Thursday, August 11, 2016

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

The Sacrament of Holy Qurbana:
The Celebration of “Third Space” in Priestly Ministry

Hebrews 5:1-14

Rev. Baiju Markose
Lutheran School of Theology of Chicago

Every high priest is selected from among the people and is appointed to represent the people in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. (v.1)

A priest is not an ontologically different being but one among God’s people called out to represent the people before God. Through ministry the priest creatively engages in the process of serving God and the people. This priestly engagement is through constructing and celebrating a “third space” (a concept popularized by Homi Bhabha, which refers to a cultural space of creative relationality) of restoration and hope in the everyday life of the people.  This celebration of the “third space” of restoration can be found in its most splendid form in Holy Qurbana. The empty space between the broken pieces of the bread in Holy Qurbana, always reminds us a “third space” of restoration and hope.
Jesus’ ministry was specially marked by the event of last supper. Paul in his letter to the Corinthians reminds them of  this event of the Lord’s supper. “The Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread and gave thanks” (1 Cori 11:23). The word here used for thanksgiving is “Eucharisteo”. This is a “radical” thanksgiving. A thanksgiving which opens up the possibilities of a “third space” of forgiveness and reconciliation. Paul reminds the Corinthian believers to reconfigure their relationships on the basis of a Eucharistic living, by creating a third space of redeemed relationality. Ann Voskamp in her poetically written book One Thousand Gifts says: “Eucharisteo is the central symbol of Christianity. Christ, at his death meal, set the entirety of our everyday bread and drink lives into the framework of eucahristeo”. Elevating everyday realities into the level of eucharistic living is a priestly challenge in a non-eucharistic world.
The writer of the letter to the Hebrews portrays Jesus Christ as the high priest in the order of Melchizedek (Hebrews 5:10). It is meaningful to note that Melchizedek shared bread and drink with Abraham as they were marking a new space (third space!) of restoration, peace and hope (Genesis 14:15-24). Celebrating such “third spaces” through a eucharistic living will definitely make this world redeemed and beautiful.


Lord, grant us the ability to celebrate the “third spaces” of restoration and hope in the midst of our everyday brokenness. Amen.
"The only real fall of human is his non-eucharistic life in a non-eucharistic world." -Alexander Schmemann