Eucharist essence…


I’ve spent the last few days transcribing one interview in particular for my MA dissertation project which is exploring contemplative photography as a tool for missional prayer. We were off topic for a moment as we spoke about black and white photography and how it works by stripping everything back except that which the artist is seeking to reveal…I’m struck by how on topic that was in the face of our conversation around theological understandings of the Eucharist – which we were speaking about only days before lockdown occurred.

Essence revealed…

I’m aware of the complexities around theology and the Eucharist and the real difficulties many are experiencing at the moment due to not being able to receive the sacraments – there was a very interesting conversation this evening hosted by #OnFireMission which I found very thought-provoking.

In my conversation a few weeks back, I heard about an innovative way in which a congregation were encouraged to take the essence of the Eucharist back into their everyday lives – it was profound and powerful; what is the essence for you and how do you bring it into your everyday life this week?

The Ritual of the Eucharist

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In preparation for a Quiet Day I am leading on Contemplative Photography at Launde Abbey I asked a colleague whether they would mind me photographing them as they celebrated the Eucharist.

Whilst it seems a strange request, I wanted to have a visual backdrop which allows for the opportunity to almost freeze the moment…what I got was so much richer.

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The realisation that there are as many ways of celebrating the Eucharist as their are priests.

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We are all a product of our own experiences of the Eucharist, and those who have shaped us along our journey.

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As well as providing an opportunity with God, the Eucharist affords us an encounter with those who have gone before, and have contributed in some small way to who God has formed us to be…

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The Eucharist is not only a celebration of the Last Supper, but also a reminder of the diversity of God and God’s people…

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Of our togetherness…

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And our brokenness.

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It is an outpouring of God who ‘Goes-between’ (to coin a phrase of John V Taylor) each of us, to draw us into communion with God and, most beautifully, with one another.

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God meets us in the silence, in the breaking of the bread and the pouring of wine. It was a beautiful opportunity to experience this sacred meal through the eyes of another.

 

The Bread of Love

Bread and jam or daily bread? 
Bread winner or maker? 
Bread of life or of love? 
Bread with raise or 
that which draws gaze? 
Bread of diversity: 
naan, chapattis, pita, 
flat bread, baguette, 
garlic bread and pizza….
It is kneaded – it grows, 
it feeds, it permeates
The bread of love

The body of Christ
broken for you
to preserve body and soul

Bread draws the world
in a never-ending meal.
Never just for bread, 
but something more real!
People gather near bread,
bread of life, of heaven – 
bread of love!
Manna given by God 
nourishes heart and soul
in the house of God,
not where we gaze at God,
but where God gazes on us!

The body of Christ
broken for you
for everlasting life

Bread because Jesus said
this is my body…
and so the ritual began.
Like the Emmaus journey;
disciples full of lament
met the risen Jesus
in broken bread.
It was the way he did it:
he took it, blessed it, broke it
and gave it to them…
the bread of love revealed!

The body of Christ
broken for you
to eat and remember

“Our hearts burned within!”
This bread of love,
more than bread,
more than being fed.
A nourishment stretching
to all of your being….
Take-bless-break-give
Jesus’ ‘real presence’
God-with-us now
in the gaze of the
self-giving Jesus
in the bread of love.

The body of Christ
broken for you
feed your heart with thanksgiving

It feels like acceptance,
true appreciation
of things said or done –
like a warm glow
but so much more!
Why then keep it,
or build barriers
around God’s table?
Protect the bread of love!
LGBT, disabled, disfigured,
marginalised people –
Step away from the bread!

The body of Christ
broken for you
that you may have faith

No – this banquet is holy,
utter inclusivity a necessity,
Jesus, offered for all!
This bread of love
transforms with a taste;
a meeting of souls.
As Meister Eckhart said,
‘your eyes which see God
are the same eyes through
which God first saw you.’
Great is the bread of love,
the mystery of faith!

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Lift up your hearts

#693 #middayeucharist with #stpaulscathedraldundee was a lovely #oasis in the busyness of the past few weeks #liftupyourhearts 

Eucharist

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#671 After the last college group eucharist  the last sessions at #theologicalcollege was about presiding at the eucharist – how does this help to #drawclosertogod or #encountergod? #divinemeal #tasteofheaven

Sacraments

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#575 I’m writing about the #eucharist as a #sacrament at the moment and have been struck by how far away from #Jewishfellowshipmeals this has come. What is so special about a eucharist service? What do we do in them that is about us rather than God? Is every eucharist a #divineencounter? We had an #americana themed eucharist this week, which completely transformed the shape of the service, and went some way to finding the balance between the formal and the informal, the sacred and the secular, God and humanity. #trulyspecial

All Souls

#463 #allsouls #requiemeucharist #commemorationofthefaithfuldeparted May they rest in peace and rise in glory. Amen. 

Home communion


#387 #day5 of #placement involved a #homecommunion visit – it was such a privilege to take communion to a parishioner who had not been able to receive for months and share in that with them. #ministryoflove #ministryofservice 

Tradition or accessibility?


#377 Life this week seems quite fixed around #cranmer and his #sacramentaltheology. Whilst slightly hard-going literature, reading specifically around Cranmer’s theology of the #eucharist and how that informed the #liturgy he wrote has got me thinking. How often do our #beliefs and #actions match? Do we say one thing and do another, or do we not question why we do what we do? For me liturgy is beautiful and often poetic, but I’ve been considering how inaccessible it can be for those who aren’t regular church attenders. The essence behind Cranmer’s liturgy seemed to be about simple language that all could understand. He also lived within a time where stories were told through images and symbolism – the liturgy itself was rich with symbolism, telling the story of Jesus from incarnation to ascension every service. Has the #church lost something of that essence of accessibility through #preservationoftradition?

Leavers Eucharist


#311 #leaversday at #riponcollegecuddesdon today with a #eucharist and a #blessing of ordination stoles. It was very emotional and yet fitting that these Godly people move on to flourish in #ordainedministry – go with our love and prayers!