Is it an impossible task to make the Eucharist ‘visible’ today when people are ‘religious without belonging’ (to any particular local church community)? The Church of England, in particular, is not in an easy situation. It was caught up in an ever changing culture so rapidly that it forgot to anchor in Tradition still time. Amidst these rapid changes we tend to forget the primary words of our faith.
So is it an archaism for Anglo-Catholics to develop a Eucharist-centered mission? Are we out of date without posh high-tech screens and plaza-feel modern worship places? I don’t think so.
I do not think so, despite the fact that the ‘Eucharist’, by virtue of its nature, goes against the very mindset of our culture. The Christian sacramental meal, the Eucharist comes from the Greek word, eucharistein, ‘thanksgiving’. The culture that surrounds us can be characterised as one which simply forgets thanksgiving. It consumes, it enjoys, it desires, it possesses – colonising all the senses for gratification. Sadly, all this is at the price of losing the ability to say ‘thank you’ for all these gifts.
Yet, the solution is precisely this. A culture which evacuated thanksgiving from its life is in a desperate need of recovering this lost ability.
But there are some unexpected good news in store. The CoE, with her almost compulsory obsession with mission, has a point for Anglo-Catholics. It is the people of God, through personal encounters and charity, which brings the good news to our environment.
So our task is to become personal ambassadors of our Tradition. The Eucharist as the joyful experience of healing and communal life with their doctrinal aspect need to be brought and made ‘visible’ to our neighbours.
We need to believe that there is an unknown grammar working in all those who yearn for a more authentic life. We need to act in the knowledge that this unknown ‘Eucharistic grammar’ connects everyone. Welcoming people’s lives, however distant they are from specific grammar of faith, one day we will start speaking this common language.
But it has one condition. Christians must name the source of their life, the very source of thanksgiving itself: the Risen Jesus Christ.
(It is so easy to overlook the introductory words of Acts 3,1-4,4, yet this is the key. Peter and John‘went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.’ And then takes place the healing of the crippled man. Those who want to develop a mission through the Eucharist should remain faithful to the three major daily prayer time. This faithfulness, namely that we need ‘to go up together’ to pray, is the precondition of all miracles. This faithfulness predates all missions, all life, and all hoped growth. This is the Anglo Catholic witness.)
These are verbal Icons, expressions of how the world is seen from Saint Augustine's..