Reflection on Communion or Eucharist in the Context
of a Sacrificial Meal
Presented at the Episcopal Partners for Faithfulness in
Daily Life 2008 Pre-Meeting
May 29, 2008 - Lunchtime
be with you!
(And also with you.)
As we gather here together today sharing life and common passions,
Let’s take a few moments in guided meditation
to reflect on how and why we celebrate the Eucharist in the context of a sacrificial meal.
I invite you to close your eyes.
Picture yourself in ancient times:
you are a landowner with some resources.
You have been blessed with such things as farm land and sheep and cattle.
You know how to encourage your children
and workers to do their best
for when you prosper they prosper and when they do well you all do well.
You are doing just fine most of the time and
are proud of your accomplishments.
Sometimes though nature is harsh – either it rains too much or too little.
And sometimes the wild tribes come
through and take what they “want” for themselves.
One day messengers come from the Kingdom on the hill.
It is good to have visitors.
You great them warmly,
The great Lord has noticed you they tell you.
You are invited to come with them to accept his offer of a covenant alliance.
This is the opportunity of a
lifetime you realize and gladly accept.
Quickly you gather your family,
and have your best workers
follow right behind with your finest gifts
and a goodly share of your produce as a fitting tribute.
It is evening as you arrive, dark
& cold outside the walls of the Kingdom.
Heralds with torches emerge from the darkness.
They greet you and your party:
been invited by the great Lord of the Kingdom.
The Lord who is strong and powerful
The Lord who is just and awesome
The Lord who has won the victory
The Lord who has won over the oppressors from the North and from the South
Lord who has won over the evil from within and without
The Lord who comes bright and brilliant
as the rising sun
The Lord who comes suddenly and mysteriously in the night
Lord who knows all and hears all
Great is the Lord!
You who have dared to accept the Lord’s generous invitation
Henceforth these will be your obligations in this union:
You will become his
and his alone!
You will respond immediately to his summons
You will give of your produce, workers,
You will give as needed for the sake of the Kingdom
You will join in battles against the
You will be loyal and you shall not die.
The herald continues:
if you become disloyal or disobey these commands
You declare yourself to be an enemy and:
You shall become cut off
You will be on your own
The forces of nature will overtake you
The raiders from the north will capture your daughters and your sons
And the tribes from the south will burn your fields
And there will be none to call upon for help.
In the face of all this
You shall be as this dumb beast and unable to speak
(And here before your eyes, a bull is sacrificed
it is dark and you wonder was this bull the one you brought as a gift?)
Suddenly all is silent.
Then quietly and clearly your name is spoken
by the great Lord
himself – awaiting your response.
You may open your eyes if you wish.
Now, if you accepted the invitation for a covenantal partnership with the great Lord,
fell to the ground pleading Lord, have mercy!
You have indicated your willingness to serve.
Perhaps, the Lord would have again called your name, loudly this time & with conviction.
You look up.
The Lord reaches out, takes your hand and firmly pulls you up saying,
“Come, there is much to discuss.”
And you enter the gates together and the rest follow.
While the stipulations of the covenant are being written out in detail
the slaughtered bull is prepared and roasted.
Once your mark is made to ratify the covenant,
blood from the bull is sprinkled
on both you and all those assembled from the kingdom
or perhaps a common cup is
passed around and shared
You and yours are officially united with the Lord and his kingdom!
And a shout
goes out from the heralds: GREAT IS THE LORD!
And it is echoed by the assembled citizens, your
family & workers.
So now I say: Great is the Lord! (response: Great is
Let the feast begin! (…and lunch is served)
Over lunch discuss the
1. How might the 1st century Jews felt making sacrifices at the temple while under
2. Jesus said, “This
is the blood of the new covenant.” Comments?
3. Much of the symbolism from this short version of an ancient tradition is continued
in our baptismal and Eucharistic traditions. What do you recognize? What has changed?
4. Shared meals (daily as well
as special occasion) can bring people together – unite them. Does this exercise help to see how the
Eucharistic feast is meant to draw the people together and celebrate the union?
5. How might you be able to use what you may have learned or experienced here in order
to celebrate meals more fully on a daily basis?