Tonight I returned to base camp reeking slightly of incense from the Corpus Christi hooley at St Mike's. I preached, ignoring the Scripture readings (damn inconvenient our reformed heritage is sometimes!). After quoting Martin Luther fulminating against Zwinglians (and pausing to describe him as a (Lord - ye Gods!) John Prescott lookalike), I cited this glorious passage from Dom Gregory Dix
Was ever another command so obeyed? For century after century, spreading slowly to every continent and country and among every race on earth, this action has been done, in every conceivable human circumstance, for every conceivable human need from infancy and before it to old age and after it, from the pinnacles of earthly greatness to the refuge of fugitives in the caves and dens of the earth. Men have found no better thing than this to do for kings at their crowning and for criminals going to the scaffold; for armies in triumph or for a bride and bridegroom in a little country church; for the proclamation of a dogma or for a good crop of wheat; for the wisdom of the Parliament of a mighty nation or for a sick old woman afraid to die; for a schoolboy sitting an examination or for Columbus setting out to discover America; for the famine of whole provinces or for the soul of a dead lover; - one could fill many pages with the reasons why men have done this, and not tell a hundredth part of them. And best of all, week by week, and month by month, on a hundred thousand successive Sundays, faithfully, unfailingly, across all the parishes of Christendom, the pastors have done just this to MAKE the PLEBS SANCTA DEI - the holy common people of God.
I went on to point out that it is wonderful to think that the holy Sacrifice has been offered by millions over the millenia and it is wonderful to think of ourselves as part of that. But it leaves us with a problem that is a greater threat to our faith than anything Richard Dawkins can produce. So what? Has it changed anything? It hasn't stopped massacres in Cumbria or oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico. My point was the God who reveals himself in the Sacrament is the God who revealed himself at Bethlehem and Calvary. A God who enters into and transforms suffering, not a vengeful judge or a fantasy figure who relieves us of responsibility and lets us float around in a happy world of pink fluffy clouds. it seemed to go down well enough. Last shift of the week to morrow - Yippee!