The Eucharist followed me through to the end of my week. I wrote about it in my Thursday letter to Preston, wondering how it is that I stake my whole self on these words:
I am the bread of life. He who comes to me shall not hunger, he who comes to me shall not thirst. And I will raise them up on the last day.
We must obey the call to eucharisteo, to thanksgiving. Somehow we have to trust and wonder and fumble with the people we love. We rarely do it well, but we ought to try. Somehow we have to look like fools with our hearts cut open and beating for the world, minds bending with the weight of joy and trial, hands heavy with the things we carry for each other. This, dear friends, is Eucharist: that we bear one another to the altar.
Today Fr. Liias reminded us of the altar in Ezekiel 47:
Then he brought me back to the door of the temple; and there was water flowing from under the threshold of the temple toward the east, for the front of the temple faced east... Again he measured one thousand, and it was a river that I could not cross; for the water was too deep, water in which one must swim, a river that could not be crossed... This water flows toward the eastern region, goes down into the valley, and enters the sea. When it reaches the sea, its waters are healed. And it shall be that every living thing that moves, wherever the rivers go, will live.
And this is the beauty of the living water that flows from the temple. Everyone who touches it, everyone who meets it, will live. This water makes the temple green with life. This water makes our hearts alive with Him. What was it that the woman at the well said? Lord, give me this water.
Why is it, that we are afraid to swim in this living water? Why aren't we thirsty for it? I drink from hundreds of wells:
the well of comfortable words
the well of acceptance
the well of praise
the well of achievement
the well of perfectionism
the well of what is easy...
And this Sunday, those wells are empty. And I come, thirsty, to the hymns and the red Prayer Book and the rich words strewn across the pews, the words of the Word and of the Table. I come, thirsty for water that flows from the altar and through the temple and out into the world.
If Eucharist is that we bear one another to the altar, then love is nothing less that we bring each other the living water. We cup our hands under the mighty stream, swept up in its flow, and give each other something to drink. We sit, in our pews, with our Bibles and our hymnals and our winter coats, and drink the living water together.
This week, I pray that these words, in this small space, are my hands offering you the living water. I pray that all the people you meet, the ones you know, and the ones you don't, the ones you love, and the ones who you don't yet love, drink from the well of living water.
Because everything living thing that moves, wherever the rivers go, will live.
May we bring each other this water.