love feast

Jesus Christ, your light shines within us. Let not my doubts or my darkness speak to me.

Jesus Christ, your light shines within us. Let my heart always welcome your love.

 

I could stop right there, because these words express quite simply yet profoundly what Love Feast means to me. Love Feast is for me a time to remember. Who I am. Who we are.  A time for me to ponder and to touch … how it is that at our depths we are Love as we are loved. How it is that this life we live is a feast of Love, from Love, for Love, Love utterly poured out in its own becoming, a feast upon which Love grows.

 

Yes, Love feast is for me a time to re member, as Jesus himself asks me to do with the words, “Do this in remembrance of me’. I choose to separate the word ‘re member’ intentionally. What does it mean to re member?

 

The process of life can sometimes serve to dis member us. We are dis membered from the depths of love within ourselves, cut off from our own goodness and beauty, cut off from the full manifestation of Love that our particular hearts are meant to be.  In the midst of our pain, we can become dis membered from the presence of Love deep within life. And we can become dis membered from the presence of Christ within our neighbor when our fears and our forgetfulness cause us to reject each other. Finally, we become dis membered from the infinite vastness, depth, diversity and Oneness that is Love, because it has become confused in our minds with the limited slices of it that we have experienced through the narrow openings that human fear, pain, and forgetfulness sometimes allow.

 

So, how does participating in love feast invite me to re-member?  First, as I kneel to wash my neighbor’s feet, I  am re membering. In touching, reconnecting to, this previously dis-membered part of the body that is Christ, I re member that he or she contains some vital expression of God. Parts of it may be hidden or distorted by pain and fear but it is there awaiting a loving touch. I am choosing to honor that presence in the other, no matter how different from me it may appear to be. Yet, when I kneel, I see that we look the same. She has flesh and bones, toes and ankles. She may also have calluses, sores and odors from squeezing into ill-fitting shoes, or carrying too heavy loads, or walking on harsh pathways, but we are not so different from each other here, in this most earthy part of ourselves, this part that carries us through life, touching the earth, to be both soiled and blessed by it.

 

As I sit and eat, side by side with my neighbor, I am re minded. I am reminded that we share the same food that is this journey of life. We consume the same sorrows and joys. We swallow the same fears and sufferings. We both feast on beauty and joy. In other words, we share in the same deep soul nourishment that our experiences of life here in this place provide. The same sufferings that eventually break our hearts….. open to compassion and understanding. The same painful deaths that somehow provide the deep nurture in the soils of our souls for the growth of Love. The same wonder full and terrible beauty that is this feast of Love! This literal food that I eat is transformed within me, to become a part of me. Likewise, my neighbor and I are nibbling or feasting on similar life experiences that serve to grow and transform our souls in some mysterious way. We share in the same deep nurture, which has been growing, evolving and transforming souls since the beginning of time. And so, I am re membered to my neighbors, both ones within and outside of these doors, as I am remembered to the whole of humankind, both living and dead.

 

Finally, the sharing of communion re members me. Communion. I love that word. It speaks to me of commonality. It speaks to me of community. It speaks to me of union. I am one with God, with self, with others in these moments of shared bread. The presence of Christ in the bread and the wine reminds me that God is present, poured out, within the food of life, somehow mysteriously present in my pain and in my joy, and that it all is a feast of Love.  I am reminded that Jesus ate of the same bread and drank of the same cup of life as me; cast his own lot with the shamed…like the shamed and crucified parts of me that now are rising to be reunited with the Love that was their source of being. I am reminded that Jesus tasted suffering, like me, and that his suffering awakened him to new depths of compassion and transformed his life into a message of Love. As I eat the bread of Christ, I am reminded that that which was present in Jesus is also mysteriously incarnate in me, and that as I eat this bread of life, I continue to partake of the presence of God within each bite. I am reminded that I am participating in the life of God’s becoming as God is participating in the life of me. God is not separate, nor distant from me. We are One. I am not disconnected from Love at all. I am swimming in it, I am clothed by it. It is contained within my very cells. And it is in this, my re union and communion with Love, that I become my true self. God is my very being and only in God am I what I truly am.

 

Love feast is, for me, a moment of experiencing the integral wholeness with all that is…within self, within neighbor, within life, within God….and of embracing it all as good. It is a satisfying moment of recognition and reconnection, an experience of profound love for what is. It is a moment of truly being One, of being ‘In Love’. In love with life. In Love with the face of my Beloved that I behold deep within it, and that I seek and see within each face, yearning to be free. Only from this place of deep Love can I discover the beauty that my surface vision alone cannot find.

 

And so it is me who is re membered.  The Christ in me. Lost parts of myself reclaimed as holy as I recall the face I had before I had a face. And so it is us who are re membered. Lost and denied parts of this blessed body of Christ reclaimed as holy and beloved. And so it is God, who poured Godself out so lovingly and thoroughly into creation, who is re membered, through us. Through the pouring out of ourselves again and again, relinquishing the whole of who we are into Love’s arms, we become a feast of Love and hope for God, a feast for Love to grow upon. Love feast invites me through Jesus’s example to re member that deeper than my fear, deeper than my desire for security and safety, for acceptance and esteem, deeper than my desire to have the power to change the world, there is Love and it is to this love that I am called to return and that I am called to simply be.  And so suffering is redeemed. Love of neighbor and of self restored. God’s ever presence, so often hidden from view, brought into plain sight. Love IS here. We are One. Communion.

 

 

 

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