Greed, in other words, prohibits faith. But the inverse is also true. For it is in the Christian celebration of the Eucharist that we have the prismatic act that makes possible our recognition that God has given us everything we need.
The Eucharist not only is the proclamation of abundance, but it is the enactment of abundance. In the Eucharist we discover that we cannot use Christ up. In the Eucharist we discover that the more the body and blood of Christ is shared, the more there is to be shared.
The Eucharist, therefore, is the way the Christian Church learns to understand why generosity rather than greed can and must shape our economic relations.
So ends this article by Stanley Hauerwas on greed and the economic crisis. This isn’t really a critique of Hauerwas’ article, but on the apparent weakness of Eucharistic theology in general. Assuming you come from a faith tradition where the Lord’s Supper is understood as a sacrament, whereby something actually happens, rather than an ordinance, which is more along the lines of a memorial act of symbolism, why is it that the Eucharist appears to be so powerless?
I have seen multiple articles, whole books even, which advocate for a Eucharistic theology as an answer to various problems in the world. I’ve even preached a sermon or taught a lesson or two with such emphases. There is supposed theological power in the Eucharist. Hauerwas says that it is through the Eucharist that we are taught about generosity, not through sermons or Bible studies. Can taking communion every Sunday make us more generous people?
It doesn’t appear so. Plenty of other examples of the apparent failure of Eucharistic theology to form Christians could be cited as well.
So, my questions are:
- Are these theologians off their rocker? Are they making communion into something it isn’t?
- If not, why isn’t there more power in the Eucharist? Or is it there and we just aren’t noticing it?
- Or are we missing the interpretive element in our teaching and sermons? Do we need to exegete our practices more for our congregations?
What do you think? Can the Eucharist be a bedrock for mining theological insights for Christian formation?