Thursday, March 29, 2007

The rest of the trail

There's so much I need to say in response to Steve and now to Caroline Too too, - and that's something I really want to do,- but if I wait till I've got all my thoughts organised and coherent, we' might find ourselves on the far side of which point the trail rather loses its immediacy.
So I'll just tell you about the Last Supper station, and how that confirms for me the mind-blowing power of the Eucharistic action....

In some ways, the station "Remember Me" was the simplest station of the lot.
No funky activities.
No plasticene or pebble art.
Just a table set with bread, "wine", grapes, and lighted candles.
An invitation to think of things that are special because they help us remember a special time or a special person.
When they meet together, Christians have a meal....

The institution narrative is read...
Bread is broken and shared.
`Jesus said "Whenever you do this, remember me and I will be with you"'

EVERY TIME, there is complete, focussed quiet at the words of matter how the children have been on the rest of the trail, no matter whether it's new to them or "heard it all before", no matter what is going on in the rest of the church.
As so often, whether with Little Fishes, Open House or even on Sunday morning, the moment you pick up the bread and tell that story, there He is.
Just as he promised.
Holy ground, that it was a privilege to tread with those children.

I believe in the Eucharist because, in my experience, it works.
That doesn't absolve us from the need to go out and live as the body of Christ (at the "Servant King" station, the children heard the prayer of Theresa of Avila "Christ has no body now but yours...")
It doesn't give us carte blanche to hide within our churches, doing unquestioningly what we've always done and trusting that it will bear fruit.
But it is my firm belief that within the worship of the church, nothing, nothing has that same power to engage and to transform.
It doesn't depend on the skill or creativity of the leadership.
It doesn't depend on reading the signs of the times and matching provision to need.
It's not about us at all.
"When you break bread together, remember me and I will be with you"


Caroline said...

I wonder...

I love your picture of the children gathered round, leaning forward, engaging with each other, sharing, thinking (perhaps out loud?), responding...

perhaps that immediacy is lost in the formality of liturgy? (and I'm a fan of liturgy)

lost in the formal procession? (but I value making the pilgrimage to kneel before my Lord)

lost in some pretty shaky imagery?

There was an immediacy in your picture, a moment of relating and responding that too often is hidden from us within church life.

a musing Caroline Too

Kathryn said...

I think we're together on this one, Caroline - the eucharistic moments that I love have just that sort of immediacy and warmth,- and yes, it can get lost amid formal liturgy (though not always; liturgy enables the coroporate expression of process and journey, which we need as much as intimacy).In my limited experience, though, the moment when bread is placed in someone's hands is always a moment of heart-stopping reality for me, as priest.Of course, I can't say what's going on for them -but it blows me away every time. Juding from your comment on another post, it's not like that for you. I'm sorry. It's so central for me, I cannnot imagine how it would be not to feel this way - though recognising that there are undoubtedly any number of ways to meet with God that I have never experienced. Isn't it exciting!