Sunday, July 20, 2008

Flesh and blood...

We've got to give the material world back its power, its importance, its Divine Indwelling, and its sacredness. And that's why St. Francis couldn't step on a worm. We are learning to allow creation to be a subject and to speak its truth to us.

This will lead to the beginnings of love, love for that tree, for that animal. You wonder what this communion is that is passing back and forth between you.

Richard Rohr, from the Medicine and Ministry Conference

Yesterday a group of us from churches across our part of the Salisbury Diocese met to discuss Back to Church Sunday. During the meeting we watched videos of the event from churches who had already piloted the scheme, and one of the priests involved said something to the effect that it is important that the service on Back to Church Sunday is a Eucharist. We are after all, he said, a Eucharistic community, and to do a non-Eucharistic service would be to present ourselves as something we're not.

I was so struck by this. We Christians are a Eucharistic community. Christ was born of a woman, a real, live, flesh and blood woman, and though he died, rose again, and ascended into Heaven, he remains our real, live, flesh and blood Saviour. He gave us a concrete, physical Eucharist of bread and wine, not only to remember that, but to actually make our relationship with him, and our relationship with each other and sisters and brothers in him, real. We eat his flesh and drink his blood; he becomes, by the ordinary process of digestion, our own flesh and blood. We are what we eat.

We can only give the material world back its power when we realise that we are a Eucharistic community, in literal, living, breathing fact, and not as some kind of pious abstraction. Otherwise we seem to ourselves ghosts, living in a world of concepts and categories: how then can we treat anyone, or any part of creation, with respect, let alone reverence? Hey guys, wake up - this is real!

Even so, come Lord Jesus!


Tony Heywood said...

Is this Salisbury UK or Salisbury USA?

SEO Salisbury

Mike Farley said...

Salisbury, Wiltshire, Tony!

Actually we're in Wool, Dorset, in the Purbeck Deanery towards the Western part of the Diocese.