Many meals

© Revd Rex A E Hunt
Director
The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought, Canberra
April 2005, Additions December 2005

MANY MEALS: ‘HOLY COMMUNION’ BEYOND THE TRADITION OF ATONEMENT

I wish to pay my respects to the Ngunnawal People
and to those who have cared for this part of the land
from time immemorial.


Introduction
Michael McGirr writes for the electronic journal Online Catholics.  I like the twist in the tail of his articles.  They make me smile.

In October last year (2004), under the heading ‘God builds houses with stuff from the tip’ McGirr suggests you can’t call yourself a Catholic “until you’ve had your share of troubles with the next door neighbour” (OnLine Catholics).

And then he goes on to tell what it is like living next door to a Cardinal Shallots (pronounced Shallows) who had moved in “after falling out with the Vatican when he ventured to suggest that Jesus had more on his mind on the night he died than the gluten content of the bread being served at the Last Supper”! (OnLine Catholics).

Not so for Cathy Bosotti.  In a ‘Letter to the editor’ in the Sydney Morning Herald (25 August 2004), she writes in support of another cardinal, Cardinal George Pell:
“Once again it is time for a bit of George Pell bashing over the banning of gluten-free hosts... Catholics believe that after the consecration, the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ are present in both species. For this reason, due to the sacred presence of Jesus, strict guidelines as to what is used have been reiterated...”

The debate continues over the presence of Jesus in the Lord’s Supper.

Being director of The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought has brought me into contact with people who, as Jack Spong says, have joined the ‘church alumni movement’.  And interestingly enough several have stated to me in private conversation that theories of atonement/penal substitution and the theology behind much of the celebration often called Holy Communion, leaves them cold and outside of a gathered community.

Speaking personally for a moment, this complex issue is also one which I have been wrestling with for nearly 35 years.  Especially the question: what difference does modern scholarship on the historical Jesus, such as that initiated by the Westar Institute and the ‘Jesus Seminar’, make on the way we ‘do’ church?  For not only does this new knowledge (some of it as young as during my own time in ministry) requires us to think differently about Jesus, but also how we shape worship - especially preaching and prayer - and our celebrations of the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper.  So this paper/presentation is a personal reconstruction in one such area: modern scholarship and the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion.

By many names
It should be stated at the outset that what we are talking about is the central ritual of the church.  A ritual which has been given many names over the centuries: Lord’s Supper, Holy Communion, Eucharist, the Mass.

Moreover, many different meanings have been attached to this ritual over time.  Lloyd Geering in a recent article called ‘Holy communion’, states:
“(in the Middle Ages) the church taught believers that the bread and wine miraculously changed into the very body and blood of... Jesus. Indeed a bell was rung to indicate the instant when the miracle took place” (Geering 2003:3).

He then indicates how mediaeval theologians devised a theology to explain just how this miracle occurred.
“The doctrine was known as Transubstantiation or change of substance” (Geering 2003:3).

This meaning was attacked by the Protestant Reformers.  But while they could agree on what the Lord’s Supper was not: “...not a sacrifice on an altar, by which Christ is offered up to the Father as a sacrifice for the remission of sins” (Geering 2003:3), they could not agree on what it was, or how the presence of Christ is in the sacrament, deemed to be so essential.

So what meaning can we give it today? 

Let me start by briefly looking at what we know about meals in the culture of biblical times.  And to assist me I will be drawing primarily on the thoughts of Dennis Smith, Hal Taussig and Willie Marxsen.

The tradition of meals
From all that we now seem to know about biblical culture and the early church, meals played an important role in communal life.  They were “a microcosm of the social system, table fellowship an embodiment of social vision” (Borg 1995:55). Christians regularly ate together, even before they began to conduct worship services.  They celebrated these common meals “in their homes - as complete meals” (Marxsen 1979:108).  With these meals the Jesus-tradition was continued. 

And the meal tradition which they followed - primarily the Greco-Roman banquet - was one they inherited... “shared in common throughout the culture regardless of the social or ethnic distinctiveness that a group might otherwise have” (Smith & Taussig 1990:21).

This ‘common meal tradition’ was well structured.  An individual would host a banquet/meal for friends. Invitations would be sent. Dining rooms would be furnished with couches where guests would recline.  Each guest was assigned a ‘place’ at the table according to their status in relation to the other guests.  On arrival the guest would usually have hands and feet washed before reclining.

The meal would have two major courses:
(i) the meal proper, and
(ii) the drinking party, which could also include various forms of entertainment, storytelling, coupled with discussion and conversation.  Sometimes an appetiser would precede the main course. 

Smith & Taussig note:
“This complex banquet tradition explains why various early Christian groups appear to have centered their meetings upon fellowship meals... (T)he Greco-Roman banquet provided both the form and the basic ideology for the development of early Christian meal liturgy”  (Smith & Taussig 1990:35).

The meals of Jesus
Listening to the stories and turning to modern biblical scholarship, there is general agreement that meals played an important role in the Jesus tradition.  Indeed, he seems so closely associated with meals that one of the criticisms levelled against him was as a “glutton and drunkard” (Matt 11:19).  But what kind of a role?

If we continue to accept the findings of much of modern biblical scholarship that the profile most appropriate to Jesus was that of a wandering sage, then two possible conclusions can be drawn:
(i)  Jesus regularly accepted invitations to attend meals and banquets as a guest rather than as a host, and
(ii)  Jesus used these occasions for ‘indirect’ teaching - rather than the so- called ‘blackboard and chalk’ kind. 

That is “he was always the guest who came to speak,” (Taussig 2002:174).  So given this “it is very difficult to imagine this same Jesus convening, organizing, and interpreting meals as a major part of his program” (Taussig 2002:175).  Likewise, it is also difficult to imagine that Jesus hosted or instituted a meal event called the Last Supper.  But it is to that we must now come.

The New Testament and the Lord’s Supper
The New Testament meal which has been the focus of most discussion for many years, is the Last Supper of Jesus.

There are at least four versions of the Last Supper tradition in the biblical texts:
Paul - (i Corinthians 11:23-26)
Mark - (Mark 14:22-25) and Matthew (Matthew 26:26-29)
Luke - (Luke 22:15-20)
John - (John 13:1-15).

Three versions emphasise a specific blessing or ‘eucharistic sayings’ spoken over the bread and the wine at a meal, which Jesus hosted, and which is described as happening on the evening before he died.  The fourth version emphasises the ritual of foot washing at the meal.

Generally speaking, scholars agree the oldest tradition is from Paul, followed shortly after by Mark.  Both circulated in oral form before being put in their present context.  And there are considerable differences between them. 

While the various traditions do “not support the view that the Last Supper tradition derives from any hypothetical single original tradition” (Smith & Taussig 1990:41), they do inform us “concerning the ‘liturgies’ of the Lord’s Supper which were in use in the primitive Christian communities” (Marxsen 1979:69).  And these indicate there was multiplicity rather than singularity of tradition.

Perhaps some brief comments now about the versions might be helpful.

(a)  Pre-Pauline

Paul, by his own admission, came onto the Christian scene as a latecomer.  Certain features or traditions were already in place or under development.  And one tradition was the Lord’s Supper “originally celebrated within the setting of a meal” (Marxsen 1979:95)

The implication of all this means the actions ‘breaking bread’ and ‘pouring wine’ “did not originally take place one immediately after the other; they were rather separated from one another” (Marxsen 1979:95). 

(b)  Paul - (iCorinthians 11:23-26)

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. (NRSV)

In the Corinthian congregation the Lord’s Supper was celebrated within a meal, but at the end of the meal.  In the bread saying there is no mention of eating or giving, while in the cup saying there is no mention of the contents. 

So keeping in mind that “what originally characterized the Lord’ Supper was the unity of the whole common meal” (Marxsen 1979:99), Marxsen goes on to suggest the two actions - breaking of the bread and blessing of the cup - are two ‘liturgical’ events “where interpretative statements are made about what this meal is and what the group is which eats the meal” (Marxsen 1979:99).

(c)  Mark - (Mark 14:22-25)

While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.”  Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it.  He said to them,  “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.  Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”  (NRSV)


In this story we have the earliest gospel narrative tradition of the Last Supper with echoes of the Paul tradition.  And immediate we note “it contains no explicit references to Markan community meals or to a command of Jesus that this be practised by his followers after his death”  (Smith & Taussig 1990:51).

Other emphasises worth noting are:

(i)  the wine saying immediately follows the bread saying.  Such a combination can only occurred after the meal has been removed;

(ii)  no command for repetition or remembrance;

(iii)  there has been a change from the cup to the contents, the wine in the cup;

(iv)  the relationship of ‘wine’, ‘blood’ and ‘covenant’ suggests the disciples (who continue not to understand Jesus’ mission), and Mark’s congregation are now being called to follow Jesus, even to martyrdom.

(d)  Matthew - (Matthew 26:26-29)

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.  I tell you, I will never again drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”  (NRSV)

Matthew keeps very close to Mark’s Last Supper story but with some different emphasises:

(i)  the meal is with the disciples who are the heroes of the communities;

(ii)  Jesus commands them to ‘eat’ and ‘drink’;

(iii)  adds a phrase which reflects Old Testament sacrificial theology.

The effect of these changes or different emphasises is to suggest a pro forma for the emerging communities that they are to both follow and pass on.  Likewise, the move from martyr to sacrifice “lays the groundwork for the later development of the sense of the priest presiding at the altar” (Smith & Taussig 1990:57)  which one must approach.  Their has been a change from ‘action’ to ‘elements’.

(e)  Luke - (Luke 22:15-20)

He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer;  for I tell you, I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”  Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves;  for I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”  Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, (which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”  And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood).  (NRSV)

Luke uses the meal tradition as a symbol of Jesus’ ministry as a whole, especially with outcasts.  Dom Crossan (Crossan 1991:361) suggests the ‘inclusive’ life-style practised by Jesus and his followers was an expression of this “radical social egalitarianism”.  While Smith & Taussig indicate the Last Supper text in Luke is found in two forms in the manuscript tradition - a longer text tradition (as in the NRSV of cup-bread-cup) and a shorter text tradition, which has verses 19b and 20 deleted.

In his second volume, called the Acts of the Apostles, Luke gives a technical name to the community meal: the breaking of the bread.  Thus is would appear that ‘the breaking of the bread’ “forms a link between Jesus’ Last Supper and the meal of the community” (Smith & Taussig 1990:56).

(f)  John - (John 13:1-15)

Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.  The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper  Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God,  got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself.  Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him.  He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”  Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”  Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.”  Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!”  Jesus said to him, “One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.”  For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you?  You call me Teacher and Lord - and you are right, for that is what I am.  So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.  For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.  (NRSV) 

John’s tradition is totally different.  There is only a passing reference to a meal or bread and wine.  Rather, the common act of washing feet before a meal is emphasised - indeed given as a command to the church to imitate.  How this was interpreted by the community is not clear.  But it never made the list of sacraments in the traditional church.

Beyond/before the New Testament tradition?

There is another resource not contained in the collection of writings called the New Testament, which should also be considered, called the ‘Didache’ - or in its full title: The Training of the Lord through the Twelve Apostles to the Gentiles.

The Didache is a pastoral manual generally believed to have been composed around the end of the first century/beginning of the second century, but   discovered in 1873.  Generally believed... because recent scholarship now questions that date.  According to Aaron Milavec (Milavec 2005: 7-11, 15-16)  the Didache was “created independently of any known gospel”.  He gives it a mid-first-century dating.  

In it there are explicit instructions regarding the celebration of the ‘eucharist’.

Concerning eucharist, this is how you are to conduct it: First, concerning the cup, ‘We thank you, our Father, for the sacred vine of David, your child, whom you made known to us through Jesus, your child. To you be glory forever.’  Then concerning the fragments of bread: ‘We thank you, our Father, for the life and knowledge that you make known to us through Jesus, your child. To you be glory forever.  Just as this loaf was scattered upon the mountains but was gathered into a unity, so your church should be gathered from the ends of the earth into your domain.  Yours is the glory and the power through Jesus Christ forever.”  No one is to eat or drink from your eucharist except those baptised in the name of the Lord.  Recall what the Lord said about this: “Don’t throw what is sacred to the dogs.’  (Scholars Edition)

There are no references to (i) a Last Supper tradition, (ii) the death of Jesus, or (iii) words of Jesus interpreting that death.  And the reference to cup and bread, in that order, is the reverse order found elsewhere.

Reflecting further on all this Smith and Taussig state:

“The meal is not presented as a continuation of something started by Jesus.  Nor is it interpreted as a commemoration of Jesus’ death.  While it does emphasize a special interpretation to be given to the cup and bread, it does not connect them with the death of Jesus but rather with a general sense of community solidarity”

(Smith & Taussig 1990:66)

Thus, one of the Jesus Seminar Fellows, Dom Crossan, argues that this version of the eucharist:

“reflects the kind of meal Jesus frequently ate with his disciples and

any others who cared to share his table” (Funk 1998:251).

And then the commentary spells out Crossan’s argument further:

“As it gradually came to be ritualized, the common meal first took

the form preserved in the Didache.  Then it was developed as Paul represents it in his letter to the Corinthians..., and was finally formalized as Mark pictures it.  Mark was of course copied by

Matthew and Luke”  (Funk 1998: 251).

In the wake of modern biblical scholarship, some suggestions...

Current church statements that want to claim the words said and gestures done around a holy table were determined by an original Lord’s Supper by Jesus, are neither helpful nor accurate.  There was no rigid uniformity.  Smith and Taussig write:

“If the first century and New Testament scriptures actually reflect a diverse application of a general set of meal customs, then any claim today by a church that it represents the correct and original understanding of the Lord’s Supper becomes suspect”

(Smith & Taussig 1990:83-84).

The scholars of the Jesus Seminar, when considering these accounts, concluded that the words recorded as having been spoken by Jesus should receive either a Grey (Jesus probably didn’t say it, but it contains some similar ideas) or a Black (Jesus didn’t say it. It belongs to a later or different tradition) grading.

Those who wish to attach a certain or exclusive theology to the Lord’s Supper - atonement or transubstantiation - misrepresent the traditions of these meals themselves.  While on the other hand, those involved in the ecumenical movement who seem to seek closer unity, and thus a closer uniformity of liturgy, need to remember their actions are more likely to do an injustice to some when there is less diversity.  Liturgical unity did not exist in the 1st century, despite some claims to the contrary!

Many meals.  Many forms and interpretations.  This seems to be a result from our brief exploration of the biblical traditions surrounding the Christian eucharistic meal called the Lord’s Supper. 

Various stages of development of the tradition have occurred: an open meal, then the separation out of elements into a “morsel and a sip... not a real meal” (Crossan 1999:424), then an emphasis on the elements, then interpreting the elements.  From a celebration within a communal meal to an orientation focusing on the elements.

There is not one Lord’s Supper in the New Testament, but various, and these various Lord’s Suppers can not be harmonised into such a thing as “the New Testament witness about the Lord’s Supper” (Marxsen 1979:119).

In its reflection, the Jesus Seminar concluded:

“The last supper... was not a historical event.  Nevertheless, the

Fellows were clear that Jesus often ate meals with his disciples

and others and that these meals had symbolic value... Since Jesus

ate frequently with his followers, there must have been a last meal

with them”  (Funk 1998:141-142).

While Willi Marxsen is quite direct:

“Jesus did not at all institute the Lord’s Supper which we celebrate today... (But) at the same time we must add that none of these forms

is fully without a tie to Jesus - even if this tie can only be demonstrated through a much-involved tradition-history”

(Marxsen 1979:117).

One thing does seem certain, however: from the beginning there was a clear social context for these meals.  Those who shared in them saw themselves as being part of a group, part of the social bonding of the community, connected.

And some concluding comments

On the surface then, it can be a fearful task to undertake a re-expression or reconstruction of the Lord’s Supper.  But that shouldn’t stop anyone from attempting that task.

Therefore, reconstructing the practise of the Lord’s Supper in line with modern biblical scholarship, it is my suggestion it is best to describe the celebration as an event.  That is, the bread and the wine “are the occasion and not the embodiment” (Cobb 1983:229)  of the historical Jesus’ presentness.  Take. Bless. Break. Give.  The fourfold pattern of the meal’s action is celebrated, rather than embodied in so-called substances ‘for the forgiveness of sins’.

However, I acknowledge my thesis is a work of fiction (in the true sense of the word - a story or interpretation, not a description (Cupitt 1991)) and is not likely to satisfy our Letters writer to the Sydney Morning Herald as she sought to defend George Pell!  But there is hope - even for Catholics.  Dr Jane Anderson, in a recent article in Online Catholics, writes:

“Currently we tend to over-emphasise the sacraficial aspect of Eucharist at the expense of the thanksgiving meal... By breaking bread together, in the name of the hospitality and practice of Jesus, we signify that we see each other as valued human beings, and in so doing, we strengthen our relationship with God and with God’s people” (Anderson 2005:1)

It is also important that one’s language and actions be carefully considered.  Here at St James, for instance, we intentionally use inclusive and ‘picture’ language in all our liturgies, but especially in our liturgies celebrating Holy Communion.  Following the suggestions of David Ranson (Ranson 1992) - that liturgical language match our natural seasonal experience - if the season of the year is summer, chances are you will hear of a ‘God of the lingering sunset and early dawn... of the hot north wind and the cool water bag’.

Likewise if the season be winter this too is reflected in such images as: ‘God of the unpopular, slandered season... of mystery, wind and storm... of brisk winter mornings, frosted back lawns, of warm socks, coats and gloves’.  Traditional theological language can colonialise in many ways! 

After a theological discussion on what we could say at St James as we served the bread and wine, the Church Council suggested the words:  ‘Bread broken for you’,  ‘Wine poured out for you’, rather than the traditional ‘Body of Christ’, ‘Blood of Christ’.  While the spirit of the liturgy was to be that of a celebration of the whole of life - a banquet - rather than a wake - a sacrifice.

Returning to Lloyd Geering’s comments, he concludes his article with a section titled ‘Communion as community’.  In that he says:

“The community spirit that is nurtured in this ritual we may call the Christian spirit... The reason is that as we share the bread and wine, we remember that this practice goes back to Jesus of Nazareth and even beyond, and we seek to embrace the values we have learned from him as we eat the bread and drink the wine.  There is nothing humankind needs more today than the building up of genuine community, and the fostering of trust and mutual concern that goes with it”  (Geering 2003:6).

I agree.  But the implications are far reaching.  Remembering “that this practice goes back to Jesus” (Geering 2003:6) can also mean we need to break away from a ‘confessing Christianity’ towards a ‘life-centred Christianity’.  From sacrifice to banquet.  But to do that - to put banquet at the centre of Christianity - as suggested by David Galston, can’t be done “without moving the cross to the side and, with it, the Christian trinity of sin, sacrifice, and forgiveness”  (Galston 2005: 17).

oo0oo


A sample liturgy

The following samply liturgy covers the Sacrament only.  Within Protestant liturgy the Service of the Word including readings, prayers, hymns and a sermon, would have preceded Holy Communion.  Likewise, there would be a hymn, words of mission and a general blessing following Holy Communion.

CELEBRATING COMMUNITY: THE SACRAMENT OF HOLY COMMUNION

    Welcome to the Table

At this table we give thanks for

justice, love, peace and freedom.

Mn At this table we give thanks for friends and strangers

together in community in this safe place.

Wm At this table we welcome old and young.

A place at the table. All are invited. 

Come, as we prepare the meal.

Presentation of the bread and wine

Gathering

God is the heart of life.

All And we are the heartbeat.

May our hearts be filled

with thanks and praise and songs of joy.

All We rejoice in the miracle of life

and delight in our participation.

Thanksgiving

We give thanks for the unfolding of matter,

mind,

intelligence,

and life

that has brought us to this moment in time.

We celebrate our common origin with everything that exists.

We celebrate the mystery we experience and address as ‘God’.

ground and sustainer of everything that exists,

in whom we live and move and have our being.

And we acknowledge this mystery embodied

in every human person,

aware that each one of us gives God

unique and personal expression.

All God is everywhere present.

In grace-filled moments of sharing.

In carefully created communities of loving solidarity.

We are one with everything, living and nonliving, on this planet.

Connected.

Interrelated.

Interdependent.

The story

We remember the stories from our tradition...

How on many occasions Jesus would share

a meal with friends.

Bread and wine shared in community.

v2 For everyone born, a place at the table...

And how the bread would be taken,

a blessing offered, and then shared between them.

And all of them ate.

 

And how some wine would be poured out,

a blessing offered, and then passed between them.

And all of them drank. 

v2 The bread and the wine symbolised human lives

interconnected with other human lives,

and the power of giving and receiving.

May the passion for life as seen in Jesus,

and in the lives and struggles of many other

committed and faithful people then and now,

enable us to dare and to dream and to risk... 

All Together may we re-imagine the world.

Together may we work to make all things new.

All Together may we celebrate the possibilities and hope

we each have and are called to share.


v2 For everyone born, a place at the table...

Breaking Bread/Pouring Wine

Minister moves around the circle and breaks the bread

at the four points of the compass

We break the bread for the broken earth,

ravaged and plundered for greed.

All May there be healing of our beautiful blue and green planet.

We break this bread for our broken humanity,

for the powerful and the powerless

trapped by exploitation and oppression. 

All May there be the healing of humanity.

We break this bread for those who follow other paths:

for those who follow the noble path of the Buddha,

the yogic path of the Hindus;

the way of the Eternal Guru of the Sikhs;

and for the children of Abraham and Sarah,

the Jews, and the Muslims. 

All May there be healing where there is pain and woundedness.

We break this bread

for the unhealed hurts and wounds

that lie within us all. 

All May we be healed.


Wine is poured into the cup.

This is the cup of peace and of new life for all.

A sign of love for the community of hope.

A reminder of the call

to live fully,

to love wastefully, and

to be all that we can be. 

Communion

Bread and cup raised together


Bread broken. Cup full.


To eat and drink together reminds us

of the deeper aspects of human fellowship,

for from time immemorial

the sharing of bread and wine

has been the most universal of all symbols of community.

So let us share this symbolic meal together.

The bread and wine will be served at several points, by intinction


After Communion

All Divine Presence in all of life,

we give thanks that we have gathered together

in this sacred place.


We rejoice in the giftedness of each person here.

We are grateful for who we are for each other.

May we continue to be truly thankful

in all we do

and in all we become.


The peace

God makes peace within us. Let us claim it.

God makes peace between us. Let us share it. 

The peace of God is here... to stay.

          All Thanks be to God.

You are invited to share the peace with your neighbours.

And to share in conversation.

Bibliography:

Anderson, J. 2005.  “In the year of the eucharist...” Online Catholics, 36, 26 January 2005, 1.

Borg, M. J.  1995.  Meeting Jesus again for the first time. The historical Jesus and the heart of contemporary faith. NY: New York.  HarperSanFrancisco.

Cobb, Jr. J. B. 1983.  “The presence of the past and the eucharist” in Process Studies 13, 3, Fall, 218-231.

Crossan, J. D. 1999.  The birth of christianity. Discovering what happened in the years immediately after the execution of Jesus.  NY: New York. HarperSanFrancisco.

Crossan, J. D. 1991.  The historical Jesus. The life of a mediterranean jewish peasant.  VIC: Blackburn. CollinsDove.

Cupitt, D.  1991. What is a story? Gt. Britain: London. SCM Press.

Dicken, T. M.  1969.  “Process philosophy and the real presence” in Journal of Ecumenical Studies 6, 1, Winter, 68-75.

Funk, R. W. (ed) 1998. The acts of Jesus. The search for the authentic deeds of Jesus. NY: New York. MacMillan Press.

Galston, D. 2005.  “Postmodernism, the historical Jesus, and the church” in Fourth 4 18, 5, 11, 14-18.

Geering, L.   2003. “Holy communion” in The Fourth R 16, 4, 3-6.

Holy Bible. NRSV. 1989. Ten: Nashville. Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Iona Community. 2001. Iona abbey worship book. Scotland: Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications.

Marxsen, W.  1979.  The beginnings of christology together with The Lord’s Supper as a christological problem. PH: Philadelphia. Fortress Press.

Milavec, A. 2005. “The didache: A window on gentile christianity before the written gospels” in The Fourth R 18, 3, 7-11, 15-16.

Morwood, M.   2003.  Praying a new story. VIC: Melbourne. Spectrum Publications.

Ranson, D.  1992.  “Fire in water. The liturgical cycle in the experience of south east Australian seasonal patterns” in Compass Theological Review, 26. (Copy).

Smith, D. E.; Taussig, H. E.  1990.  Many tables. The eucharist in the new testament and liturgy today.  OR: Eugene. Wipf & Stock Publishers.

Spong, J. S.   2001.  A new christianity for a new world. Why traditional faith is dying and how a new faith is being born.  NY: New  York.  HaprerCollins.

Taussig, H.  2002.  “Jesus in the company of sages” in R. W. Hoover. (ed) Profiles of Jesus.  CA: Santa Rosa. Polebridge Press.

The liturgy

Shaped from resources created by and adapted from: Carter Heyward, L Bruce Miller, Michael Morwood, Shirley Murray, David Bumbaugh, Sherri Weinberg, John S Spong, Rex Hunt, the Iona Community, the St Hilda Community.

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