11 Subversive Celebrant

feeding at the table of conspirators

Questions for reflection

Why did Jesus chose the meal table as the cornerstone of the church’s existence?

What is your reaction to ‘church as a community of conspirators’?

Would you be willing to die for anyone that you shared the Peacemeal with?

How can the Peacemeal be used as a voice for justice on the streets?

What do you think of the statement, “A Peacemeal that does not feed the poor cannot claim to proclaim Jesus”?

Further reading and further thoughts

“Bread is ‘the staff of life’, wine is ‘the blood of the grape’ ” – Traditional

“The only physical thing Jesus leaves us, with which to build the church, is a table with food on it” – Noel Moules

“With bread and wine you can walk your road” – Spanish proverb

“There are people in the world so hungry that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread” – Gandhi

Read: Acts 2:43-47; 1 Corinthians 11:20-34

Sara Miles, Take This Bread, Ballantine Books, 2007

Barbara Glasson, Mixed Up Blessing: a new encounter of being church, Inspire 2006

Eleanor Kreider, Given For You: communion past and present, Inter-Vasity Press 1998

William Barclay, The Lord’s Supper, SCM Press 1969

A peacemeal idea

There are many ways to explore the idea of the Peacemeal for the first time; and the idea of the Peacemeal as a meal, rather than in a formalised part of a church service, will have different resonances for different people.

As a way into exploring the Peacemeal for the first time, gather a group together for a simple ‘bring and share’ meal; describe your recollections of your most memorable communion service, eucharist or mass. What did they have in common? How can the different formalisations of the Peacemeal that we experience in many churches today shed light on different aspects of the Peacemeal? And in what ways does the Peacemeal fulfil all these aspects and more? Move into breaking bread and sharing wine at the end of the meal.

Living it out

The Peacemeal points us towards ‘eucharistic living’: a life that is filled with thankfulness and gratitude for all the rich gifts that meet our daily needs and enrich our lives – recognising God within them. Try to nurture a spirit of appreciation and joy for even the most simple things. Food is both central, yet also a symbol, of this diversity of blessing. It is so easy to take things for granted, expecting them as our right and to be indignant if they are not there. Celebrate the richness of the ordinary and the mundane, anticipate connecting with the spiritual within it, make food a constant reminder of your commitment to ‘eucharistic living’.

Food is for sharing – with family, with friends, with the community, with strangers, with the poor, the needy and the hungry. On every occasion and in each context it has the potential for profound significance – physical, emotional, social and spiritual. Actively look for and initiate opportunities for this to happen in all these contexts. Keep journal notes of what you observe and learn as these encounters unfold.

A meditation

When eating a quiet meal alone (or do this meditation with a group sharing food), use the experience as a meditation in mindfulness. Think of the source of the food from its roots in the earth and the influence of the other elements: rain, wind and sun. Think of the many hands that brought it to your table. Think of the satisfying beauty of the taste and the skills in preparing it for you. Think of the many who would love to share a meal like this but are unable to do so. Think of Jesus’ words when speaking of food – “This is me” – what do you think he meant?