Sunday, December 21, 2008

"Drama of the Eucharist"

From the Telegraph in London. Rowan has a new book - sort of.

The Lent book is not by Dr Rowan Williams, but by the well-known writer Timothy Radcliffe, who used to be in charge of all the Dominican friars in the world. His book is called Why Go to Church? (Continuum, £9.99). The theme is in the subtitle, "The Drama of the Eucharist".

"It may seem an odd topic for a Roman Catholic to choose when commissioned by the Archbishop of Canterbury," he writes, for Anglicans and Roman Catholics do not share Communion with each other. He hopes that "if we can understand one another's faith, hope and charity better, then we will, with the grace of God, come to share the Eucharist too".

The engagingly expressed thesis of the book is that the Eucharist is a drama in three acts, linked to faith, hope and charity (love), each of which is a sharing in God's life.

In Act I, by listening to the word of God we grow in faith and become ready to say the Creed. In Act II, during the Eucharistic prayer, in touch with the death of Jesus, we hear the words, "This is my body, given for you." So, "faced with failure, violence and death", we are given hope. In Act III, hope culminates in love as we prepare for Communion.

This is not merely a big subject, it is the central point of Christianity, since Jesus commanded his followers to "do this" – perform the Eucharist – in memory of him. Timothy Radcliffe rightly connects this drama of the Eucharist with the whole of life outside church.

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