Friday, October 16, 2009

Undoing the Eucharist

Thanks, Maranatha, for posting this article (from here).

Lauren Winner, one of my favorite authors, recently wrote this opinion article about Common Cup Eucharist. Once upon a time Eucharist was taken by many from a common cup and from a common loaf (many churches still practice this) symbolizing the "re-membering" of Christ's body, bringing the people together as one in the Body of Christ. But now many churches, including the one of which I am a part, not only drink form individual "shot-glasses" but they also eat pre-diced individual pieces of bread and/or wafers. Now many churches are also refraining from drinking from the cup at all, and many more are even discouraging folks from shaking hands or hugging during the passing of the peace.

Why all of this? Well, the reason is obviously about health. People don't want to get sick. But could it be about something else too? Could it be a new sneaky way of undoing the Eucharist? What if all of this is to protect "innocent" upper-middle class white folks from having to share bread and a cup with someone "dirtier" than them... you know... one of those people.

Read the article

3 comments:

nate said...

Wes,
I actually have had the same thought: About fear of sharing the cup with someone who looks "dirty." I don't think many people consciously discriminate or think of themselves as better (although I am quite sure there are those who do) but there are those germ-a-phobes (like my mom) who would be hard pressed to share a cup with her cousin, let alone a stranger.

BUT, I enjoyed observing the Eucharist at a big old Catholic church some months ago in a downtown cathedral. Watching a common cup being shared between what looked like a business man and a homeless person (note the "what looked like" qualifier) impressed me with an overwhelming sense of family. A few folks who looked like they were the poor of the poor were also involved in the liturgical readings and leading of prayer before the service. Very cool stuff.

I'm reading a great book on the Eucharist right now...

WES ELLIS said...

Nate,
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. What book are you reading?

nate said...

It's "With Us Today: Jesus Christ In the Eucharist."