Mark 9.38-41- For an Open Table at Communion?

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The Eucharist Table at the United Methodist Church is an open table, meaning that those who wish to partake may do so. I prefer this method of understanding, although I am a high sacramentarian. (I admit it, I am Catholic-Lite, or Light since I’ve seen the light which is why I am in the UMC). As I was reading the other day,

John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.”

Jesus replied, “Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. For whoever is not against us is for us. Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward. (Mar 9:38-41 NAB)

mighty deed = power = dunamis

Awesome. So, is there anything more powerful than a sacrament?

If we continue to invite people to share communion with us (even the occasional Judas) will they not one day come to Christ completely?


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Joel L. Watts
Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

2 thoughts on “Mark 9.38-41- For an Open Table at Communion?

  1. When I’ve seen arguments for open communion they’ve been based on Judas. It runs like this: if many texts are taken as Eucharistic in the NT – i.e. the feeding of the 5000, John 6, last supper – and Judas was present, doesn’t that mean anyone should be welcome.

    Not saying that line of reasoning is correct … but it’s the one I’ve seen.

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