Friday, July 26, 2002

Eucharist notes

Many months ago I wrote in response to a 'bagel and coffee' Holy Communion/Eucharist idea! At that time my point was:

The fruit of the vine is a potent and multivalent biblical symbol; to use another drink or juice is dissonant with the integrity of the Bible's witness to God's self-revelation of saving acts within human history, to the continuing efficacy of God's activity within a worldly, earthbound, physical human context, because these actions – and our sacraments, baptism and Eucharist – always gesture beyond that particular 'kairos' moment toward a more cosmic and universal meaning, to the 'Yes' of God's promises fulfilled in 'chronos.'

Although the earliest Eucharistic celebrations featured a round loaf of leavened wheat bread, I'm OK with using bread made from a different grain in any culture or circumstance where wheat bread's not common or ordinary. But again I'd caution to keep it as close as possible to creation [one reason wine is preferred over grape juice; besides, wine's more celebratory and although this feast is sustenance, it's also celebration!].

That said, it seems as if now the questioner was looking for a different focus. So I'll mention I've powerful and poignant memories of being welcomed and fed – physically, socially, emotionally, spiritually – at a meal as well as powerfully painful memories of being excluded. For myself there's no more 'leveling' experience than mutually participating in a meal, no more denigrating, dehumanizing – marginalizing – one than being excluded while everyone else is feasting.

A meal or snack eaten alone sometimes meets my need for physical sustenance [can be a mood stabilizer, as well! – happens to me all the time!] but from my own experience it lacks the fulness and completeness of a meal shared within a social context. Whether with one other person or with several, for myself food is, above all, a way of connecting, and if connecting in this moment, doesn't that also mean connecting with our shared human histories, connecting with our shared aspirations? Just a few thoughts.

To be continued…

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