Monday, April 24, 2006

eucharisteo

As much as I love a liturgical Eucharist, there are times when the Communion meditation really speaks in a way that liturgy does not. This is one good reason, I think, for maintaining a diversity in our practice. Sometimes we need to be reminded in a ritual of the basic theological convictions expressed in our participation in Eucharist, through words that have been pored over and spoken and heard for generations. And sometimes we need to hear the voice of a brother or sister, a fellow seeker of the divine, expressing something heartfelt and unique and utterly honest.

This is why I asked RM's permission to post her meditation here.

When Jen asked for volunteers to lead communion, I e-mailed her back saying something like, “If no one else volunteers, I’ll do it” -- not, “I’d love to do it. Count me in” or “I’ve been waiting for this opportunity for some time.” Perhaps Jen didn’t quite sense my lack of enthusiasm, as she promptly e-mailed me back with a thank you and an acknowledgment that we were all set.

This has been my attitude towards worship the past few months -- just do enough to feel like you’re doing something, but don’t get too involved. I’ve been phoning it in. Why? Because it’s hard – hard to have to sit down with God and wonder what He could possibly have to say through me; hard because I’d rather not have to face my lack of faith, a faith that hangs on only because I want it to, a faith that is at the same place it was yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that. Hard because this means I have to pray, and I’ve been avoiding prayer for a while now. And hard because – as I begin with this personal anecdote – I don’t know how to make communion about Him and not about myself.

So I ask, “Why do I come here every week? Why do I sit here with these group of people, some of whom I know somewhat well, some of whom I know a little, and some of whom I hardly know at all? What, in the midst of the struggle to feel a part of something bigger than myself, makes me want to make my life about something other than myself? And the only response I can think of is a promise written in words, sealed in love, and passed down throughout the centuries: “For God so loved the world, that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” It’s that love and eternal life promised to us by the Creator that brings me here. On good days, we believe in that promise; on not-so-good days, we continue to hope.

So, in honor of that promise, I ask that we turn our attention to God, that we lay our hearts open to Him, and imagine Him among us, on the night when he was betrayed, taking the bread, breaking it, and saying, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” And in the same way, after supper, taking the cup saying, “This is the cup of the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever we “…eat this bread and drink this cup…” as Paul reminds us, we “…proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.”

As we wait for the day when our hopes become reality, let this bread and this cup be reminders of the promise in the words of I Corinthians 13: 9-13: “For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears…Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

5 comments:

JTB said...

actually, and I noticed this last night as well, there are liturgical elements embedded in this reflection...making this the best of both worlds in itself.

krister said...

thanks for pointing out the positive aspects of an informal communion meditation. Sometimes I get so tired of hearing only men talk about how they were thinking about their communion meditation while on their riding lawnmower on Saturday afternoon that I fanatasize about jumping headlong into more liturgical traditions. It's good to be reminded that good can come from a more relaxed and embodied affirmation of the priesthood of all believers.

jocelyn said...

These communion thoughts really blessed me. Could you pass that on to RM? Her words about struggle and hope really nailed my own experience lately. And I love how she seamlessly integrates the passages of Scripture into her own meditations and the practice of the community. Thank you for sharing.

Tom B. said...

RM is my wife, and let me tell you the love I feel for her is immeasurable especially when she so honestly and public tells of her struggles with faith. As a husband I know I need to be a firmer "rock" and I hope that together we can find our way with Christ as the focus of our lives.

J. Brent Bates said...

I started to leave a comment here, then it turned into the length of a blog post, so I put it on my blog. Please go read my thoughts over there: An Active Eucharist. But over here I at least want to say: "Well done, Regina!"