Thursday, 26 October 2017

Shape of the Eucharist

We had the first of our 'Worship on the road to Emmaus' groups yesterday, a short course enabling me explore faith alongside (nineteen of ) those I'm beginning to get to know here and to re-visit themes which have meant a lot to me over the years.

The session worked its way round the apparently unremarkable fact that our Communion service is always divided into four parts: Gathering; Word; Sacrament; Dismissal.

One might have thought that Gathering and Dismissal were incidental, while attending to God’s Word and celebrating the Sacrament were the main focus.

But it is always significant to me that beginning with the people of God being greeted in God’s name and collected together in prayer, and finishing with the people of God being sent out and having to go, provides a rhythm – almost like a heart beat – almost like the whole church breathing in and breathing out.

The ideal is that people of God spend most of their time as God’s disciples in the world.  Then, very briefly, they are called together, almost to be re-oxygenated by Word and Sacrament, and sent out again.

Next week we'll link this, as I always do in my mind, with a sense that every Eucharist could takes us back to the evening of Easter Day.  Not just gathering - but Christ almost slipping in to walk alongside us.  Not just exploring the Word - but our hearts burning within us as it is applied.  Not just celebrating the Sacrament - but recognising Christ in the breaking of bread.  No just going out - but being impelled back to the place from which we have come with new purpose.

The alabaster figures are Jesus and the two unnamed followers on the journey to Emmaus and they are on the pulpit in St Michael's.

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