Today's extract comes from Richard Lischer moving memoir Stations of the Heart, which tells the story of the final months of his son Adam's life has he battles with cancer.
Late one morning, when Adam and I were sitting in the lower level of his house with nothing to do, he started talking about the Eucharist again. It was another of his monologues that began from a standing start, with no introduction. 'If you have cancer and you want to give to God a taste of the hell you are going through, you get down on your knees in front of a cross and tell him about it. Then you come to the altar and give God everything you have, and God gives you everything He has. That's how Father Steve puts it.' We were no longer discussing the composition of the communion elements like a couple of scholastics; he was gathering steam like a street preacher, and he was good at it: 'You say, "This is my body," and you bring it to the altar like a piece of bad meat, and God says, "No, this is my body." You come naked, and God dresses you. You come hungry, and God feeds you.' His voice was full of rage and dare. He was preaching to himself, a hungering congregation of one, and to me as an afterthought. He was throwing himself into the face of God.
You bring your dirt to the table (he said 'shit'), and God accepts it as something beautiful - the flesh of His Son. It wasn't a pious communion Adam was preaching about, but a primitive trade, as if at a scrap exchange, where you leave something old or broken and walk away with something better. You return again and again to that place until, finally, there's nothing left of the original you, and all that remains is the new thing that has been forming in you. Protestants call this transaction Communion or the Lord's Supper, Catholics and Lutherans call it Eucharist. A dying boy call it "the best part of the day."
Richard Lischer, Stations of the Heart: Parting with a Son (Alfred A. Knopf, 2013), pp.105-106.