The Eucharist is one of the great traditions of the Christian church, and meaningful to many. While reading Hearing and Knowing: Theological Reflections on Christianity in Africa I came across an understanding of the ritual that I have not heard, or do not remember being stressed in my American setting. How ever when I did a search on youtube I came across this song which sums it up.
In the book, Mercy Oduyoye says, “From the perspective of Africa, an interpretation of the Eucharist that highlights the aspect of sacrifice is one that will touch people’s spirituality in such a way as to affect their lives.” When I have heard about sacrifice in the past it was how one should sacrifice for the sake of Christ, but she is talking about living in solidarity not doing things you really do not want to do, but are told you should.
Oduyoye goes on to say that sacrifice is “the way to replace charity with justice.” This is a different kind of sacrifice than I usually hear in relation to the Eucharist. Usually it is about the sacrifice of Christ, and not our sacrifice for others. (It is important to mention that I am not talking about living with abuse and calling it sacrifice.) There are those who tell people they need to sacrifice, and by that they mean they need to accept abuse. This is not the sacrifice I am talking about. The sacrifice I am talking about is a sacrifice that will help those in poverty get the human rights they need and deserve. It is not about abuse, but moving from charity to justice. This is done by sacrificing for others.
In 1 Corinthians 11 the Corinthians are told they need to think of each other when they come to the Lord’s Supper. Those with privilege were eating all of the food before the others could get there. “Examine yourselves, and only then eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For all who eat and drink without discerning the body, eat and drink judgement against themselves.” (11:28-29) Is saying that they need to consider how they are treating each other before they partake of the Table. Just like Oduyoye says in her theology.
The next time you come to the Lord’s Table remember that there are people all around the world standing right beside you.