It is Holy Thursday today. A little bit early probably to end my break, but I thought I give it a try, brief though, my arms are hurting still, but they are better (I helped to lift and turn a table yesterday; that did not help).
On Holy Thursday the foundation of the Eucharist is celebrated. This ritual (the most important in Christianity) is based on the story (Mark 14:12-25) in which Jesus celebrates Passover with his disciples by eating with them. It is his last meal and he knows that. In the meal Jesus speaks the words that are repeated when the ritual of the Eucharist is celebrated. When Jesus took the bread he blessed it and said: “Take, eat. This is my body.” He then took a cup with wine, and after giving thanks, and passing the cup to all of the twelve disciples he said: “This is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many.”
My question today is, “What is the value of the Eucharist?”
The card that I pulled as an answer to this question is Three of Teacups (Three of Cups), from the Tarot of Jane Austen made by chelsearoad.
Pictured on the card are three young women, Mary Crawford, Maria Bertram and Julia Bertram, who sing together at a pianoforte. These characters come from the book Mansfield Park.
The ritual and the symbol of the Eucharist is heavy layered with meaning. The card that I received today emphasizes sharing, joy, creativity and togetherness.
The women share their voices -each in there individual way- as in the Eucharist bread and wine is shared. In their singing something new is created, which transcends them, something sacred, just as what happens in the Eucharist.
The are happy and enjoy each others company; they even have their arms round each others waists. For me the event of the Eucharist is related to singing. When it was my turn to share bread and wine in the church I worked, I sometimes prayed the prayer for the ritual of bread-and-wine singing solo, with the congregation responding to that. Always a nerve-wracking experience beforehand, but very nice while singing. It gave the feeling of all being connected. But in fact, this feeling of togetherness is there always. The simple gesture of receiving the bread and wine by someone (or giving it) with the accompanied smile and some small words, gives in all the churches I go to, a feeling togetherness and connectedness.
During these weeks I have often searched for pictures to put in my entries. The most moving picture I have found is of “Mary, Woman of the Eucharist” (it took me while before I understood it, despite all my work on the image of Jesus as ‘living bread,’ but that’s it. Jesus is the bread in her hands). It is a photo of a statute of Mary, being sculptured by the sculptress, who has made her. I cannot explain why it moved me as it did, but I know, I love the care Maria gets, the happy face of the sculptress, the connection between the sculptress and Mary, and the femininity of the picture. The photo has a Three-of-Pentacles-feeling of building something sacred, but down to earth. The Three of Cups is related by number to the Three of Pentacles. If I take that photo into my interpretation of the Eucharist, than the ritual is about caring as well.
I struggled hard these past weeks with the issues of giving and sacrificing. And now, investigating the central symbol of Christianity, I receive an image of a joyful togetherness, of sharing, giving and taking, creating something sacred.