Content warning: Sarcastic blog post. Cynicism intended in love.
Awhile back we saw a spate of “interesting” Eucharists. These included, and I kid you not, Seuss-charists, Clown-charists, a Pirate Eucharist and a tailgate Eucharist at a Baltimore Raven’s game. A youth director friend, Jeremy Knight, and I were thinking one evening that there are many imaginative ways to devalue the Holy Eucharist that have yet to be attempted. Here are a few that came readily to mind…
1. Bear-suit-vestmentscharist: What’s more inviting than a guy in a bear suit?
2. The Hobbitcharist - The procession is an Orcish hoard and the host is referred to as “my precious.”
3. Jeopardycharist: “I’ll take the bread and the cup for $300, please.”
4. Avatarcharist: It’s just like the “DancesWithWolvescharist” only in 3d.
5. Kariokecharist: It is a sing along rite 2 to the tune of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.“
6. RockyHorrorPictureShowcharist - For children of the ’80′s. Starts at midnight. The virgin gets praised, not spanked and, for the Gloria, we can “Do the Time-warp Again.”
7. StarTrekcharist: Word on the street is that Shatner is a postulant for Holy Orders in L.A.
8. Paintballcharist: Anyone who doesn’t genuflect gets double-tapped with paintballs.
9. Transformerscharist: Save the planet and uphold a transubstantiationist doctrine at the same time.
10. Nudecharist: Warning, only works with the right celebrant.
11. FindingNemocharist: After all, fish and loaves are biblical imagery.
12. Mariocharist…followed by Super-Mariocharist.
13. Ninjacharist: Don’t mock it, Ninjas will take you out.
14. Ryan Seacristcharist: Just because it sounds funny and, hey, we’re Americans, we can always find a new Idol to worship.
All of which are signs of the apocalypse-charist. And finally…
15. MockGodcharist: Haven’t we already? I really do know that this isn’t anyone’s motive. But we sure look like weirdos here.
I am a career youth person who has planted a church with an average age of about 22, not a fuddy-duddy. But even I have to wonder why we have trouble realizing that the Holy Eucharist is, as Prayer A says, “a memorial of our redemption,” and treat it with respect. I am not sure what is more bizarre, that we place so little value on the dignity of the Eucharist, or that we are so lacking in ecclesiastical creativity?
Anglican Christians know the power of the Eucharist. We know it is the best tool in our toolbox. Our recent oddball Eucharists bring an aphorism to mind: “to a person with nothing in their toolbox but a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” We know the Eucharist “works,” but is it the only tool in our box? And, if the Eucharist is the “answer” to what ails us in the Episcopal Church, is it the answer to every question – like the old preacher’s joke about the Sunday School teacher who describes in detail a squirrel and asks the students if they know what the answer is and the kid says, “It sure sounds like a squirrel, but I guess the answer’s supposed to be Jesus.” Can we at least agree that the answer is not to out-goofy each other at the altar? How is a weird-sauce Eucharist any different than the shameless attention seeking that we see and critique in the evangelical world…like for example the local church that put an Octogon on their platform and challenged people to “Get in the ring and fight for Jesus”?
When we do these “creative” celebrations of the Lord’s Supper we appear self-referential, theologically squirrelly and missionally clueless. Do we actually believe that if we just dress up the bread, wine and our clergy with enough silliness the world will beat a path to our door?
I have heard it said that these are “great for kids.” Help me understand this, what happens when the kids find out their priest isn’t really a clown? Or (wait for it) that they actually are?
Wouldn’t it be far more helpful if, instead of inviting people to outlandish communion celebrations, we returned to the ancient church practice of going to the world, loving and serving people and speaking of our motivation rooted in the hope we have in the resurrected Christ? Or we could just sit around the office typing up more kooky Eucharists for liturgical junkies. Anyone for a Djangocharist? It would be high-action, and justice oriented – very attractional. We’d pack ‘em in!