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Participation rather then progression

"For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes." 1 Corinthians 11.26

Poet and author of cherished carols such as 'Love came down at Christmas' and 'In the bleak midwinter, Christina Rossetti's family was of Italian extraction and steeped in The Oxford Movement (pressing for inclusion of ancient practices and liturgies into the CoE, paving the way for Anglo-Catholicism). Rather than rendering her nostalgic or reactionary, however, her antiquarian instinct led to an epiphany of sorts: that the call of Christ was not to self-fulfilment but to the denial of self.

For Christians, the ultimate expression of self-denial is martyrdom. But not all Christians are in a position to embrace literal martyrdom. For those living under the benign shadow of Christendom, monasticism became the new "martyrdom" because of its demand that those who would enter must renounce all worldly goods and ambition. Now what about those who inhabit post-monastic situations and denominations?

The Eucharist (Holy Communion) offers an opportunity for all believers to participate in the sacrifice of Jesus and his fellow martyrs in the Communion of Saints. It is also God's call on us to make whatever sacrifice is necessary in order to follow Jesus and obey his teaching. As a way of living it goes against the self-serving instincts of society, yet it is to be embraced willingly, even joyfully, for it is the way - and the only way - to what really counts and what really matters.



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