Saturday, February 11, 2017

I Come For the Eucharist

This is a piece I wrote after my first meeting with a spiritual director, where he saw me light up about the Eucharist. It was something I promptly wrote, sent in for the church newsletter, and then set aside. It wasn't until this week, in conversation with people who have done and explored ministry development teams, that raise up local people for ordination into different roles in the community, and those who don't have weekly access to the sacrament, that I realized how vital it is to bring access to the Eucharist for everyone, regardless of their ability to hire clergy. It brought me back to this piece, which reappeared to me in the church newsletter that was delivered to my door today. This is the reason why I believe Eucharist matters. This is why I consider myself to be Anglo-Catholic, but also am comfortable doing Eucharist in what some may deem a "low church" way, in a bar, park or wherever. Because in the end, I love smells and bells, I love ritual, and order, but it all pales in comparison with the Eucharist. 

I grew up in a tradition where we had communion once a month. Some months it was powerful, some months it was perfunctory, but every month, I tried to make it. I noticed as I grew up, I felt when I had missed communion Sunday. It mattered.
As I considered ministry, I found myself going to multiple churches on the weekend. I was searching for something. I was connected to a community, but I also felt an absence. And as I entered seminary, I realized what it was. I was searching for Eucharist. I started having it multiple times a week, and as I became Episcopalian I found joy in having it as part of my Sunday morning worship. Some Sundays I’m tired, I’m not feeling particularly sociable, I’d really like one more jolt of caffeine, but I come. I come for this.
The Eucharist to me is more than a prayer, bread, and wine. In it, Jesus dwells among us. Jesus becomes incarnate, made flesh, in us. The bread and wine take on the Spirit, and the Spirit is ingested, moving throughout our bodies, bringing nourishment and life. Our cells are given a jolt of Spirit. We are literally taking on a new life. It doesn’t come all at once. It comes little by little, piece by piece. Week by week we get just a little bit more. We, the body of Christ, take sustenance from Jesus’ body, becoming like him.

I also find that as we, who are a diverse group of many people, take in the one body, we all become interconnected, into one body. I can no longer hold grudges and divisiveness in my heart against one of you. We all share in Christ. Similarly, I can’t hold hatred against any Christian. We are all connected. And as the circles of connectedness, of people who are all one in this body, are drawn wider, from the service, to the congregation, to the diocese, to the nation, to the world, I find that being part of this interconnected and living Christ, I cannot find hatred for people of other religions and no religion. I can’t find hatred at all. We all share in a big, beautiful, diverse body. Some do not believe in Christ, some don’t take the Eucharist, but we all eat. We all drink. We all require nourishment. While the Eucharist is particularly holy, blessed elements that bring the divine Christ, all food sustains life. All food allows individual spirits to be uplifted. All food connects us. And so, the simple table, the wafer, the wine, brings this cosmic interconnectedness in which I can only find love and care for those around me. And so I come. I take in the Spirit, and I find life anew with all of creation. I find myself drawn deeper into the love that is without boundaries.  Amen. 

No comments:

Post a Comment