Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Grieving & Eucharist

Tuesday, March 4, 2008 -- Week of 4 Lent

Today's Readings for the Daily Office (Book of Common Prayer, p. 955)
Psalms 97, 99, [100] (morning) 94, [95] (evening)
Genesis 49:29 - 50:14
1 Corinthians 11:17-34
Mark 8:1-10

Our culture has lost some of the wisdom of our ancestors, especially around the human need to mourn after death. It's not unusual for people to be expected to return to work and one's "normal" routine within a day or two of burying a loved one. I've known of friends trying to set up a friend on a date within a couple of weeks of the sudden death of their partner.

Today we read of the death of Jacob. He has had a long and fruitful life. He has finished his work and his ending is prepared for and expected. After he dies, the family and others follow the Egyptian tradition of mourning for seventy days. Then they take his body in a great caravan back home to Canaan for burial in the cave of Ephron the Hittitite. When they arrive, there is an additional time of mourning for seven days of "very great and sorrowful lamentation."

Maybe they knew something we have forgotten about how much the soul needs to grieve when we lose someone dear.

In Paul's first letter to the church in Corinth we have our oldest written record of the first Eucharist. Paul passes along the tradition he has been given: "For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, 'This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.' In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.'"

Whenever we hear those words, we are in touch with an ancient practice that connects us directly with Jesus and the whole body of the church throughout history.

Each Sunday, on the Lord's Day, the Corinthian congregation gathered at the home of Gaius for their Eucharist. Paul criticizes them for their divisions along social and economic lines. The wealthy eat greedily while the poor (literally the "have-nots") go hungry. Paul says that some have become sick and died because the church has not cared for them, because the church failed to discern the body of both the crucified Lord and the gathered church as the body.

In Mark we have the miracle of the feeding of the multitude, this time for a Gentile crowd in the Decapolis. What Jesus does for his own people, he does for those of another faith and culture. He has given us an example of generosity and union for all.


Audio podcast: Listen to an audio podcast of the most recent Morning Reflections from today and the past week. Click the following link: Morning Reflection Podcasts

About Morning Reflections
Morning Reflections is a brief thought about the scripture readings from the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer according to the practice found in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church.

Morning Prayer begins on p. 80 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Evening Prayer begins on p. 117

An online resource for praying the Daily Office is found at www.missionstclare.com
Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site www.ExploreFaith.org at this location -- http://explorefaith.org/prayer/fixed/index.html

The Mission of St. Paul's Episcopal Church
is to explore and celebrate
God's infinite grace, acceptance, and love.

Visit our web site at www.stpaulsfay.org

Our Rule of Life
We aspire to...
worship weekly
pray daily
learn constantly
serve joyfully
live generously.

Lowell Grisham, Rector
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Fayetteville, Arkansas


At 10:05 AM, Blogger The Underground Pewster said...

Re: Grief... "American" culture is still working out how to handle death and grief. Why do we ignore past traditions in this matter? Is the innate grief reaction being suppressed by modern culture? What does the NT tell us about death and grief?


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home