good quote from a good book

"The beautiful thing is to join a church that has gathered and find yourself looking around thinking, 'What could this group of people possibly have in common?' The answer of course, would be the new humanity. A church where the two people groups with blue hair -young men, and old women- sit together and somehow it all fits together in a Eucharistic sort of way.
Try marketing that. Try branding that. The new humanity defies trends and demographics and the latest market research.
In Acts 8 some of Jesus first followers are healing people, and a man named Simon sees this and offers them money and says, 'Give me also this ability.' Simon is seduced into thinking that the movement of the Spirit of God is a commodity to be bought and sold like any other product. The apostles chastise him for his destructive thinking because the Eucharist is not a product.
Glossy brochures have the potential to do great harm to the body and blood.
Church is people.
The Eucharist is people.
People who have committed themselves to being a certain way in the world. To try to brand that is to risk commodifying something intimate, sacred, and holy.
A church is not a center for religious goods and services, where people pay a fee and receive a product in return. A church is not an organization that surveys its demographic to find out what the market is demanding at this particular moment and then adjusts its strategy to meet that consumer niche.
The way of Jesus is the path of descent. It's about our death. It' our willingness to join the world in its suffering, it's our participation in the new humanity, it's our weakness calling out to others in their weakness.
To turn that into a product blasphemes the Eucharist.

On the night he was betrayed, Jesus led a passover meal unlike any other. He took the bread and the cup and connected these symbols with himself. He told them, 'do this in remembrance of me.'
The 'do this' is understood to be the taking of the bread and the cup as the body and blood of Christ.
So we take it and we taste. We reflect and we remember. We sing and we pray. We take part in this two thousand year old ritual. Some of us 'do this' in a church service, some every day, and others with a small group of friends. We 'do this' in all sorts of ways and in all sorts of places with all sorts of diversity. Some of us 'do this' with chants, and some of us in silence. In some settings a priest or a pastor or an elder or a leader serves us, and in other settings people serve each other, and in other gatherings people serve themselves.
We do this in remembrance of Jesus because the ritual moves us, it changes us, it humbles us, it brings us together.
Just try to do this with someone you are not speaking to. You'll end up reconciling or at least speaking or at least being more understanding and more compassionate.
But what if Jesus meant something else-something beyond the ritual? What if he was talking about our actually enacting what the ritual is all about over and over, again and again, year after year? What if the 'do this' he primarily meant wasn't the ritual he was leading his disciples through at the moment. What if the 'do this' was his whole way of life?
He has chosen the path of descent; he comes into Jerusalem on a donkey, not a horse, with children, not soldiers, weeping, humble. And he dies, naked, bleeding, thirsty, alone.
Maybe that's what he meant when he says, 'do this in remebrance of me.' The 'do this' part is our lives. Opening ourselves up to the mystery of the resurrection, open for the liberation of others, allowing our bodies to be broken and our blood to be poured, discovering our Eucharist. Listening, and going.

Because when we do this in remembrance of him, the world will never be the same.

We will never be the same."

1 comment:

Tim said...

Your quote from that book was the perfect ending to my thoughts yesterday Jimmy! Thanks! Hope things are well for you in SR!