Monday, January 26, 2009

The Eucharist and the World

We Disciples place great emphasis on the Lord's Table. We gather each week to break the bread of life and share in the cup of salvation. Although a pastor likely will preside at the table, clergy are not required. It has been that way, I think from the beginnings of our movement. But what does the Lord's Supper have to say to us? What purpose does it serve?

I appreciated Rob Bell's lengthy and challenging meditation on the Eucharist in his new book: Jesus Wants to Save Christians, (Zondervan, 2008). Bell points out the implications of our Eucharistic celebrations. He writes (and this is but a taste):

The Eucharist is ultimately about what we do out there, in the flow of every day life.

When the goal of a church is to get people into church services and then teach them how to invite people to come to church services, so that they in turn will bring others to more church services --

that's attendance at church services.

And church is not ultimately about attending large gatherings.

Church is people.

People who live a certain way in the world.

People who have authority in the world, but authority that comes from breaking themselves open and pouring themselves out so that the world will be healed.

Bell points to the roots of the Eucharist in the Passover, which means, he says, that the Eucharist particularizes the "exodus in time and space. Exodus is the ultimate picture of salvation." (pp. 160-161) It is therefore, a call to liberation of the oppressed.

He continues:

The Eucharist is the firstborn, the church leading the way in exodus. Every time we take part in the Eucharist, we're reminded that we were each slaves and God rescued us. The church must cling to her memory of exodus, because if that memory is forgotten,

the church may forget the poor,

and if the power are forgotten,

the church may forget what it was like to be enslaved,

and that would be forgetting the grace of God.

And that wold be forgetting who we are. (pp. 162-163).

What does it mean to share in the Eucharist? Does it not mean that we share in the life of the world that God is seeking to reconcile and heal?

1 comment:

adhunt said...

I only wish that I had had any theology of the Eucharist in my youth. But I am growing into it.

Man, these Fuller grads sure can write ;)