Maybe, instead of making the Eucharist an insiders' religious service, it might benefit from being the celebration of outreach, held in turn at hostels for the homeless, community centres for refugees, on the street with alienated youth, or with the elderly and friendless, on prison wings with sex offenders, and other places where the marginalised might be involved. All done in a cycle of commitment to selected groups, in the context of a shared meal, with the sharing of the Eucharist: an acknowledgment of the presence of Jesus and the Kingdom, a meeting and encounter, an expression of inclusion.
We used to have the Eucharist celebrated as part of a mid-week bring and share supper in a large house owned by one of the church members. And their welcome was warm and generous-hearted. But that was middle-class people meeting with their own. It was sort of insiders.
The association of meals and outsiders in this article is thought-provoking. Thank you.
What sort of Church are we? A group of religious people who enjoy meeting up with other religious people of their own culture and lifestyle? Or a Church that reaches out with a message of inclusion for the outsider, actually enacted, and enacted especially in the context and words and celebration of the Eucharist?
"How does the Eucharist exemplify the kingdom? What kinds of practice are useful? What do we need to recover, in our language and our ceremonial?"
Good questions. I've been doing some informal research around the celebration of the Eucharist where the congregation is small to tiny--like the mid week celebrations often found at the parish level or even some cathedrals. In doing so, I came across an issue I'd not thought about for decades, and that is the arcane and controversial practice of the "missa solitaria". I recall from university days that Roman Catholic priests often celebrated a private mass daily, i.e. a mass in which there is only the priest and a single server. The missa solitaria is something else again, no one but the priest with liturgy adjusted accordingly. I gather there is a debate among Roman Catholics about whether or not this practice is allowable for sufficient cause. I gather some Anglo-Catholics think the practice can be justified on devotional grounds. If so, wouldn't that be a lot like eating alone?
Perhaps Thinking Liturgy might do a post on this sometime?
Please note that comments are limited to 400 words. Comments that are longer than 400 words will not be approved.
Cookies are used to remember your personal information between visits to
the site. This information is stored on your computer and used to refill
the text boxes on your next visit. Any cookie is deleted if you select
'No'. By ticking 'Yes' you agree to this use of a cookie by this site. No
third-party cookies are used, and cookies are not used for analytical,
advertising, or other purposes.