The Vulnerability of the Eucharist

tumblr_np8d9sG7Et1sipqcho1_1280The God of the Cross is the God of vulnerability (defining vulnerability how Dr. Brene Brown does and that is “exposure, nakedness, emotional risk”); I mean think about the incarnation, life, death, burial, and resurrection of Christ! You can’t get more vulnerable than the God of power through weakness on the Cross! The God of vulnerability….

However, I thought that was just one part of the nature of God about which I’d learned!  I’ve never even considered how Eucharistic vulnerability is and how vulnerable the Eucharist is! We indeed worship the God of vulnerability and love! My mind is blown by these huge, powerful connections from an Episcopal priest friend of mine, Father Chris Arnold, that brought me to the revelation that the Eucharist is so, so vulnerable on God’s part:

In the Holy Eucharist we join the disciples at the final meal that Jesus hosted before his death. In the Holy Eucharist we witness the interweaving of heavenly glory with the ordinary stuff of this creation.

In the Holy Eucharist the body of Christ is glimpsed in its true nature, sharing equally in grateful dependence on grace.

In the Holy Eucharist we step out of time and place and into the timeless edge of the heavenly banquet, to realize that while we have been busy with our lives, the angels and prophets and martyrs and saints have never ceased from singing ‘Holy, Holy, Holy…’

In the Holy Eucharist a meal becomes a meeting, a sacrifice becomes a sacrament, and we receive Christ in vulnerability and awe.”

Vulnerability isn’t a human thing; it’s a God thing. To be vulnerable, above all else, is to love without the guarantee of being loved in return. And God does that!

God wasn’t vulnerable!

God isn’t going to be vulnerable!

God IS vulnerable!

God’s vulnerability is never ceasing!

It’s a truly awe-inspiring revelation, but also incredibly humbling to connect and see how truly vulnerable God is; how truly vulnerable Christ is. I’ve long held an Orthodox Christian view of the Eucharist. I wrote in a paper from undergrad,

It is a common misconception that Catholics, Anglicans, and Orthodox believe that the sacrifice is made over and over again in the Mass. This is not true. The Orthodox Study Bible comments, saying, ‘The Church teaches that the sacrifice is not a mere figure or symbol but a true sacrifice. It is not the bread that is sacrificed, but the very Body of Christ. And, the Lamb of God was sacrificed only once, for all time. The sacrifice at the Eucharist consists, not in the real and bloody immolation of the Lamb, but in the transformation of the bread into the sacrificed Lamb. All the events of Christ’s sacrifice, the Incarnation, the Last Supper, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, and the Ascension are not repeated in the Eucharist, but they are made present.’”

So Father Chris’ thoughts help me tie the belief in a vulnerable God with all that I believe about the Eucharist.ens_030613_traceyLind1

That for God to show up is vulnerable!

For Him to die on the Cross is vulnerable.

To be resurrected is vulnerable.

And if all that is made present in the Eucharist, as I firmly and will always believe, then I meet the God of vulnerability there in the bread and wine; the Eucharistic Table is the point of vulnerability where heaven meets earth, where the Divine meets earthy, common, elements, where grace meets humanity, where life meets death, where we, the vulnerable, meet The Vulnerable One!

The bread is Christ revealed vulnerable.

The wine is Christ revealed vulnerable.

God has never stopped showing up, being seen, making Himself known, exposing His Son to us all, being naked, being present, and risking it all for us when we could walk away from Him.

He’s never stopped being vulnerable.

He never will!

He has risked it all on us by being born of the Virgin Mary, ministering to us, and bearing all on the Cross in order to trample death by death, and bestowing life upon all in the tombs. He has risen indeed, and He makes Himself known to us through simple, earthy, matter like bread, wine, water, and oil.

With the ultimate vulnerability, He has set The Eucharistic Table for us, inviting us to come and partake of Him in our hearts with faith and thanksgiving. Therefore, let us be vulnerable with Him and keep the feast.

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