Thursday, 22 May 2008

Healthy Eating and the Eucharistic Feast.

"Fancy a Pop Tart, Jesus? No thanks, Dougal
Sister Assumpta wouldn't approve!"
My guilty conscience has been working overtime. Yesterday, lunch was a chicken Caesar salad and supper fresh pineapple to start, Prawn and roasted garlic linguine and then chocolate profiteroles. Today, no brekkie as I was celebrating at 10am but lunch was sushi, orange mango and lime crush and a chocolate, cranberry and nut bar from Boots. This healthy kick will probably last 3 days or so and then desist in a roll on crisps. But today, I feel faintly virtuous, in a dietary sort of a way.

Being Corpus Christi, I've been mulling over some bits and pieces that have landed on the desk. First was the CBS Quarterly Paper (I'm a Life Member of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament). It described a visit to the richest Church in the Anglican Communion, Trinity Wall St in New York. During the Eucharist the whole congregation says the whole Eucharistic Prayer including the Words of Institution and the Epiclesis, whilst holding their arms extended in the orans (or celebrant's) position. Part of me reacts to this and says: "It is the whole Body of Christ that celebrates the Eucharistic mystery, so why not?" And my Anglo-Catholic soul goes: "No, no - this demeans the distinctive calling of the priest to preside at the Eucharist and to exercise a ministry which is equal but distinct and is just an ill informed attempt to symbolise inclusivity by clericalising the laity, which will ultimately lead to lay celebrations because nobody understands what a priest is, doesn't see it as important and we'll all end up doing what those Low Church homophobes in Sydney want."

We celebrate the Eucharist in different ways within the Anglican family. I've done Roman Rite in Walsingham, 1662 on the Equator, stole and surplice on the Moray Coast, English Missal with all the works in West London, Grey Book eastward in Glasgow, Blue Book Westward in Falkirk, 1929 facing both ways in Kirkcaldy and mass with a monk on a canal boat with a glass of Chilean red and a Asda roll somewhere near Stoke on Trent. But part of me wants to retain the best of good tradition - the dignity and proper role of the 3 fold ministry - without being exclusive. Each to their own role and the whole presents the fullness of Christ. I balk at swapping this for a pseudo-inclusive hug in where everyone's really a bishop and nobody has any identity save that of member of the body of Christ.

The second article was in the Prayer Book Society's magazine by the Bishop of Sakatchewan. A quick glance suggests that modern scholarship questions some of the historical ideas underpinning the whole Litugical Movement and maybe the 4 fold shape the Westward position weren't really what went on the Early Church at all. Now this I have to re-read rather more carefully and slowly, but if it's right then a lot of us may end up having to re-learn our Fortescue -O'Connell. I'll keep you posted!

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