space they may know nothing about at all. Let me be clear here: I fully respect those clergy whose consciences and denominational leadership constrains them to limit eucharist only to theological insiders who hold their same position–but—it is important to note–in the history of the church–even the early church and even what we might call the “ultra orthodox”–we do clearly find other models that suggest a very different and broader openness for engaged (even sometimes forced) and tangible communion. As Miles learned in a startling instant, participation in and encounter with the incarnation of Christ can sometimes be full of surprises.

Merry Christmas!

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