Does the bread and wine we use for Eucharist truly become Jesus' body and blood? Does that bread get infused by the Holy Spirit making Jesus' presence real and tangible? Is Jesus using literary devices here (metaphors and similes) that make the religious acts symbolic? Should what we hear today be taken literally or figuratively?
These are just some of the questions that arise when the Eucharist is discussed. This has been a raging debate for years uncounted with volumes written that can fill many a library.
Our Eucharistic Prayers in the BCP take the Via Media, the middle road, as is expected. Both the transformation of the bread and wine and the symbolic nature of the actions can be found in the same prayers. But wherever we fall on this spectrum, being part of the common table, the shared meal, is vitally important. The root of what Jesus is planting here seems to be about taking Jesus into ourselves and being changed because of that taking in. Much like shadows can change an image that we are seeing, and as the sun moves along its course in our sky those shadows change, our understanding of what we are doing around the Eucharistic Table can change, but the thing that is throwing the shadow does not change. Jesus' love for us does not change nor does his message: that we will be transformed by the communal act we share around our common table.
Being a part of this kind of community is so vitally important for our souls and for our true selves to be nourished.
Copyright 2008, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.