At the Passover meal Jesus shared with his disciples on the night he was betrayed, Matthew’s gospel records these words spoken by Jesus upon the breaking of the bread: “Take and eat. This is my body,” and these upon the sharing of the cup: “Drink from this, all of you” (Matthew 26:26-28).
In Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, he offers comment and instruction on the community’s Eucharistic practice indicating that this practice given by Jesus to his disciples at their last supper together had become a regular practice of the first Christian communities. For these early Christian communities, partaking in these elements was, at a minimum, a simple yet meaningful reminder that “as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26).
The Eucharist is a simple practice involving the simple elements of bread and wine. The focus of my first large DMin project was looking at the Eucharist as a paradigm for ministry in northern Los Angeles, with the idea being that while the Eucharist is a simple and common practice of the church, it can provide a pivotal and profound paradigm for ministry in a particular place and time.
I posted the project bibliography a few weeks ago and over the next few days I’ll post some snippets of this project that ties together bread and wine, torture and irony, Hollywood and hipster culture.
Tomorrow’s post: Liturgical Imagination: Torture, Culture, and Eucharist