This week has been for me a meditation on the Eucharist, thanks to some beautiful writings on it. Here are the highlights:

From “Small, Good Things” by Casey N. Cep at The Paris Review:

One way of understanding the sacraments, perhaps best articulated by liturgist Gordon Lathrop, is that simple things become central things. When Christians refer to the bath and the table, they refer not only to the specific sacraments of bathing and eating, but they point also to the sacramental character of every bath and every table. The setting apart of one table and one bath shows forth the splendor of all tables and all baths.

Discussion of open communion vs. closed communion fall to tatters in the face of real Eucharist as Jesus’s body and blood are real sustenance for a homeless man in “Good Tasting Theology.”

I was sitting near the back and watched him go up to the table and look for a minute before taking a piece of bread (gluten-free!) and taking a big bite. Most people couldn’t or didn’t see him, but I caught the eyes of a few others and exchanged smiles as he then, after few seconds, lifted the cup to his mouth and took a big sip. That widened a few eyes since we’re a community of dippers not sippers (to serve the germophobes in our midst). And then he walked out of the room.

And finally, the first piece mentioned a Mary Oliver poem, which I will post in full here. Savor it.

The Vast Ocean Begins Just Outside Our Church: The Eucharist

Something has happened
to the bread
and the wine.

They have been blessed.
What now?
The body leans forward

to receive the gift
from the priest’s hand,
then the chalice.

They are something else now
from what they were
before this began.

I want
to see Jesus,
maybe in the clouds

or on the shore,
just walking,
beautiful man

and clearly
someone else
besides.

On the hard days
I ask myself
if I ever will.

Also there are times
my body whispers to me
that I have.


2 Comments

  1. Posted September 15, 2012 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    love the Mary Oliver poem…so very, very much. thanks for sharing.

  2. Uncle Chumley
    Posted September 15, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Yes. Radical as it sounds, to see the Body of Christ is to see Christ: “the church . . . is His body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.”

    No wonder this sacrament, in His physical absence, is so ridiculously important…