On a recent episode of Iron Chef, host Alton Brown closed with the following words: "And remember, it's not food until somebody eats it." Tolkein said this about the "blessed sacrament."
Out of the darkness of my life, so much frustrated, I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament - there you will find romance, glory, honor, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves upon earth, and more than that: death: by the divine paradox, that which ends life, and demands the surrender of all, and yet by the taste (or foretaste) of which alone can what you seek in your earthly relationships (love, faithfulness, joy) be maintained or take on that complexion of reality, of eternal endurance, that [everyone's] heart desires.
What is it about participation that matters? We talk about belief and feeling, being moved to do something, a need to feel something during worship, and even being convinced ala debate halls in Boston, but do we talk about participation? Is it possible that by participating in communion, by eating what begins as simple bread and wine (or juice at CCW), we enter into life with the Word that became flesh?
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a fatherâ€™s only son, full of grace and truth.
(John testified to him and cried out, â€œThis was he of whom I said, â€˜He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.â€™â€) From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Fatherâ€™s heart, who has made him known.
Preaching this text is proving challenging. Letting the poetry do what it wills is tricky...especially for a Baptist. Heh. Alton Brown holds the key to getting my mind around this passage. It's about our willing participation in ritual, in charity, in faith, that makes the leap for us, that allows us to be in the Word of God...to be recipients of grace and to know Christ.