We’ve a feast on our hands

Corpus 7

We’ve a feast on our hands today at St Mary’s. Today is a day set apart in the calendar of our church on which Christians may give especial thanks for the institution of Holy Communion. It is the very last of the festivals whose date changes according to Easter. Because Easter was early this year, so today, Corpus Christi is earlier than it often is too.

Corpus Christi is related to Holy Week in another way too. The day on which Communion was instituted in the church is Maundy Thursday. That’s when we remember the Last Supper in the Upper Room. The Last Supper is perhaps confusingly the First Communion.  (Or at least it is if you discount the other eucharistic meals in the gospels where Jesus breaks bread and shares it, such as the feeding of the five thousand). Maundy Thursday though is a day when we’ve got so much to think about and so much going on that we tend not to think about the supper itself. We get so quickly caught up in the story of Jesus’s arrest in the garden, trial and crucifixion the next day that we don’t have much time to ponder, or indeed, celebrate, the meal itself.

Hence, Corpus Christi. We get the chance today to rejoice in the meal.

I used to go across to celebrate Corpus Christi in Edinburgh with Fr Kevin Pearson. Sometimes we would make it a trip for servers and other hangers on. Indeed, on one ocassion, Fr Kevin invited me to preach. When Fr Kevin became Bishop Kevin a couple of years ago, I decided to have a go a reviving the feast in the west and started to celebrate it in Glasgow. And today, I’ve asked Bishop Kevin to come and preach at it.

It is a fairly complicated, wizz-bang kind of liturgy with much to think about. However, the essential ideas are easy to grasp. Firstly that God is really present when the Eucharist is celebrated. Secondly that God comes amongst God’s people and walks with them. Thirdly that it is OK to be joyful and happy. Indeed, joy is at the core of what we do.

So, Corpus Christi.  A sermon from Bishop Kevin. Flower scattered (no, strewn!) before the Lord of Heaven and Earth. The glorious Vierne Messe Solonnelle from the choir. And joy for everyone.

Kick off 7.30 pm. All welcome.

[There’s a facebook event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/467625339986048/ if you want to invite facebook friends)