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A Thought on Eucharistic Ethics

I’ve spoken earlier about the ethical significance of the trivial.  The suggestion put forth is that taking time for the trivial things in life, such as eating a meal, cooking, playing an instrument, cultivating friendships, and so on are all activities in which we make peace by taking time to live our lives free from the powers that would seek to determine them.  If this is true, I would suggest that the church’s practice of the Eucharist is the paradigmatic form of a properly ethical practice of triviality.  Nothing is more ordinary than eating – though, through the Eucharist we come to know that there is also nothing more extra-ordinary than eating in peace.  To eat the Eucharist is to waste time in an menial act that doesn’t demonstrably “change” the world.  It makes little sense for us to waste time receiving the Eucharist if the powers that seek to determine our existence actually do so determine it.  However, if the cross and resurrection determine our existence, our trivial activity of eating together in peace, remembering our Lord has cosmic significance.  This is seen in Jesus’ serving his disciples the last supper.  Only if the powers that sought to determine his existence were in fact powerless would have made sense for Jesus to waste his time on the night he was betrayed by just sitting down and eating with his disciples.  And that is exactly what he did.


  1. Ben wrote:

    Yes. Thanks. This is where some of the “missional” conversation goes astray, in my opinion. They are often so concerned about being “out there” doing what God’s doing in mission, and so worried about being “attractional” that they neglect to see the importance of historic ecclesial practice, because it seems like such a waste of time. But it would seem the very practices that seem like a waste of time are actually the ones that allow us to really participate in God’s salvation, and without participating in God’s salvation, how can we authentically call others to it?

    Sunday, July 29, 2007 at 8:01 pm | Permalink
  2. Jon wrote:

    Taking your original post Halden, and Ben’s comment, I got to thinking how an emphasis on conversion with the focus being on “If you join our ranks you’ll get to go to Heaven when you die,” falls heavily under the category of Theology of Glory–as though our salvation were principally about glory rewarded or earned. When really I think, if we are to be Theologians of the Cross, we ought to understand our salvation not as a glory to be earned, but participation in the Ministry of Christ exercised within the world through His Church. Our salvation is partnership in the sufferings of Christ, and the Eucharist along with our other “trivial” (though not trivial at all) experiences AS Christ’s Ekklesia are grounded in a partnership with Christ in the world, as Christ’s Incarnational Ministry is continued to be lived out within the Church under the power of the Holy Spirit.

    Unfortunately, I think, we have generations of Evangelicals who have largely been preaching a Gospel of Glory, rather than a Gospel of the Cross.

    Which isn’t at all to downplay the glory of the Risen Christ into which we have been purposed in Christ at all, but only to say that our salvation is principally grounded in the Experience of the Incarnate Christ–and that ought to be the Gospel we preach in both word and deed.

    In other words, good post.

    Monday, July 30, 2007 at 12:12 am | Permalink

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