Tuesday, October 24, 2006

bread and wine

Our bible study at Grace is really quite diverse and wonderful. In it's original incarnation at Church of the Messiah, it has been the same group of older ladies for the last 15 years or so. Then, Fr. Rich came on board over at Messiah and he started to run it. The Liberian ladies joined in at some point. (Or perhaps they have been going all along.) When it moved to Grace, an older man, another woman and I joined in... and then, because we meet downtown and happen to serve coffee to the homeless every morning, we have started to get homeless men and women at our bible study.

This week our homework was to share what we felt the Eucharist is. One by one we spoke of our feelings about it. For some it is symbolic. For others it is a way of getting through the week. Some of us believe it is the actual body and blood of Christ, while others feel it is the real presence. The details were different, but the effect the same- we join our Lord at the table every week and leave feeling refreshed and renewed.

When I first got to the church, I snuck up to the high altar and knelt on the cold stone steps. I prayed to my Beloved and asked him to help me navigate this difficult situation with the Board of Directors.

Then, sitting at the table with this wonderful, soulful, and in some cases, hurting fellow travelers, I felt grateful and humbled.

Grace happens.

Thanks God.

PS: I sent my resignation letter to the Board today. It is finished, LOL.


ukok said...

This is very interesting to me, I'm leading an RCIA group on the subject of 'The Eucharist' in a few weeks.

Rachel's Big Dunk said...

UK, I am pretty much in line with the Roman Catholics on the Eucharist. I believe it is actually the body and blood. How that happens is a mystery to me, but I have learned to be comfortable living in the mystery of the sacraments... so what the heck.

What is fascinating is that the folks who view it more symbolically still find it a critical piece of the spiritual puzzle. When I first started looking for a church, it was clear that I had to end up in a place that offers communion at least once a week.

Phil B. said...


Antony let me know you mentioned my blog in your post- much obliged!!

So I wandered in today and read what you wrote- we might be kindred spirits at least in some ways. I've certainly journeyed far in my own understanding about the Precious Body and Blood, but even when I taught Sunday School in a Baptist Church in college I just couldn't believe it was simply a memorial- Eucharist has had way too much influence on my spiritual development to be simply a symbol- but I think along the lines of what St. Augustine of Hippo preached..."The Sacrifice of our times is the Body and Blood of the Priest Himself . . . Recognize then in the Bread what hung upon the tree; in the chalice what flowed from His side. {Sermo iii. 1-2}"

The Eucharist is one reason among others why I ended up Roman Catholic after 7 years as a Lutheran pastor.
Thanks for blogging. Phil B.

Rachel's Big Dunk said...

Hi Phil,

Delighted to make your aquaintance!

I have mentioned before that when I first left the UU church the centrality of the Eucharist was one of the main reasons I wound up in an Episcopal church. I simply couldn't imagine living without it.

It must have been a huge decision to leave the Lutheran church and your ministry. But I imagine that God must have walked that road with you!