Sunday, July 10, 2011

dipped too deep

(a disclaimer: i didn't write much of this post. in case it isn't familiar to you, all of the italicized text comes from the anglican book of common prayer, eucharist rite II.)

Holy and gracious Father: In your infinite love you made us for yourself, and, when we had fallen into sin and become subject to evil and death, you, in your mercy, sent Jesus Christ, your only and eternal Son, to share our human nature, to live and die as one of us, to reconcile us to you, the God and Father of all.

He stretched out his arms upon the cross, and offered himself, in obedience to your will, a perfect sacrifice for the whole world.

seven-year-old luke returned to his seat with a grimace on his face. “i dipped my bread too deep into the wine and it tasted bad!” he struggled to swallow the wine-soaked morsel.

On the night he was handed over to suffering and death, our Lord Jesus Christ took bread; and when he had given thanks to you, he broke it, and gave it to his disciples, and said, "Take, eat: This is my Body, which is given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me."

After supper he took the cup of wine; and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and said, "Drink this, all of you: This is my Blood of the new Covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, do this for the remembrance of me."

Therefore we proclaim the mystery of faith:
Christ has died.
Christ is risen.
Christ will come again.

does it leave a bad taste in my mouth? it should, i think. do i choke on the bitterness? on the night He was handed over to suffering and death. Christ has died. to suffering and death. the wine is sour before the sweetness.

We celebrate the memorial of our redemption, O Father, in this sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. Recalling his death, resurrection, and ascension, we offer you these gifts.

Sanctify them by your Holy Spirit to be for your people the Body and Blood of your Son, the holy food and drink of new and unending life in him. Sanctify us also that we may faithfully receive this holy Sacrament, and serve you in unity, constancy, and peace; and at the last day bring us with all your saints into the joy of your eternal kingdom.

All this we ask through your Son Jesus Christ: By him, and with him, and in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit all honor and glory is yours, Almighty Father, now and forever. AMEN.

dipped too far into the wine. it tasted bad. is it possible to be dipped too far? sanctify us also. a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving.

And now, as our Savior Christ has taught us, we are bold to say,
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those
who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
forever and ever. Amen.

Alleluia. Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us;
Therefore let us keep the feast. Alleluia.

The gifts of God for the people of God: Take them in remembrance that Christ died for you, and feed on him in your hearts by faith, with thanksgiving.

we are bold to say.
i am bold to say, Father, that i want to be dipped deeper in the blood. bitter and sweet, the sour taste of suffering and the bold sweetness of redemption. in the blood. i cannot be dipped too deep.

in some churches, the communion drink is grape juice served in those little plastic cups. while there is nothing wrong with this, it will never be enough for me. i believe i am meant to grimace a little, to choke a little on the bitterness of dipping my bread deep in the wine. we are meant to be shocked by the sourness of it--as He spread out his arms on the cruel wood of the cross, shocking indeed--before the sweetness. our bread, our daily bread, is meant to be tainted by the memory that the very Son of God is broken for us. we take and eat, we feed on Him in our hearts by faith, only because He is the bread of life, broken for us. dipped in blood. broken.

Almighty and everliving God,
we thank you for feeding us with the spiritual food
of the most precious Body and Blood
of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ;
and for assuring us in these holy mysteries
that we are living members of the Body of your Son,
and heirs of your eternal kingdom.
And now, Father, send us out
to do the work you have given us to do,
to love and serve you
as faithful witnesses of Christ our Lord.
To him, to you, and to the Holy Spirit,
be honor and glory, now and forever. Amen.

“i dipped my bread too deep into the wine and it tasted bad.” amen, my love. this week, i am grateful for the reminder of the bitter suffering of the cross and the sweetness that only the blood can provide. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses” (Hebrews 4:15). i will drink deeply. “So Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood,’” (how can we but choke?) “’you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day’” (John 6:53-54). sweetness.

as we struggle through the bitterness, the sour first taste and the grimace it inspires, may we long ever more for the sweetness to come. Christ our passover, sacrificed for us. we cannot be dipped too deep.

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