Monday, July 30, 2007

Sacred Meal

(A wonderful extract posted by Vicki K Black at Speaking to the Soul)

From very early times, human beings have shared meals together, and seen in such an act a symbol of fellowship, common life, common love. The sharing of food and fellowship, the drinking of wine in the atmosphere of warmth and joy, such activities are among the most important in life. It is not surprising therefore that at the heart of the worship and experience of God in Christian tradition is the activity of a meal, the Eucharist. Christian spirituality is of a eucharistic type, that is, it comes to see and know and even digest God within the framework of the liturgy of eating and drinking. It has thus the marks of an active and social experience, not those of a passive and private one. And both the involvement in action, and the social character of the experience, are of the essence, and not simply incidental aspects, of the Christian spiritual path. It is an experience of God which takes place within the context of an action involving movement, responses, manual acts, greetings of our fellow participants, the offering of gifts, the receiving of communion; and this action is the action of a community in which individuals are caught up. It is not therefore on the fringes of the common life, but at its centre, that Christian spirituality, even Christian contemplation, happens. ‘Now is the time for God to act’ as the Eastern liturgy says of the eucharistic action. To come to the sacred meal of the community is to expect a divine encounter, it is both to consume and be consumed.

From Experiencing God: Theology as Spirituality by Kenneth Leech (Harper and Row, 1985).

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