Almost all of the papers reflect a very welcome commitment to community life, discipleship and mission, and often root their insights about the nature of the eucharist in its inherently communal and faith-forming quality for mission.
In a sermon delivered to her community in a online worship service, Deborah Meister delves into the incarnational core of what worship is all about, and explores the formational qualities of truly enfleshed discipleship – and the eucharistic aspects of that enfleshment – that move us out of the comfortable pew (or Zoom screen) and into radical hospitality, care, and engagement with Christ in the poor and marginalized.
Two papers stand out for the boldness and depth of their approaches in that they very self-consciously put mission first. From the Diocese of British Columbia, Brendon Neilson urges a reorientation of this present conversation, in fact, a decolonization of the conversation: “this discussion cannot happen in a vacuum. Our ecclesial lives must remain connected to our participation in the world that is groaning,” and we must move into closer encounter with that suffering, recognizing the interconnected nature of all creation. The virus itself highlights this fact in science. We must do better to engage our conversations about the eucharist within the groaning of creation, and he does just that, detailing insights from contextually specific struggles within his experience. On the other side of the country in Nova Scotia, Lisa Vaughn also presents a missiological starting point, with a sharp critique of theological conversations that are not rooted in the concrete activity of mission. These tend to simply repeat patterns of institutional self-preservation. Instead, she asks, can we take this pandemic time and “season of fasting from the sacrament of the eucharist …. as sabbath Jubilee, so as to reorder our priorities for missional ministry?”