On the night before he died, Jesus gave instructions for how the church was to stay together and remember him. His instructions were these: eat together.
In learning to eat together, the early Christians discovered they had to learn other skills of common life. They had to learn to greet one another, to be honest with one another about their faults, to celebrate and give thanks for what they had been given. They learned to remember the truth and to pray, and in praying they learned to recognize their dependence on God. The eucharistic liturgy, born of Christ’s direction to share a meal, honors and teaches these skills. The essay below is the first in a series focusing on moments in the liturgy: gathering, hearing, responding, sharing, going.