People of the Book are much more at home with parts of the body and bodily functions than we are. They think nothing of talking at length about blood, guts, wombs, circumcision, hearts, body, eyes,…
Source: Blood, flesh and bread
Looking at my contacts on the www. this morning, I discovered, again, the internet reflections of ‘Rambling Rector – – A Church of England Parish Priest blogs’.
Having before looked in on this site, I decided to scroll back to something relevant for this coming Holy Week, 2016.
This beautiful essay, accessed by clicking on the link above the line here – entitled “Blood, flesh and bread”, offers us a good catholic and evangelical sermon on the life-giving eternal significance of the Eucharistic Elements, and the Foot-Washing ceremony taking place in churches around the world (including SMAA, Christchurch) this Holy Thursday.
Notably, this Holy Thursday, Pope Francis will be washing the feet of 12 refugees. In Rome, someone has asked whether, or not, these refugess will actually be ‘Baptized Christians’ – believing that, as Jesus chose only his close disciples to minister to in this way, such a ceremony ought only to be extended to ‘the Faithful’.
I don’t know what the situation will be in Rome this year, whether Pope Francis will choose only accredited Christian disciples to wash their feet. However, on the last occasion of the Foot-Washing, he chose to wash the feet of prisoners, a woman and at least one Muslim. This, seemingly, was already a breech of Vatican protocol -perhaps the most daring departure being that of washing the feet of a woman.
What might that tell us about the inclusive nature of the ministry of the Church – except that we are all sinners, needing God’s Blessing and grace to live out our lives?
Here is an Antiphon that will be said/sung around the world during the Foot-Washing ceremony and the Celebration of the Eucharist on Holy Thursday:
(1) (Chorus) Where charity and love are; there is God
(2) The love of Christ joined us in one; let us rejoice and be glad in Him.
(3) Let us fear and love the living God; and love one another in sincerity of heart.
(4) When, therefore, we are joined together; let us see that we be not divided in spirit.
(5) Let all malicious wrangling and contention cease; and let Christ our God be in the midst of us.
(6) So may we with the blessed see; In glory, thy councenance, Christ our God.
(7) Joy that is infinite and undefiled; for ever and for evermore, Amen.
Where charity and love are; there is God
I reckon that anyone who takes part in this Liturgy of Holy Thursday, with a heart open to Christ, could not but accept the fact that Christ died for all humanity and longs for us to ‘Come Home’ and bring others with us – from the highways, byways, hedges and edges.
Have a wonderful Holy Week and Easter,
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand