Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.


Required Communion?

In 1779, students at Cambridge University in England were required to receive Holy Communion at least three times a year. That year, 20 year old Charles Simeon (1759-1836) entered the university in January interested in horses, games, and fashion. Baptized as an infant, his family was not religious. Simeon said that at that point in his life, Satan was as prepared to receive communion as was he. But Simeon decided that he must prepare for Easter communion. He began reading scripture and religious books.

He read of the sacrifices in the Old Testament, and later wrote that he thought, "What, may I transfer all my guilt to another? Has God provided an offering for me, that I may lie my sins on his head?" He said that on realizing that he had sinned and needed the forgiveness offered through Jesus, he immediately laid his sins "upon the sacred head of Jesus."

On the Wednesday of Holy Week, he wrote, he "began a hope of mercy. On the Thursday, that hope increased. On the Friday and Saturday, it became more strong. And on the Sunday morning, Easter Day, April 4, I woke early with these words upon my heart and lips: Jesus Christ is Risen Today, Halleluja, Halleluja!"

Simeon was ordained to the priesthood and served Trinity Church, Cambridge for nearly 50 years. His church tried to literally lock him out at first as he preached scripture to a university congregation not accustomed to such evangelical preaching. Over time, the congregation came around and supported Simeon's preaching and teaching ministry which would come to have worldwide effect as a third of all ordained ministers in the Church of England had sat at one point in his Cambridge pews.

It was the seriousness with which he took the requirement, which changed Charles Simeon's life. Who could imagine that a university requirement to receive communion would be to such effect? We celebrate him on this day each year as a saint of The Episcopal Church.

The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

O loving God, we know that all things are ordered by your unerring wisdom and unbounded love: Grant us in all things to see your hand; that, following the example and teaching of your servant Charles Simeon, we may walk with Christ in all simplicity, and serve you with a quiet and contented mind; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen



  • At 11/12/2009 11:00 PM, Blogger Tom Sramek, Jr. said…

    The irony, of course, is that actually requiring something like regular communion, especially from someone as unprepared as he was, is so un-Episcopalian nowadays.


Post a Comment

<< Home