Posts Tagged ‘Act of Consecration’

Community

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

What kind of community is The Christian Community? People associate all sorts of wishes and dreams with something that calls itself community. Depending on how far these wishes are connected to the reality, this reality may be a disappointment. Doubtless this is sometimes because of our limitations. But we must be careful not to fall into degenerate love, where we want to promise to make everyone happy. I remember how shocked I was when I went to study in Stuttgart, having met The Christian Community in a Camphill community. How could this huge group of seeming strangers call themselves a community? Yet with time I saw that they were fulfilling the task of our community very well. The church was impressive, there was a full programme and a whole college of priests was supported. I had unconsciously imported my idea of community into this different context, and at first I couldn’t distinguish between my wish and reality.
The central task of our community is wonderfully clear – to create spaces where the Act of Consecration and the other sacraments can be celebrated.
The pain that is sometimes expressed – ‘you’re not the community that I was hoping for’ can be the spur to formulate our task positively. After all, there are many places where people can experience a closeness of soul, or the community that comes from sharing in an activity. The Christian Community is the only community that has the task of celebrating the Act of Consecration of Man. This is a vital part of the great work of gathering the splintered shards of creation into the work of art which is the new creation.

All the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe — people and things, animals and atoms — get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross.
Colossians 1:18, The Message

The mystery of the Act of Consecration is that we can share in this great work even if we don’t know – or don’t like! – the person sitting next to us. The experiences, hopes, thoughts and feelings that we bring to the altar join with theirs in the cup, and become part of what is transformed and shared in the communion. This utterly objective communal deed is part of the foundation on which the Act of Consecration stands. There is something inspiring about the fact that it doesn’t rest on liking, or sharing a common world-view, or occupation. The spirit of utter freedom that obtains here is also an invitation to us to exercise our freedom wherever it seems important to us – including taking an interest in our neighbour, and finding out more about his or her life, if we want to. It wouldn’t be appropriate to make a rule about this – the Act of Consecration is our work, and it creates a space of freedom, which we are free to take up.