Some people shy away from even using the word “Eucharist” because it sounds “too Catholic.” I honestly love the word. It comes from the Greek word which means “thanksgiving.”
I read a tweet by someone that read: “I value liturgy because I need ritual, to know however poorly I fumbled in faith this week, I return to center, I say, ‘This I believe.’” That is what we find in the Eucharist. We find our identity. Each time we come to the table, we are reminded of who we are as the Church. Communion is the embodied symbol between God and creation. It is poetry whose verses tell the story of death and resurrection.
With the Eucharist, God is reordering life. We tear from the loaves of bread and drink from the cup together and remember that our culture is filled with individualistic ideals that tear us apart, but it is those moments of bread and juice that we embrace who we are as the body of Christ. It is in those moments that we are re-membered. Jesus has already, in his body, defeated those sins that divide us. It is with the Eucharist and our worship that we renounce those evils and claim that our faith is in Christ, and that it is in him that all things have been remade, forgiven, made new, and reconciled. It has already happened. We are healed and forgiven already, right now. “It is the meal of the new covenant. It is the meal of forgiveness, a distinctive of the age to come” (Exploring Ecclesiology, p. 69).
The Eucharist tells us that what was broken has been put back together. Each Sunday is a resurrecting event—creation itself has been reconciled.
As the Church, we need to live into the Eucharist—each Sunday and every day—because it binds us together by the Spirit. “Jesus is not John Wayne or Clint Eastwood,” my professor once said in class. Jesus embodied humility. He did not bully his way, instead he did it through powerlessness, through love. The Eucharist is the heart and soul. It is the dominant symbol of how we are to live as Christians. It is our defining mark. We communicate the Eucharist when we interact with our community. The Eucharist says “suffer and die” in world that says “dominate.”
This is Lent, so I need the Eucharist. Of course, I really need it in every season of the Christian calendar, but Lent, where death is on the forefront of my thoughts. We journey toward the cross, toward the death of Jesus. However, we are also on a journey toward life and toward resurrection. We celebrate both in the Eucharist.