Today is Maundy Thursday; a day which, for me, over the last 5 or so years has been a day to contemplate, reconsider, and dwell on the whole basis of my faith. In particular on this day I am always drawn to think about what celebrating eucharist is all about.
It’s quite pertinent for me this year as I have already had a number of conversations with around a dozen people which have fallen into two broad categories; one being of whether children should be ‘allowed’ to take part, the other with (Roman) catholic friends about who should be allowed to share.
Both questions shock me really. The first really saying, ‘when do children fully understand?’ To that I answer when do any of us fully understand what God is doing in Eucharist? If, as I heard the other day, a child saying ‘..but I love Jesus just as much as anyone else…’ then surely that understanding is enough. I know that is a simplistic viewpoint, but sometimes simplicity is necessary.
The second question really makes me shiver. This question really talks about people in some form of authority making a judgement; it’s people deciding who is or is not worthy of receiving communion. I think this midset betrays a forgetfulness. A forgetfulness that is missing the fact that this is Christ’s table, and that it is Christ that invites because, actually, none of us are worthy to join Christ around his table. No human can refuse to ‘allow’ someone to come to Christ’s table for it is not us inviting others, but Christ himself.
In the gathering we have started too use this invitation which i have seen versions of flying around in various places, but this is taken from Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals:
come to this table
you who have much faith
and you who would like to have more;
you who have been here often
and you who have not been for a long time;
you who have tried to follow Jesus,
and you who have failed;
It is Christ who invites us to meet him here.
In his daily thought today, Richard Rohr shares:
‘The issue is not worthiness; the issue is trust and surrender. It all comes down to “confidence and love,” as Thérèse of Lisieux said. I think that explains the joyous character with which many celebrate the Eucharist. We are pulled into immense love and joy for such constant and unearned grace. It doesn’t get any better than this!’
Today I shall be walking into the Chrism Eucharist this morning reflecting on this meal, and remembering the immense love, acceptance and grace that welcomes and draws me in … and that that welcome and grace and love is not just for a few, but for everyone.
This Easter time come … because you have a personal invite from Christ himself.