Unearthly Meal

I really enjoyed this book. Not perfect, but an excellent antidote to much of what ails the American Church. It was published in 1987. The situation has only gotten worse since then. Here is one of my favorite quotes.

“The irony of Protestant history is that although the sixteenth-century Reformers fought like tigers to restore the wine to the people, their descendents have now deprived the people of both bread and wine. The Protestant celebration, when it is on rare occasions held, has been spiritualized to the extent that is would scarcely be recognized as a meal at all. The purely symbolic wafer of the Roman celebration, which John Knox thundered against as a distortion of Christ’s ‘common bread’ has in most Protestant churches been replaced by minute, carefully diced pieces of bread unlike any bread ever eaten by any culture. The common cup which the medieval Church withheld from the faithful is, except among Anglicans, still the sole possession of the clergy. The unordained are now given thimble-like glasses filled with Welch’s grape juice. The symbolism is quite clear. We all come to God individually; with our individual bits of bread and our individual cups of juice, we are not of one loaf and one chalice. Our relationship to Christ is private and personal. What may be even more significant is that by partaking of this unearthly meal with our unbreadly bread and our unwinely wine we are make a clear statement tha the bread and the wine of spiritual communion has no connection with earthly communion. It is an unmistakable gnostic witness against the significance of ordinary meals: common bread, wine, the table fellowship of laughter and tears.” (p. 272)