This article was originally published by Mennonite World Review

An open table?

Regarding the meaning of communion (“What’s Our Inclusion Ritual?,” July 30), I understand and appreciate John D. Rempel’s concern for theological “originalism,” but when individuals or groups use various symbols, their meaning almost always gets “corrupted” over time. Moreover, didn’t Jesus teach us that how we treat people — and how they perceive it — trumps doctrinal or ritual purity?

When I was a teenager, 65 years ago, I watched the minister in my home congregation, Lansdale (Pa.) Mennonite Church, deny communion to a Hungarian refugee couple who’d been attending for some time but hadn’t joined. I don’t know or recall why they chose our church; they must have been some kind of Protestant, or they’d have attended the local Catholic one. They never returned. I felt sad and ashamed and have supported open communion ever since.

Dan Leatherman
Fort Collins, Colo.

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