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Step beyond your comfort zone this Advent

Spontaneous EucharistRev Suzanne Cooke reflects on a point in the year, at Greenbelt, when she took an uncomfortable risk which resulted in the truly wonderful.  In this time of Advent are we willing to walk in places that make us vulnerable?

At Greenbelt this summer, Soul Circus and Molten Meditation (ie composer and founder of Molten Meditation Robin Vincent, myself and some brilliant helpers) were involved in something very exciting.  It was an initiative that grew out of the creative tension that exists between our differing points of view.  But the fact that it happened at all was because Robin made it happen; because when my courage failed he continued to walk the creative edge for both of us!

Spontaneous Eucharist was to be our attempt to do something unexpected with Holy Communion, a way of showing the unconditional healing love of God, at work, in the Eucharistic moment - with no strings, no provisos, no processes of liturgical approach to negotiate. 

It immerged from, among other things, Robin’s dislike of the ‘wordiness’ and rigidity of our Eucharistic liturgy and my desire to express inclusivity in its celebration.   A worthy goal, however, it became obvious early on that reaching any kind of agreement on how to manifest our idea into physical being would be tricky; free church ideas around the Eucharist are very different from those that form the Anglican Canon Law I swore to uphold when I was ordained Priest.

As the creative process moved forward and we tried to navigate the minefield that was our differing points of view I became more and more unsure about whether I could or should be involved in such a risky project.  Ultimately, Robin was the one who gave it form and got it included on the Greenbelt Festival programme.  

And so Spontaneous Eucharist was born – a small paper box, filled with shredded tissue, a tiny vial of consecrated wine and a communion wafer.  Little boxes of possibility, healing, reconciliation, celebration, offered unconditionally to those curious enough to pause and speak to us – and what was created in that moment of unconditional communion, between relative strangers, would be an opportunity to offer the most precious gift, given freely, without strings. 

I believe that our actions touched hearts those two days – we were met with almost unanimous good will from all we spoke to and there were many profound moments where the importance of what we were giving away connected with people very deeply; the risk that I had been so worried about taking was utterly and completely worthwhile.  And even though we were the ones doing the giving there were in those encounters such moments of joy and hope that any amount of soul searching on the journey would have been worth it.

Even those of us who are more comfortable standing on the edges of life, have limits beyond which we become unsure – but they are the very edges we are called to walk.  These are the very places where the spirit resides and where truly wonderful things occur; to only go where it is safe gets us nowhere, it stunts growth and love and all the things Jesus came to give us. 

We too are called to step out of our comfort zones and walk in the places that make us vulnerable.  So in this time of Advent, a time of waiting and preparing, where are the edges in our lives that call us to discomfort?  For each one of us they will be different, but as we wait once again for the coming of the Christ Child - be brave - go out and discover where your edges are – for God knows what or who might be waiting there to met you.


Rev Suzanne Cooke is the curate of St Mary’s Church, Watton and the founder of Soul Circus, a regular creative, experimental service supported by the Diocese of Norwich and the Youth Task Force.  You can find out more at www.soulcircus.org.uk

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Picture: Robin Vincent giving Spontaneous Eucharist at Greenbelt


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