The Mystical Eucharist
I have been trying to understand the Eucharist better and offering my take on my learning, reflection, and contemplation of this rite of the Christian Church. The Eucharist is something that some churches do once a week, twice a month, or once a month. I have even heard of a church that does it once a year. Many different ways of understanding this ritual of interacting with this shared meal with this act of remembrance. Each of us probably has our own favorite or preferred way of understanding this act of remembrance.
I am starting to see it as a way of renewing my commitment to Christ and His Church of saying I have been adopted into the family of God to show outwardly, what has been and continues to occur inwardly in my life. It is a profound way of saying I am a Jesus follower and am in the process of submitting my whole life to Jesus and his way. I know that I cannot do it on my own that I need Jesus. I partake of the bread and wine because I stumble sometimes I fall flat on my face and need the love of the amazing savior we have; I partake of the bread and wine because I don’t always know how to live and need a wonderful Lord. I am glad that Jesus fulfills both of those roles and that he is not just my Savior and Lord, but is Savior and Lord of all of everyone.
Andrew Cohen writes, “As I see it, the purpose of mystical experience is to convince us, at a soul level, that our true nature is Spirit—to convince us so deeply that we are liberated from existential doubt. Why? So we will finally be available to participate, consciously and wholeheartedly, in the greatest gift we’ve been given . . . which is the life we are already living right now.”
I see the Eucharist much like a mystical experience. Some might even say it is a mystical experience that somehow Jesus is present in the bread and wine and not just that but with those who partake of it. Partaking of the Eucharist allows us to live the life we are living right now and to live into the life we know we were made to live and to live into the eternal life promised by the gospel. It is in and through the Eucharist that we are transformed into Kingdom people. People who will spread Jesus to the world.
There is a mystical dimension to the Eucharist that is present even if we are totally unaware of it, much like God is present even if we are unaware of His holy presence in our life.
I don’t believe God is detached and somewhere else. I believe, I know that God is present is with us in this world and is in the process of saving and blessing this world for the good of all. I believe that love wins. I believe that Jesus meant what He said. We are to love everyone even our enemies, we are to forgive always and we are to live by faith in grace. The Eucharist is our mandate to be the hands and feet of Jesus in a broken world. The Eucharist is not something we digest and then we simply go our own way. No! The Eucharist is our mandate to be Kingdom people who transform the world through the Holy Spirit to be the world God intended it to be. God has not given up on the world and neither should we. God is trying to bless and save the world through us.
My prayer and hope is that more and more of us will wake up will become more aware of God’s presence in this world and let it shape how we live our lives.