Heaven On Earth

In the mid-1990s I participated in a Holy Week Easter conference in Odessa in the Ukraine. There were about 150 of us, including families, from Russia, the Ukraine, Belarus, Bulgaria, and Albania. On Holy Thursday we had a silent meal, laid out family style on many tables covered with beautiful Ukrainian tablecloths. There were several rules: no speaking and no one could serve themselves. You could only serve others and let others serve you.

It was pretty astounding: the atmosphere of that meal. Everyone had such a vivid, alert, social awareness, sensibility, and you experienced that in yourself and everyone else. You had the experience you were in Heaven on Earth. You had the sense of an unseen, golden light surrounding and permeating everything. We all were fed and we all were nourished and the food was lifted up into another sphere of life and light.

It remains with me as an unforgettable memory and a living question. In a true way, the Sacrament is also such a meal where we nourish angels and angels nourish us in a spirit-gathering that lifts up bread and wine into another sphere of life and light, of Christ’s light and life.

But the Holy Thursday silent meal and the sacrament are archetypes. They are not at all intended to be the only place where this Christ community can occur.

They are archtypical activities and forms that can be and are to be brought into all kinds of situations, encounters, meetings and circumstances. In celebrating the sacrament, in our living with the festival year, we are learning, we are disciples, learning to be and become apostles, those sent forth into this time and culture, learning how to create with all kinds of people in all kinds of situations, the forms and ways where we all are feeding and being fed, where we all are nourishing and nourished. What a mission! What a vision! What a life-intention and spirit aim: to be creating here and in the world such sacred moments, such holy places where Heaven is on the earth, to be creating here and in the world Christ Community.

by Richard Dancey

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