S-t-r-e-t-c-h-ing my Vocabulary, exploring the meaning of Eucharist.
When it comes to faith and Christianity, I will avoid a lot of “Christian-ese”. Large words usually don’t impress, and even more so, are seldom understood. In my world, working in a secular institution, it is not helpful to use theological terms. Words like love and peace… and comfort… those are the words we need and understand.
I struggled with this when I was studying theology – there was an inner pressure to impress, to speak in academic terms. But I have long appreciated the preacher who speaks in lay terms, who relates to the “every-day” man.
That being said, I was inspired by the author Madeline Le’Engle this summer, as I read her book “A Circle of Quiet”. She is a fascinating author and makes me think. Part of this book is her experience with a word she sat with and ruminated on for an entire summer… and I will leave you to find out what her word was.
I found myself stretched to learn to new words, to explore what they mean.
This is a sacred ceremony, the Eucharist. It is a remembering, an identifying with…and denominations will have different ways of celebrating it, or even understanding it.
But the word itself is so rich, and I wanted to learn more… Eucharist actually comes from the Greek word Kharis, which means Grace. Of course, I love that… not so much that this is my name, but we are called to live lives of grace… and God extends grace to us, just as we are.
The dictionary goes on to tell me that Eukharistos means “Grateful“, and Eukharistia means “Thanksgiving!” How appropriate for this week, as our thoughts are turned to thankfulness.
So as I think of this Sacrament (a religious ceremony or act of the Christian Church that is regarded as an outward and visible sign of inward and spiritual divine grace, in particular), of Eucharist, I am thankful!
How good to think about Eukharistos in our daily lives… to show grace to one another, to acknowledge grace shown to us, to be thankful. Even in the midst of hardship, there can be thanks. And sometimes, that can make the difference.
I look forward to participating again in the celebration of Eucharist – it will be even richer as I understand it more fully.