BREAD AND WINE
An essay I wrote for Quaker-B.
I understand and more importantly I feel a great similarity between communion
and the gathered Quaker Meeting.
It seems to me that bread and wine are chosen as convenient vehicles for the transubstantiation, enabling the participants to sense that they actively absorb that of God. The drama of all the community coming forward together, of reverentially kneeling, of taking in The Host, and of then sitting quietly (often with the finest music) all feel to me a procedure making tangible, accessible, the same spiritual grace we experience when we come into a Meeting and will ourselves to be open to each other and to the Spirit, to listen for and heed Its promptings.
I have often attended Eucharist (mainly Anglican) though never taken it. I have usually asked whether the celebrant minds me, as one who rejects sacraments, attending, and have always been welcomed. I love the poetry, the music, and the very real sense of the Presence. Sadly, in recent months the exclusivity of some of the prayers has jarred and I feel less able to relax into its deep sprirituality.
At my level of understanding the difference between the Roman Catholic and the Anglican theology is of no importance. It is the sense of the nearness of the Spirit that I seek. It definitely comes more easily in a ritualistic environment than in an almost completely unstructured MfW. However as with so many things, the tougher approach is more effective than the easier.
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