On Mother’s Day we celebrated Communion and baptized some children. This was the common thread I saw in all of the different activities of the day.
When we are born, we need to bond. Our earliest caregivers allow us to bond to others. When there is no bonding, emotional problems develop, usually in the form of anti-social behavior.
So we celebrate families in any form where children are brought into community, daily receiving and learning to give love. In such families we learn that we are loved even when there is nothing we can give in return.
When we mature we need broader communities. We realize that the family of origin is not enough even if it is healthy. We form other communities. The church is such a community.
A sacrament is a pledge of something. The sacrament of baptism is for us a pledge that we are part of the community of faith that is the church. We can speak about being children of God, members of a church family, brothers and sisters in the anointed oneness (Christ).
The sacrament of Holy Communion is the pledge that you are welcome always. You are welcome, especially when everything around you is telling you are not worthy of love or of being in community.
The challenge is that sometimes people don’t feel they are worthy or acceptable.
Those who did not feel acceptance into community, who did not bond well in early childhood or who have felt painful rejection from primary communities are the most in need of the family of God, the community of faith. They need to be reassured that they are welcome.
The real challenge is what to do with those who endanger others. Bigotry, prejudice, and anti-social or sociopathic behavior put those who are most vulnerable at risk. Users and abusers of others need to be confronted for the protection of the community. The tragic irony of our time is that too often the one who should be confronting the abusers is the one who is abusive. That can be an unloving parent or, sadly, the church.