This book is an exploration of the complexities/perplexities raised by asking what is the Eucharist? This direct question would seem to yield an equally direct answer. However, as soon as we begin to answer it, we encounter an array of responses layered with various complexities. The answer is shaped by who answers, e.g. a Roman Catholic, an Anglican, or a Baptist. Perhaps, even the name 'Eucharist' would be contested. Answers to this question would reflect not only confessional differences but the spectrum of theological and liturgical perspectives across Christianity.One might emphasize the communal nature of the Eucharist, the presence of Christ for adoration, the fellowship around a table, or a sacrifice performed on an altar. In addition to the multiplicity of images employed and liturgical styles preferred, answering the Eucharistic question will involve explicitly or implicitly the comprehensive scope of theological concepts. Reflecting on the nature of the Eucharist will take Christological, soteriological, and ecclesiological directions, while implicating Trinitarian theology, theology of creation, eschatology, and theological construal's of culture and language.Lastly, we can consider the distorted Eucharistic relations among the churches.
Why is the sacrament of unity functioning as a sign of disunity? In this book, Ralph McMichael analyzes these complexities/perplexities raised by asking what is the Eucharist? This analysis will serve to point the way forward beyond the plurality of answers and emphases without reducing their significance. He develops a Eucharistic way to consider questions put to the Eucharist. Thus he locates theological reflection on the Eucharist within it."Continuum's Guides for the Perplexed" are clear, concise and accessible introductions to thinkers, writers and subjects that students and readers can find especially challenging - or indeed downright bewildering. Concentrating specifically on what it is that makes the subject difficult to grasp, these books explain and explore key themes and ideas, guiding the reader towards a thorough understanding of demanding material.
Ralph N. McMichael, Jr. is Canon Theologian and Dean of the Episcopal School for Ministry in the (Episcopal) Diocese of Missouri. He received his Ph.D. in systematic theology from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.
Introduction: What is the Eucharist?; Chapter 1 Tradition: History and Theology; Chapter 2 Presence; Chapter 3 Sacrifice; Chapter 4 Ecumenism; Chapter 5 Church; Chapter 6 Culture; Chapter 7 Language; Chapter 8 World; Epilogue: The Eucharist of Theology.