Tuesday, August 10, 2010

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. 

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