sister church

A rare moment of ecumenical blessing today on Bute.

A much loved member of the St Paul’s congregation is dying.  I was going to see him today and — depending on how he was — intended to offer last rites.  Half way to Bute, I realised I’d forgotten my oil stock.  Three quarters of the way to Bute I had a message from his daughter saying he was worse today.

So, in sudden concern that our time was limited, my warden  rushed off before the morning service to ask the Roman Catholic priest if he would let me use their oils.  He sent her back with a full stock and blessings.

Now, I know it seems simple enough — what’s a bit of oil between churches.  But remember this oil is blessed by the bishop.  It is sacramental, and (depending on your perspective) even a sacrament.  So this was a very real bit of ecumenical sharing.

In the end, the person was much better than he had been, and we decided to wait till tomorrow for oils and eucharist.
Which means he can have piskie-blessed oils after all.  But I’m thankful I learned today that sacramental gifts would be given and shared.

3 thoughts on “sister church

  1. It is not, after all, truth or unity which enables these things – it is love. Unity is not much of a Biblical virtue. Truth is, and love is. Love enables us to see the truth in others. Truth can never be spoken, it can only be done.

    The gracious gift has a theological rational. A man is dying, as he is baptised, he must be anointed, if he so desires it. It is immaterial in which place he has been worshipping. But as you would say, the story could have been told in other, unhelpful ways.

    Love is best expressed in simplicity, in graciousness. Truth, best done, not spoken. Unity is best created by humility, and by accepting insult.

  2. Well said, Rosemary! I was about to answer something along the same lines myself but you’ve put it so well. If only everything were shared in this way among the various denominations – we might just reflect God’s kingdom to the world.

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