REFLECTION: ‘Welcome to paradise!’ is not the usual greeting at the beginning of any Eucharist. But I believe that it (or something like it) could have been the greeting at any time in the first thousand years of the life of the Church, and it could be so again. The Eucharist – the Mass, the Holy Communion, the Lord’s Supper, the Breaking of Bread – is perhaps the central and defining act of communal Christian worship and spirituality across the main traditions and denominations. To share in the Eucharist (which means ‘Thanksgiving’) is to enter a joyful feast that reveals the connection and goodness of humanity, earth and God…’
PRACTICE: ‘The Eucharist both symbolizes and mediates (discloses, makes real, enables) in a particular space and in a particular moment what is going on everywhere all the time – our deep at-oneness with God. If you share in the practice of the Eucharist let the paradise of the Eucharistic kiss reveal the depth of divine love for you, and let it awaken your own instinctive (but sometimes forgotten) all-the-time love for God.
If this tradition is new to you a way into a practice of Eucharist (taste paradise) that draws on the tradition’s spirit is to open up your table. Invite some friends and their friends to a meal. Be ready to include someone you don’t know well. Breakfast can be a great meal to do this – there’s much less pressure to produce something astonishing, and there’s great precedent in the tradition for this. This meal, you may discover, can be full of the eucharistic spirit – a place of thanksgiving, a taste of paradise, an hospitable home-coming, an experience of presence…’
©Ian Adams 2013 ‘Running Over Rocks: spiritual practices to transform tough times’ (Canterbury Press)