Today is Maundy Thursday and we listen to the preaching of Stanley Hauerwas. Often his sermons will end with a connection to the Eucharist. Here are some of them.
Wheat becomes bread, and through the Spirit, bread becomes the body and blood of Christ. God is present here in this meal in a way God is present nowhere else. We are that wheat; we are that bread, which the families of the world need if they are to know God. We are the people on which the peace of God depends. We are God's eucharist; we are those children for which creation had been longing. In the celebration of this meal, God lifts up as he lifted Christ at the cross, so that the world might see the beauty of God's creation made real in a people at peace with their world. How can we not hunger to share this meal and share if often? May God continue to make us hungry for it.
So now let us come to the table, the table to which we have been led by this cross, the table where God welcomes us as friends, to handle his Christ. Here God invites us to share with him and one another the body and blood of Christ so that the world may know that we have been befriended. Come and see, come and taste, how right, how fitting, it is that in this meal God invites us to participate in, to be part of, the love, the beauty, that is the cross.
The one sacrifice that is not forbidden, the one sacrifice that is required, is that sacrifice called Eucharist. The Father desires, as the book of Hebrews says, to have us 'enter the sanctuary' made possible by the sacrificial flesh and blood of Jesus. Indeed we are made, through Christ's body and blood, God's sanctuary, God's holy temple, for the world. Just as this bread and wine is transformed by the Holy Spirit to be for us the body and blood of Christ, our lives, our everyday sacrifices, are taken up in this oblation. Through that transformation the sacrifices, so often forced upon us, can become life-giving because they have an end.
For we believe that God has in fact prepared for his people a feast of rich food and wine. That feast we call Eucharist, for in eating it we are made 'living members of your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ.' We believe, moreover, that when we celebrate this holy meal we do so with the saints who have gone before and who know share in God's eternal life. The devil would have us remain fixated on death, but in sharing this meal we learn to gaze upon Christ, who makes it possible to view our lives and deaths through the power of the resurrection. Death has been undone.
Jesus's love for us is evident because he refuses to let our fears, our unbelief, prevent him from the deed of power his resurrection makes possible. We call that deed Eucharist. In the Eucharist our fears are overwhelmed by the power of God's love in Jesus, making it possible for us to be a spirit-filled people who can be an alternative to a world driven by fear.
Foe what we do know is that if Jesus is not fully God and fully human, then we can make no sense of the Eucharist. This wine and this bread is the food we need to sustain human life. Just as God joined God's life with the life of Jesus without ceasing to be God, so we receive now the very body and blood of Christ without this bread and wine ceasing to be bread and wine ... Because Jesus is very God and very man, at the Eucharist we are consumed by what we consume. God became human, assumed our nature, so the we might share in God's very life.
They are taken from sermons in Stanley Hauerwas, Disrupting Time (Cascade, 2004); A Cross-Shattered Church (Brazos, 2009) and Without Apology (Seabury, 2013)