Maybe you know the story about Martin Luther and Ulrich Zwingli debating eucharistic realities at Marburg? It's documented lots of places, but essentially upon the Swiss Reformer's insisting Jesus' presence in Holy Communion was spiritual rather than physical (after all, Jesus is at the right hand of the Father and therefore cannot also be in Zürich, New Zealand, London and/or Baltimore at the same time)—if I remember correctly, Zwingli's point was twofold but right now cannot recall the other part of it but I do know Luther wrote Hoc est corpus meum, "this is my body" on a table because Jesus said the taken, blessed, broken and given bread was his body. Yesterday we celebrated the Baptism of Jesus, the feast that concludes the Christmas season, so it's high time I finished writing and published this Nativity blog.
I found this on Tuesday, 18 January: here's a short explanation of Zwingli's "point" I blogged long ago.
Early Christmas Eve I attended Christmas Vigil Liturgy at Holy Family Church in Linda Vista, super-grateful that Arlain posted an invitation on her Facebook wall. I've attended several Holy Family School events (Arlain's and Mike's three kids go to HFS) and Mike is famous locally as musician Michael David Lewis.
I obsess about, constantly long for and expectantly hope for homecoming, and on Christmas eve for a few minutes I was home at Holy Family, with Arlain and with Mike. When I got there the church was crowded, so I walked to an open space in the second row and realized Mike was right in front of me—Mike and Arlain were in separate places for pageant picture-taking. I often consider how God's eucharistic hospitality forms the model of what ours needs to be, and for sure I'd love and would thrive in a dynamic, multicultural setting like Holy Family's that's a mix of several varieties of Asian, of Hispanic, Caucasian and African-American. Holy Family represents every chronological age, people who are very able in most ways, some with hidden dis-abilities and a few who aren't very mobile at all. A national officer of one of the mainline protestant church bodies commented on a Roman Catholic parish very close to the denom's national ("national church" always sounds ominous to me, but you get what I've saying) office. Like Holy Family, that congregation represented immense variety, a true microcosm of the Kingdom of God, the Reign of Heaven on earth. But as the church officer observed, we're not officially welcome at *their* table and our pastors can't preside—officially or not. I've also obsessed a lot about my current lack of shared history, of "remembering whens" of experiences with friends, events each of us would remember in a mosaic of slightly different ways. Yet I realize I now share a decade's worth of history with Mike and Arlain! The first few years I was back in this city, many Sundays they sat behind me in the PCUSA I started attending almost as soon as I returned to this geographical area. As I've blogged maybe too many times, church, liturgy and sacraments fully represent a reality shared with the people of God in every time and every place, yet of course I need something not only more local but truly more individually mine. Gathered, blessed, broken and given..."This is my Body": hoc est corpus meum!
"Night of Silence," written by Daniel Kantor in 1981 was one of the hymns on Christmas Eve:
"Cold are the people, winter of life,Returning to multicultural Linda Vista and HFC, for what it's worth, in high contrast to my emerging realization that my life truly has unraveled and disintegrated in some ways (yet I've achieved far more than I'd ever imagined I would, so it's not about if only, what would have, could have or might have been but about what now is, yet still is not), people in that type of setting usually get who I am quite easily, usually like who I am and usually want me to participate as one of them. Yet the huge irony is that on Christmas Eve they didn't know I wasn't really one of them, and despite their knowing and liking who I am, if they found out, as a non-Roman Catholic Christian they couldn't commune me any more. More irony is in the fact that almost every one of them would agree with me: I am baptized and therefore we belong together. About the taken, blessed, broken and given bread, Jesus told us, "This is my body!" I look around the church and around the world, at the broken people and try to feel my own brokenness that must be ready for giving yet wonder when God will use me in the world. "This is [doubly] my body?
We tremble in shadows this cold endless night,
Frozen in the snow lie roses sleeping,
Flowers that will echo the sunrise.
Fire of hope is our only warmth.
Weary, its flame will be dying soon.
"Voice in the distance, call in the night,
On wind you enfold us, you speak of the light.
Gentle on the ear you whisper softly,
Rumors of a dawn so embracing,
Breathless love awaits darkened souls,
Soon will we know of the morning.
"Spirit among us, shine like the star,
Your light that guides shepherds and kings from afar.
Shimmer in the sky so empty, lonely,
Rising in the warmth of your Son's love,
Star unknowing of night and day,
Spirit we wait for your loving Son."
Yesterday the church concluded Christmas with the Baptism of Our Lord and Holy Family School had a Machaco Burrito benefit, so I attended 10:30 liturgy and picked up my burrito on the way back home. One more version of my almost daily burrito, taken, blessed, broken and enjoyed...
this is my body—Amen!!!