Habemus Altare

If then the Christian citizen is to make his Christianity tell upon his politics, his business, his social enterprise, he must be a Churchman - consciously belonging to the worshiping fellowship and sharing its worship - before he is a citizen; he must bring the concerns of his citizenship and his business before God, and go forth to them carrying God’s inspiration with him.

This is all expressed in the Eucharist. There we bring familiar forms of economic wealth, which is always the product of man’s labor exercised upon God’s gifts, and offer them as symbols of our earthly life. If God had not given to the seed its life and to the soil the quality to nurture it, there would be neither harvest nor bread. Equally, if man had not ploughed the soil and scattered the seed, there would be neither harvest nor bread. Bread is a product of man’s labor exercised upon God’s gift for the satisfaction of man’s need. So is wine. There are our ‘oblations’ at the ‘offertory’ - often also accompanied by ‘alms’ expressing the charity which seeks to share with others the good things which God has given us.

These representatives of all earthly ‘goods’ we offer to God in union with the act of Christ at the Last Supper when, in preparatory interpretation of His death, He took the bread, called it His Body, and broke it - took the wine, called it His Blood and gave it. Because we have offered our ‘earthly’ goods to God, He gives them back to us as heavenly goods, binding us into union with Christ in that self-offering which is His royalty, so that we give not only our goods but ourselves, and thus become strengthened as members of His Body to do His will in the various departments of our life.

The Eucharist divorced from life loses reality; life devoid of worship loses direction and power. It is the worshiping life that can transform the world.

William Temple in Citizen and Churchman (1941)
  1. kelseyball reblogged this from affcath
  2. myadventuresinoddity reblogged this from affcath
  3. affcath reblogged this from affcath