Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the 51 year old Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church of Detroit. Piety Hill refers to the old name for our neighborhood. The neighborhood has changed a great deal in the over 150 years we have been on this corner (but not our traditional biblical theology) and it is now known for the neighboring theatres, the professional baseball and football stadiums and new hockey/basketball arena.

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Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Friday, August 23, 2013

Communion of the sick - Rector's Rambling for September 1, 2013

The Prayer Book has in its Pastoral Offices a form for what is known as “Home Communion”. In the 1928 Book of Common Prayer it is called Communion of the Sick. (p. 321)
There are two options presented in this section for receiving Holy Communion when sick.   Both options expect the priest to say the Holy Communion Service in the home or hospital.  What is provided in this section is two sets of Collects and Readings pertaining to illness and healing to be used in the celebration of Holy Communion at home.  There is also a shorter form, to be used “when circumstances render it expedient to shorten the Service” in which case the priest can begin at the Confession and Absolution, and go immediately to “Lift up your heart….” and continue through the Communion Service to the end.  The service also includes an admonition to those gravely ill on the importance of receiving the Holy Sacrament.
At the time of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer the Episcopal Church had not fully recovered the ancient practice of reserving the Blessed Sacrament.  The Body of our Lord, having been consecrated in the bread of the Altar, is reserved in a tabernacle or ambry so that it can be brought to the sick at home or hospital.
Connecting this visit with the Sunday celebration through that Reserved Sacrament, the person receives all the grace of Jesus’ Body and Blood under the species of the Sacrament in that one kind.  The service is also shorter (a help to those in semi-public places like a hospital room, or in great pain) and focused on the reception of the Sacrament as well.  It is frequently combined with Holy Unction (anointing with holy oil for healing).  The Reserved Sacrament is also a great aid in urgent, emergency situations and need.
Whether at church, hospital, or home, receiving Communion is always a good thing!