What is Liturgy? Part VII: Let’s Eat
What is Liturgy? Part VII: Let’s Eat

Sometimes at our family gathering we fall back on an old habit of letting the children go to the table first to fill their plates. As old as these kids get we never seem to mind making this little sacrifice just to insure that they have their dinner and feel that they are important members of this family.

On Sundays we are also asked to make a small sacrifice. It happens when we join in the Communion procession that leads us toward the altar to receive the Body and Blood of the Lord. The procession flows from the back of the church; those who sit in the front must wait quite a while before they can receive Communion. Our joining with others in this manner symbolizes our willingness to give up our own life in some way for the others in this community. 

And so, our attitude during the Communion procession  reflects a spirit of sacrifice, care and concern for those with whom we join. It matters to me that “you” receive communion, and I don’t mind waiting.

While we wait for our personal opportunity to receive Jesus we sing about him! With the saints and all who are present at this gathering we join in the Communion song. This action helps to unite us and makes us the one Body of Christ. After we have received, after the music of our procession has concluded, we sit in silence to commune with the Lord.

The experience has transformed us. Because we have heard and heeded the presence of Christ in God’s Word, because we have consumed his presence in his Sacred Body and Blood, we are changed. Just as the bread and wine were changed, we too, are different from when we first entered the church this Sunday.

We are changed from our family dinner party too. We are so glad we didn't miss it! The food was great, the company wonderful and the sense of sharing within a family abundant. 

It’s time now to leave our family gathering. Our sharing in conversation and sacred meal has ended. Each of us has had their fill; each enriched from this time together. How we leave is the topic for the final installment in this series.
(June 12, 2005)

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