Thursday, June 07, 2012

Blessed be God for ever

In this week after Trinity we reflect and give thanks for the sacrament of Holy Communion (Corpus Christi) Readings can include  Exodus 24:3-8, Psalm 116, 1 Corinthians 10:14-21, Mark 14:12-26

When the power goes out for a couple of hours ( as it did in our street a few weeks ago)
you suddenly find all sorts of things don't happen
No light, no hot water, you can't cook
how on earth do keep yourself entertained without TV
and keep in touch without the computer.
We are suddenly confronted about how much we take for granted
The sacrament of Holy Communion may have something of this character
Are we taking it for granted?
Have we forgotten how much it gives to us? Do we even recall what's going on?

The Real Presence
Traditionally we have talked about Jesus being 'really present'
in this sacrament
It seems to me that this idea is an important statement of what Christian life is all about
In the last few weeks (Lent to Pentecost) we see the mystery of Jesus's life played out
and Jesus makes certain promises about his presence
Chief amongst these is the promise to be with us when we are together
'For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.’ (Matt 18:20)
Now I don't really care how Anglicans, Baptists, Pentecostals, Catholics or Orthodox
explain what's going on in the Eucharist
I think we would all say ----that Jesus is there in our midst
(I don't imagine that Richard Dawkins gets this...but hope he might one day!!)
And the sacrament is the assertion of the statement Jesus makes ten chapters later
'And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.'    (Matt 28:20)
This is said just immediately before the physical presence of Jesus is removed ( see the homilies in the last few weeks (here , here, here and here for what this might be about)

The Real Absence
Because of course what this sacrament also proclaims
is that Jesus is absent
we rely on the tokens of bread and wine
precisely because the physical presence of Jesus
is no longer with us.
This is deliberate.
Because what this sacrament also proclaims
is that we are the Body of Christ
for the World
for the Church
for others

So the sacrament is reminding us
that not only does Jesus become Bread and Wine
but Jesus becomes you and me!

What does Jesus say?
We know the story of Jesus well!!
What do we hear him say and see him do?
For me, it is the proclamation of forgiveness
it is is the assertion that God loves me, indeed
that God loves everyone!!!
He is not out to get us
he wants us to have eternal life
he wants us to know that we don't have to compensate
for our human inadequacy
he wants us to love and be loved.
Of course most of us
are also entranced by the Jesus
who reaches out, forgives, touches and heals

Let me reassert then what this sacrament of the real absence
is saying to you and me
It is not saying that Jesus is not with us (quite the reverse)
but that WE are the Body of Christ

Each time we receive the Holy Communion
we are being reminded, reassured
that forgiveness, eternal life, healing
is committed to you and me
WE are the Body of Christ

I suspect it is really important
that we are reminded of this day by day
and week by week

Where am I being asked to speak God's forgiveness into the life of someone? (Do I need to say sorry? Do I need to forgive?)
Where am I being invited to help a greater vision of what God might be doing in someone's life? Can I offer encouragement, pray, offer solidarity?
Where can I be an agent of am I send me!

This is really important
Important that we not take it for granted!

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