I am eating a thin wafer as it crunches delicately under my teeth, then gradually melting with a little sip of wine. I love the intimacy of the Eucharist. It is like coming home again. My faith is completely in Jesus, in the man as he is today. I may have some doubts about certain paths the church has taken but in the end I am totally enamoured with the mystery of holy communion. And it is this central ritual of Christianity that draws me to St. Olave’s Chapel every Wednesday (after Bible Sunday) and Sunday at 8:30.
Love moves from one being to another. It is emotive and a motion. And yet it is contained within us. The God of Love comes to us each day, he is the bread of life. Does he remind us about where we have gone astray? Never. “If there be anywhere on earth a lover of God who is always kept safe from falling, I know nothing of it – for it was not shown me. But this was shown:that in falling and rising again we are always held close in one love.” (Julian of Norwich, Enfolded in Love, p. 55). Why do we “confess our manifold sins and wickedness…”? (BCP, p.77). I prefer to see all that has gone right with the world at this time, celebrating the love within my family, friends and the world, which is mentally what I do.
It is the rising out of falling that connects us to love, to God; it strengthens the bond. Each eucharist could be seen as a completion of love, a rising out of falling where the human being is made whole, growing in depth each week, each year. “Though the soul’s wounds heal, the scars remain. God sees them not as blemishes but as honours.”(Julian of Norwich, Enfolded in Love, p. 17)
Jesus’s many miracles are pure acts of the completion of love on earth. He brings the full force of Heaven on earth. The Gospel of John, also known as the Gospel of Love, has one of many New Testament stories about the healing of a blind man. In it the disciples question who has sinned, the man or his parents, that he was born blind. As if an imperfection in a human being was the product of their misbehaviour. Jesus corrects their thinking: “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him” (John 9.1-5, NRSV). Even this hardship of being blind could be considered a gift of love so that Jesus could heal him as a testament to the healing powers of Heaven.
P.S. January 2020 marks my 20th year with St. Olave’s Wednesday Bible Study. Attending the group started as a Millennium project but continues to be a source of weekly inspiration.
P.P.S. Atheists are our partners in love.