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My first DMin Project: Looking for your insights!

The first class session for my Doctor of Ministry is over, but my first project is still underway! My project is focusing on the practice of the Eucharistic meal in Paul's churches, and our celebration of the meal, particularly as a symbol of unity of the body of Christ. My hope is, with a group from my church, to plan a meal with celebration of Holy Communion for World Communion Sunday this October. We'll need to write a liturgy and order of worship. I'm particularly drawn to this excerpt from one of our textbooks. 

"The unity symbolized by the Lord's Supper, I have suggested, can be seen as a reminder or re-presentation of the liminal transcendence of societal oppositions that was declared in baptism. Now it is commonly asserted that this baptismal unity and egalitarianism is 'merely sacramental,' that is, as a purely symbolic leveling it signifies an ideal state, perhaps a future eschatological state, but has no effect upon actual social roles . . . For Paul, it was a matter of intense concern that at least one of the typical instances of reunification declared in the 'baptismal reunification formula' should have concrete social consequences. That there was now no distinction between Jew and gentile was for him . . . the most dramatic expression of the justification enacted by God through Christ Jesus . . . it was not merely a purely spiritual unity in the ritual meal that was at stake, but also the social unity of the church." (pg., 161, emphasis added.) - The First Urban Christians, Wayne A. Meeks

My questions for you all: 
Do you see Holy Communion as having concrete social consequences for us today? For Paul the elimination of distinction between Jew and gentile was ultimate. What social consequences would be ultimate for us today in the celebration of communion? Within our homogeneous-in-so-many-ways congregations, is it possible for Holy Communion to have concrete social consequences, or would this only be possible if we totally changed the way we celebrate the sacramental meal? 


I'd love your thoughts, comments, and questions. 




Comments

Dr. Tony said…
Beth,
First, let me offer words of encouragement and pray for success as you begin this path of education and ministry. My own pastor just completed her D. Min and I was a part of that group.

As to the communion project, I would take a look at Andrew Conrad's most recent post - "Twitter Communion" at http://andrewconard.com/2010/08/10/twitter-communion/

As I tried to express in that post, how does that approach to communion build the idea of communion?

It will be interesting to see how this project develops.
bob said…
I'm drawn closer to fellow communicants when I enter into it prayerfully seeking Christ.. After all we aren't drawing together just the church we are remembering Christ's gift to us and reestablishing the fact that Christ is what draws the church together.
Anonymous said…
The first thought I had was the practice of carrying communion to the members of the congregation who cannot be present for the service. I'm not sure if that is "social consequences" in the sense of breaking down barriers between Jew and Greek, but it does cross a boundary.

More dramatic is the story Peter Storey tells about serving communion to a prisoner and guard in apartheid-era South Africa.
hnb said…
I love the idea of World Communion Sunday. I've been seeing a few different denominations who will be celebrating Oct. 3.

Here is a leader's guide that might give you some ideas for liturgy and such.

http://www.umcgiving.org/atf/cf/%7Ba5da7032-3d61-4af7-88b9-96b0e1145ff4%7D/2009-2012%20SS%20PLANNING%20GUIDE.PDF
hnb said…
I love the idea of World Communion Sunday. I've been seeing a few different denominations who will be celebrating Oct. 3.

Here is a leader's guide that might give you some ideas for liturgy and such.

http://www.umcgiving.org/atf/cf/%7Ba5da7032-3d61-4af7-88b9-96b0e1145ff4%7D/2009-2012%20SS%20PLANNING%20GUIDE.PDF

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