Eucharist in the Everyday
Dear Kaleid Ladies,
Today we offer our last reflective email where we examine how our habits shape our loves...how our daily practices form our worship. On this day, we turn our attention toward a worship practice that is truly corporate in nature--Eucharist--and ask ourselves, “How can this practice engender habits in our everyday lives that form us toward the love of God?”
Wherever your Christian faith journey, you have likely experienced the Lord’s Supper, which almost always includes the familiar words from I Corinthians 11:23-25,
“the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.”
Eucharist celebrates and replicates the actual meal that Jesus shared with His disciples during the long weekend that included His death and resurrection. In this space of remembering, consider that Eucharist reminds us to carry a few love-shaping habits forward, into our everyday lives.
First, the habit of forgiving, even in the intimate spaces. Yes, Jesus, by offering this meal to His disciples, was choosing to offer grace ahead of time to the enormous betrayal by humanity at large. But, it is worth noting that He was also offering pre-emptive grace to the cowardly, stinging denial of Peter and the lonely, shameful abandonment of all but John. He was letting go of the ways in which His closest friends would let Him down, choosing instead to include them in the beauty of His mission rather than scold them about the bad choices they were getting ready to make.*
Second, the habit of thanksgiving, even in the difficult spaces. Ann Voskamp reminds us of the Eucharistic connection between offering thanks and laying hold of grace in the hard places. She says:
“The root word of eucharisteo is charis, meaning ‘grace.’ Jesus took the bread and saw it as grace and gave thanks. He took the bread and knew it to be ‘gift’ and gave thanks. ‘Eucharisteo,’ thanksgiving, envelopes the Greek word for grace, ‘charis.’ But it also holds its derivative, the Greek word ‘chara,’ meaning “joy.” Charis. Grace. Eucharisteo. Thanksgiving. Chara. Joy...Remembering with thanks is what causes us to trust; to really believe. Re-membering, giving thanks, is what makes us a member again of the body of Christ. Re-membering, giving thanks is what puts us back together again in this hurried, broken, fragmented world.”
Finally, the habit of holy connectivity, even with the most mundane things. Jesus offered simple elements--bread and wine-- the most common place, a table. Eucharist calls us to connect the most “earthy” things in our lives to God’s story of Kingdom-come, God’s story of redemptive grace, God’s story of resurrection power. As we move through our days, we can handle, taste, touch, and feel the Spirit-infused life in the smallest, most ordinary things. We can see the created order around us through new lenses, recognizing that it, too, is being re-created and made holy by the presence of the Spirit of God.
Journaling Questions for This Week:
What has been your traditional experience with the Eucharist? In the past, what has it meant to your heart to experience it on a regular (or not so regular) basis?
How do you resonate with the ideas of forgiveness, thanksgiving, or holy connectivity in your own life today? What abundant life might Jesus be inviting you into through Eucharistic habits?
Meditate on I Corinthians 11:23-25 for 5 - 10 minutes, asking the Holy Spirit to speak to your spirit, inviting you to the table for the nourishment that the Lord wants to offer you today.
The Kaleid Team
* We are grateful to Ashley Mathews for her sermon on August 18, 2019 at Trinity Eastside where she offered this insight.