Tag Archives: Eucharist

A Friend on the Journey

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight.
(Luke 24:30-31 NRSV)

I must admit that my favourite story about Jesus, from the time after he had risen, is the account of the “Walk to Emmaus” from Luke’s Gospel.

It is Easter Day and two of Jesus’ bewildered disciples are taking the afternoon walk from Jerusalem to the village of Emmaus when a stranger joins them. Luke informs the reader that the stranger is the risen Jesus, but his friends don’t recognise him.

As he walks with them he lifts their hearts with his explanation of why all these things had taken place. When they get to their destination it is dusk so they invite the stranger in to eat with them.

As they recognise him in the blessing and breaking of bread, they are astonished but, even as he disappears from them, they suddenly understand the depth of meaning in their encounter. Hearts ablaze with joy and enthusiasm, they ignore the dangers of a night-time journey and rush back to Jerusalem to tell their friends.

Jesus’ friends had thought that it had all gone horribly wrong for them; that all in which they had put their hope and trust had turned to dust; had been an illusion. Even as reports of Jesus’ resurrection began to emerge some of them (quite understandably!) struggled to take it in.

The encounter with the risen Christ changed that.

We have the benefit of the New Testament to explain this to us, and many have encountered the risen Christ starting with a tentative exploration of the Gospels.

But Luke, in his vivid account, gives us another clue. It was in the breaking of bread that his friends recognised Jesus with them; and for twenty centuries countless worshippers have discovered the same.

There are several names for it and numerous ways to understand it, but it remains true that many continue to find strength, inner healing, peace, forgiveness, renewal, enthusiasm, commitment and a deep sense of relationship with Jesus through worship which includes the breaking of bread.

Jesus,
Set my heart ablaze with love for you
and my neighbour.
Guide me to your truth
and enthuse me by your Spirit.
Amen.

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Come, Share My Life

While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
(Matthew 26:26-28 NRSV)

Sharing a meal together can be a very special experience. Even in this busy world where so many of us grab something to eat in passing, I love the opportunity to sit down and eat with family and friends, especially if I have been able to help with the preparation of the meal. At its best, sharing a meal is one of the holiest of experiences because in the offering and receiving, the sharing and sometimes the discussion, the laughter and banter around the table, we can catch a glimpse of the people we are meant to be.

Jesus shared this very special meal with his friends on the night before his own body was broken on the cross.

Even without entering into the theological disputes about the nature of this “Last Supper,” of the words and the meaning of the elements of bread and wine, we can see something significant.

In sharing this meal, in this way, Jesus is creating a bond between himself and his disciples. Those who share this meal, and those who come after them, have a share in the life of Jesus, the incarnate God.

We don’t worship a distant God who is unconcerned about our daily struggles, but who demands our utter devotion. Rather, we have a share in the life of the God who took our flesh and blood, who lived among us, and who knows our humanity.

We don’t have to go looking for God; God has come to us.

Jesus,
in the supper of your betrayal
uou declared your unity with your friends.
May I be your friend,
at one with you.
Amen

I Have Known You

Luke 24: 13 – 35

They walked, they talked,
but they didn’t know you.
Like many a glum faced theologian of our times,
downcast, they discussed, they debated,
but they didn’t know you.

You came,
you joined,
you walked,
you taught,
they listened,
they probably asked,
sought clarification, lineage, connections, explanations.
You made clear, drew lines, linked events, revealed truth.
Their hearts burned within them,
but they didn’t know you.

They offered you hospitality,
You hesitated, agreed
and then
they saw you, knew you
in the blessing,
in the breaking of bread,
in the breaking of bread!

My heart doesn’t burn often Lord,
not in the way it should do anyway.

Many times you have walked with me,
held my hand,
carried me even;
but do I really know you?
does my tiny and very frail mind really comprehend you
on your immense cosmic scale?
I sincerely doubt it.

But I have experienced the heartburn of your love,
your whispering voice in the hurricane of my soul,
and I have known you,
known the falling away of scales, like cataracts of obtuseness;
I have known you,
I have known you,
In the breaking of bread.

Nigel Carter

Agapé

For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

(1 Corinthians 11:23-26 NRSV)

We share a meal,
at least by symbol.

We gather, we pray, we offer, we receive.

And do we share a love feast,
given from generous hearts and souls full of grace,
recognising our part in each other and our need of God?

Do we consume the divine in consecration,
made holy by holy food?

Or perhaps make solemn remembrance of a gift from a victim lover?

Do we look back with grateful hearts for a kingdom inaugurated in flesh and blood,
spirit and divine humility?

Or are we on the fulcrum of history,
observing the temporal past with the expertise of hindsight
but living always on the precipice of the eternal future,
looking to an even greater feast?

We gather,
and if we think about it at all
we strain to find within ourselves
our excuse to be here.

We pray,
hanging our hopes and fears
on the pegs of someone else’s prayers;
all our thoughts rushing into the open
as if they were escaping from a burning building.
Some don’t make it.

We offer,
the only thing we can:
our selves, who we are, who we can be – with God’s help;
often believing that what we have is not worth the offering;
forgetting our cosmic stardust origins,
and God’s power to heal, build, create.

We receive,
and, sometimes, just for a moment,
we are still.
Just me and God, God and me.
Nothing else matters – just for a moment.

Then, again, in another instant, everything matters:
These people are God’s people,
This place is God’s place;
Whoever, wherever.

And then the feast is over.
There is work to do. Places to Go. People to see.
God’s work. God’s places. God’s people.
There is a new urgency;
A new urge for the Kingdom.

“Go in peace to love and serve the Lord”

Nigel Carter