Reminder: Here by God’s Invitation

The Rev. R. William Carroll serves, rector of the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Athens, Ohio (Diocese of Southern Ohio) writes an interesting, thought=provoking piece in the Daily Episcopalian:

We see God’s Kingdom lived out, week by week, in the Eucharist. From ancient times, this meal has been seen as an anticipation of the heavenly banquet. Here, all kinds of people, bad and good, all are gathered together. If you don’t believe me, take a look around you! In the Kingdom of God, all kinds of people are welcome. Constantly, they feast together at God’s abundant Table. One of the Church fathers, John Chrysostom, put the matter this way:

“Week by week you come to the Lord’s table to receive bread and wine. What do these things mean to you? Do you regard them merely as some kind of spiritual medicine, which will purge your soul, like a laxative may purge your body? Or do you sometimes wonder what God is saying in these simple elements? Bread and wine represent the fruits of our labor, whereby we turn the things of nature into food and drink for our sustenance. So at the Lord’s table we offer our labor to God, dedicating ourselves anew to his service. Then the bread and the wine are distributed equally to every member of the congregation; the poor receive the same amount as the rich. This means that God’s material blessings belong equally to everyone, to be enjoyed according to each person’s need. The whole ceremony is also a meal at which everyone has an equal place at the table.”

Brothers and sisters, this is our mission as the Church, to create a foretaste of God’s coming Kingdom. This lies at the heart of one of our baptismal vows, which we often use as an informal mission statement in the parish I serve: “Seeking and serving Christ in all people.”

Daily Episcopalian

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One Response to Reminder: Here by God’s Invitation

  1. Magdalena Julie Bragdon Perks says:

    Interesting quote within a quote. If the bread and wine are distributed equally to all believers by the church, shouldn’t the other necessities of life, all of them God’s bounty? And how can we witness to non-believers when we do not live as Christ taught us? Are we ready for the big leap into full Christian life, or are we going to keep spiritualizing it?

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