Since at least the thirteenth century, Christians have set aside a special day known as Corpus Christi, “the body of Christ.” It has served as a day for meditating on the Holy Eucharist and the ways in which Christ makes himself known to us in the breaking of bread. In some ways this feast reverberates from the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday. It is traditionally celebrated on the first Thursday after Trinity Sunday. At All Souls, we observe the actual day of Corpus Christi but also transfer the major celebration to the next Sunday. Accordingly, this Sunday we will focus on the Body of Christ in the readings, music, and hymns; and we will participate in the Body and Blood of Christ in the Holy Eucharist. But there is more.
A former rector and mentor of mine used to point out the irony that so many of us reverence the Eucharist and the altars from which the Eucharist is shared and yet, we often treat one another in ways far less reverential. We forget that we also bear the image of Christ. Jesus feeds us with his Body so that we can be his body, the Church. This Sunday we will add to the Body of Christ as we baptize and welcome a new Christian. And just to make sure that our celebration afterwards is accessible to the full body of Christ our coffee hour will take place on the front lawn of the church.
It is also appropriate that on this Corpus Christi Sunday we will light the new candles under our fourteen Stations of the Cross. A parishioner sketched the idea for iron sconces which were recently made by a craftsman in Baltimore. They were installed last week and will be lit for the first time this Sunday. As we notice our Stations of the Cross in new ways and admire their beauty, we can recall the sacrifice Jesus made for us. We can ask how Christ might be calling us to “take up our cross” and follow him daily. In this way, our Corpus Christi is more than piety. It is prayer that leads us into action as God continues to move, speak, and love in our world.
Last week we blessed seersucker. This week we contemplate some of the deepest mysteries of the Christian faith. From silly to serious, we can rejoice in being called as God’s people, the Body of Christ.
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