I have eliminated one of the posts from this series. That was a post with some bibliographic references. Since the time I first devised the course, I have created a much larger food related bibliography called Eucharistic Eating. This is the book list that I will continue to add to on an ongoing basis.
This week we come to the class on the Eucharist. This class, although only five weeks into the course, is the high point of the Common Eating course. This is the meal that Jesus commanded his followers to continue celebrating after his death, and promised that he would celebrate again with them in his Father’s kingdom.
While five weeks in may seem early, one of the reasons for doing this class now, is that subsequent classes will look at our behaviour while glancing back at the Eucharist. Or perhaps another way of looking at it, is to say that while it is important that we are formed by the Eucharist, it is equally, if not more important, to see how the Eucharist may form our life on a daily basis.
This is the meal that has been celebrated by the vast majority of Christians throughout their history. This is the meal that has held Christian communities together, and torn them apart. This ongoing divisiveness is one of the reasons, that the willingness to take part in other groups Eucharistic traditions is a course requirement.
The willingness to participate in other Eucharistic traditions will of course depend on the degree to which the students in the course are part of other Eucharistic traditions. If, for example, all the students in the course end up being Anglican, all the Eucharists would be Anglican.
The class will look at the development of the Eucharistic practice in the church, covering the time frame from the book of Acts to the present day. Along with that the class will look at some of the varieties of practice, such as closed table, baptized members, open table, etc. Also, I hope the class will be able to look at ways that their churches might be able to incorporate the Eucharist into the context of a larger meal, as I know is already being done in some places.
One thing that will be a weekly feature of the class, is that we will celebrate the Eucharist every week at the conclusion of our joint meal.
Finally, I hope this class will also find time to look at the other meals we eat in the light of the Eucharistic meal. There are other parts in the remaining weeks of the class where this topic will be picked up as well.
This is a very short post. I decided it would be better to go bare bones rather than try and get into all the details of how this might play out. This prevents this from becoming a 30,000 word blog post, and it also acknowledges the fact that I think the class on the Eucharist will be one that will be shaped and re-shaped as the course is taught and re-taught.
Again, I welcome any comments. You can comment in the comment section below or send me a tweet @anglibubs.