Ritual as Knowing
Meditation 21 of 57
The ritual of Eucharist clarifies and delineates Christianity from the other religions of the world. We have many things in common, but Christianity is the only religion that says that God became a human body, and we are going to continue to promote embodiment as the way of knowing. God became flesh, as John’s Gospel puts it (1:14), and Eucharist continues that mystery in space and time. The theological word for that is Incarnation or enfleshment.
Yet it seems that it is much easier for God to convince bread of what it really is than for God to convince us. We alone balk, rebel, and analyze. Let’s be honest and admit that “eat my body and drink my blood” is scandalous talk (John 6:64-66) that has stopped scandalizing us! And so we miss the point. Eucharist is intentionally shocking. It is cannibalistic, intimate, invasive, and sexual! Jesus did not say, “Think about this,” “Fight about this,” “Stare at this.” He just said “Eat this” and “Do this.” Eucharist is a dynamic, interactive event that makes one out of two, just as sexual union does when two lovers want to be inside each other.
If we did not have the Eucharist, we would have to create it, the ritual is so perfect. Sometimes it seems that outsiders can appreciate this more than Christians. As Gandhi said, “There are so many hungry people in the world that God could only come into the world in the form of food.” It is marvelous, that God would enter our lives not just in the form of sermons or Bibles, but as ingested food and drink. Jesus comes to feed us more than just teach us. Lovers can understand that. Others will make high liturgy and abstruse theology out of it.
(Bold underlining is mine.)