LLM Residential 3: The Eucharist

First Reading Genesis 14.18-20

Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.” Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

The Eucharist is a Christian sacrament, but stands in the inheritance of older Jewish tradition – the Seder (Passover meal) and Kiddush (Saturday meal) for instance – in which God’s saving presence in history is remembered and he is thanked (Eucharist means ‘thanksgiving’) and blessed.

What do you bring from your world/community/experience to the eucharist at the moment? For what work of God can you give thanks and bless him? As we make these connections, we also help those to whom we minister to make their own connections too.

Second Reading 1 Corinthians 11.23-26

Beloved: 23I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, 24and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ 25In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ 26For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

The Eucharist commemorates the Last Supper and fulfils Jesus’ commandment to “do this in remembrance of me”. At it we take our place in the story of Christ’s life, death and resurrection and celebrate – even anticipate – the hope we have in him of his coming kingdom.
What do you and your Christian community have a vision/heart/longing for, as part of the coming of God’s kingdom? How can that be represented, voiced and held in hope in the Eucharist? What part does your preaching have in doing this?

Gospel John 6.51-58

Jesus said: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live for ever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you can eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live for ever.”

The Eucharist is Christ’s real presence among his people today, and a call to them to live his life and share in his mission. (The word Mass comes from the words ‘Ite, missa est’ at the end of the Roman liturgy, which could have the sense of ‘Go: the church is sent.’)
How can your Eucharist really reflect the real and living presence of Christ within it? What would help us to go out from it sent and full of life?

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