Readers may recall my Cup of a few weeks ago about my discovery of the Episcopal Church by marrying one and the estrangement it caused from my Roman Catholic parents. I’m happy to follow that up by assuring you that it didn’t last forever. A big factor in the eventual reconciliation was how Jonnie Sue handled it, with perfect genuine graciousness towards them. But it was nonetheless a long time coming and took Pope John XXIII and Vatican II. A defining moment happened at our first daughter’s wedding at St. Dunstan’s in McLean, Virginia. My parents came from Houston for the occasion.
For a myriad of reasons that I don’t now recall I decided I wanted to be a participant in the service. I don’t remember if I read the lessons, but I’ll never forget communion. I wondered if they would participate at all in the service, but when the administration of communion came, they followed Jonnie Sue to the rail and received the chalice from my hand. I think I could barely speak the words that accompany administering the chalice for fighting back the tears. I think one of them, I suspect it was my mother, had earlier decided that it was pointless to keep fighting this now that we had three grown children, and her change of heart prevailed. The communion was a reconciling moment.
“May the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was shed for you, preserve your body and soul unto life everlasting life. Drink this in remembrance that Christ’s blood was shed for you and be thankful.”
Ron Hicks, Parish Verger, St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, Washington DC, 24-March-2015.