Common Eating – The Eucharist


Here is the list of the previous posts in this series. I’m simply numbering them for convenience sake. Post 1, post 2, post 3, post 4, post 5, and post 6.

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.

The common cup

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.

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30 comments

  1. Very interesting! I’m a Byzantine Catholic, but was a Roman-Rite Catholic for most of my life. I’ve had to learn that the Eastern Churches, while they definitely agree to the doctrine of transubstantiation, look at the Eucharist a lot differently than the Western Churches. For example, they don’t ordinarily practice the tradition of Eucharistic Adoration, because their viewpoint is that all of the Eucharist should be consumed at the Liturgy. It’s definitely interesting to find out how differently we all view the same things! 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Well, Donald, I tried to make a comment on “About” but couldn’t find the spot. I love the idea of the Eucharist as Common Eating. As an Australian Anglican I am very pleased to follow your blog and I thank you for following mine. On my other blog I posted a slightly apocraphal story about my Grandfather who was actually an Anglican priest who started out in Saskatoon before ending in Australia. If you want a bit of a giggle then the link is here. https://wp.me/p8PuzR-2h
    I look forward to more ecclesiastical ramblings.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This subject was not what I expected when I clicked on Dining With Donald. It really is interesting…I’ve been in different churches over the years…they all view this slightly differently. Fascinating.

    Liked by 2 people

      • I’ve been places where I’ve been handed bubbly grape juice or non-alcoholic cider. I’m hard core..I want wine..it’s only a bit..and I don’t want wafer..I want a piece of the bread with crust..and please, God, may all the assistants have washed their hands so I don’t catch their colds.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I understand the appeal. I dislike wafers as well. As for the dipping, that’s the most likely way to spread disease. More germs on hands than in mouths. Plus, if the chalice is silver, the silver helps to disinfect along with the alcohol.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. I was raised Roman Catholic. Your blog provides a different perspective on the Eucharist. Thanks for following me.

    Recently, I learned that lemons were considered a status symbol in ancient Rome and that remains of the earliest lemons were found in the Roman Forum during Christ’s time. You’ve inspired me to explore this finding further. Thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I grew up Roman Catholic, but the more I studied the Bible, the more I felt I couldn’t call myself RC anymore. It was many years before we lived anywhere long enough for us to start searching for a church to be part of, and we eventually became Lutheran. During our search, as we visited different denominations, I was surprised and perplexed by the lack of churches that celebrated the Lord’s Supper. There was the one that did it only once a month or something like that – a huge congregation – and they handed out the little plastic things with a cube of bread sealed on one side, and a bit of grape juice sealed on the other. These got passed out before the service started, but somehow I never got one. It was so odd.

    When we found our church home, one of the things I discovered was how much I missed communion. I quite literally feel different after sharing the Lord’s Supper. Something I never really felt, in my youth.

    Now that we’ve moved yet again, I’ve tried visiting some of the “nearby” churches, and discovered that only the RC church I grew up going to has communion every Sunday – but by the time we reached that part of the service, I did not feel comfortable taking part. It is most definitely not the same church I grew up in! The others churches I went to have it once or twice a month, only, and not on the Sundays I attended. I don’t get it. It is what we were commanded to do; why do so few churches seem to do it, regularly, if at all?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Donald. Thanks for “liking” my setting of All People That On Earth Do Dwell on my website. My sister and brother-in-law are Anglicans, so I thought I would step outside my usual range and set one of your hymns as an Easter present for them. I was a little worried (still am) that I might have “catholicked it up” a bit too much. Some of our more outward-looking churches in England have taken to including some Anglican hymns in their services – rather unwisely in my opinion, given that the Anglicans and Methodists perform them so much better. A Catholic congregation can make even the brightest and breeziest Protestant hymn sound like a dirge!

    Interesting discussion of the Eucharist here. As my contribution to it, you might like to take a look/have a listen to my setting of the Ave Verum. With that, you’ll hear me more on “home territory” than in All People. Some of my stuff is on YouTube now, which is a bit more user-friendly than my own website, and if you read music, you can follow a “rolling” score there. Just typing in my name “Roman Tepner” or “Petre Tepner” should get you to my pieces.

    I’ll try to set up a link from my site to yours. All the best, Roman.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you very much for your thoughts. I’ll definitely check out your YouTube as well.

      I grew up Salvation Army, so I also have a great appreciation for the Methodist approach to singing and hymn writing.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Re-Farmer I find it hard to believe that you remember that experience (plastic-wrapped bread and grape-juice) from a Lutheran church. Such a practice is utterly unacceptable from the point of view of the Lutheran Church, which insists on the “Real Presence” as much as we do. Some other Protestant denomination?

    I have great affection for the Anglican liturgy, we have made our own ugly by comparison.

    Pray for me, a Catholic agnostic.

    Liked by 2 people

      • It wasn’t so much the grape juice that caught my attention as the packaging and the distribution before the words of institution / eucharistic prayer, both of which strike me as very un-Lutheran. But I don’t want to be accused of messing in other people’s business; we Catholics *never* do that, do we?

        Liked by 2 people

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