In his book Exodus, Peter Enns writes:
[The Lord’s Supper teaches that] Rituals are good, and they are instituted and used by God to ‘connect’ his people with him. We learn through ritual that the church is not just made up of individuals, but is a corporate body. It is not just about personal salvation, but a group of people, the people of God, who are bound to one another and to the faithful through the generations. [Exdous, p. 283]
The church is a corporate body. The church is more than a collection of individuals. We are connected not just to each other but to generations who have gathers around tables and broken bread from one generation to the next from the time of Jesus. We are cosmically linked to the people,to God who have gathered before and who will gather in generations to come.
The Eucharist is not just a ritualistic act that is repeated each time we gather, but a live giving, nourishing, healing feast that offers strength for the pilgrimage. Moreover, it is a feast at which each person present is an offering. It is a gathering of God’s own – bringing all that they are and offering it to God our Creator. Each time we gather we are called to bring our broken, tired, and sometimes weary selvesaroudn the table to declare – Christ has died, Christ is Risen, Christ will come again! Together as a community we declare that we are one body for we all share in the one bread.
As a priest I experience each celebration of the Eucharist a new call to conversion. It’s powerful! All the more powerful when we can find ways, spaces, places, and times to celebrate Eucharist that affirm that we can do that which is comfortable and known to us in new, diverse and different ways. How wonderful when we experience God in the sacrament in a new way.
Earlier this month our St Aidan’s community celebrated communion on the Sifton Bog. This early morning celebration of the ritual that brings us together as community with one anther and with generations of Christians before us and with generations yet to come, in th context of a quiet morning in the wilderness, allowed us to also be reminded that we are also in communion with all of God’s creation.
I confess that I am not an early morning dude. I, in fact, detest early mornings. But — standing with more than twenty others in the midst of the big, the Lilly pads, the frogs, the ducks before the day got started was really wonderful. It was, for me, what the Celts called a thin place where there was very little separating us from the divine. In his recent encyclical Laudato Si Pope Francis wrote:
Our insistence that each human being is an image of God should not make us overlook the fact that each creature has its own purpose. None is superfluous. The entire material universe speaks of God’s love, his boundless affection for us. Soil, water, mountains: everything is, as it were, a caress of God. [Laudato Si, 84]
Worship outside in the Sifton Bog allows one a glimpse into the caress of God. It was meaningful for all of us. All gathered were in agreement that we should take opportunity in the summer to do this again. And do it again we will, tomorrow morning in fact!
If you would like to come join us please do. We worship at 730 for 30 minutes – NO SERMON!! It’s a 5-6 minute walk (on Boardwalk) from a parking area just west of Remarks a Farm Fresh Markets. Come start your day being reminded that none of us journeys alone. Come and commune with one another and God’s creation. Join us in the journey.