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CelebrationBy Nathan Jennings
I remember once waiting with my two-year-old son for my wife, his mother, to come home after being away much of the day. We were on the back porch playing together. When he heard his mother’s car pull into the driveway he stopped everything. He looked up. His eyes widened. I thought he would run to the driveway and I would have to chase him. He did not. He simply started spinning around and around. Just spinning for sheer joy. Mamma was home. It was a celebration I could not help but join.
We too, as Christians, are waiting for someone to arrive. And every time we share the Eucharist we celebrate his arrival. When we are dismissed we remember that we go out into a world that is waiting for God to be all in all.
Alexander Schmemann, in his book, For the Life of the World, asked, after all the work is done, the committee has been dissolved, the poor are rich, the hungry fed, what comes next? There must, he says, come a perfect joy. The goal of Christianity is the shared celebration of the One who will make all things right and who will come to us again.
We can get caught up in all that there is to do. We inherit this from our Protestant legacy, our Anglican legacy, and our American culture. But if our end is celebration, perhaps celebration is also the best place for us to begin.
When we celebrate the Living Christ in Easter Joy, we are empowered for life in this age that is passing away. When we return to Eucharist week in and week out, we recall that Christ will come again. When we celebrate all of the ways that the joy of God makes itself manifest in our lives – even when we least expect it – we become the kind of people who can thrive and contribute in our shared pilgrimage through this passing world. When we can see the joy of God in the spinning of a two-year-old-boy, we become the kind of people who can, with unveiled eyes, behold the coming of our Lord at the Eucharistic feast. When we can see the joy and behold the presence of our God at the Eucharistic feast, we can begin to see with unveiled eyes the presence of our Lord in the faces of one another, in the face of the stranger, in the faces of those we wish we did not know.
Alleluia, Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast. Alleluia.
What has inspired you to celebration recently?
Have you experienced the Eucharist as a celebration? Recently?
How has celebration sustained you when you needed grace?
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