A Meal to Share
The celebration of the Eucharist
by Claire Law
Suitable for Whole School (Sec)
To explore the Eucharist and the ways in which it underlines and supports community.
Preparation and materials
- You will need the PowerPoint slides that accompany this assembly (A Meal to Share) and the means to display them.
- You will also need the following YouTube videos and the means to show them during the assembly:
- ‘Dinner Date ITV – Episode 8 - Mike’ (6.56 minutes long), available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-kp4rR6D0g
- ‘Eucharist: The Rt. Rev. Michael Curry’ (7.50 minutes long), available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USOMZpGheBc&feature=youtu.be
- Have Slide 1 displayed as the students enter the room.
- Show Slide 2.
Ask if anyone has ever watched the programme Dinner Date, a dating TV show on ITV Be. In the show, a contestant who is looking for love selects three people they would like to share a dinner date with based on the menus that these people have created. The contestant then attends the three dates, which all feature a home-cooked meal. At the end of the three dates, the contestant chooses which of the three people they want to go on a second dinner date with, this time at a fancy restaurant. The remaining two people get given a microwave meal for one to enjoy by themselves.
Let’s take a look at an episode of the show where Mike is looking for love.
Show the YouTube video ‘Dinner Date ITV – Episode 8 – Mike’ from the start until 1.38 minutes, and then again from 6.00 minutes until the end. It can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-kp4rR6D0g
- So, Mike chooses to enjoy a second romantic meal with Sarah! Poor old Liza and Clare have to make do with their microwave meal for one.
- Dinner Date reveals something that has been part of human culture and society for a long time: the importance of meals as a way to foster and build relationships. The act of sitting down to eat together to share food and company is a powerful way to get to know someone better and to build a strong relationship. In this way, the meal is more than simple nutrition. A shared meal has the power to feed not just our tummies, but our hearts and souls, too.
- Show Slide 3.
This old Russian motto translates into English as ‘To get to know someone, you should eat a sack of salt.’
Repeat the saying: ‘To get to know someone, you should eat a sack of salt.’ In other words, friendship with a person comes after many meals eaten together, and each of those meals is flavoured with a little salt.
- In the Christian tradition, there is a particular meal where relationships are strengthened. It is a very simple meal between people, and it is a meal that is never eaten alone. This meal is always shared with others.
- Show Slide 4.
This painting by the German artist Sieger Köde shows the Last Supper: the last meal that Jesus shared with his disciples before his crucifixion. For around 2,000 years, people have been sharing a similar meal with one another to remember the Last Supper. They remember the love of God that they believe was shown through this act and through Jesus’ death on the cross.
- When Christians celebrate this meal, they call it Holy Communion, the Lord’s Supper or the Eucharist.
Show Slide 5.
Sometimes, small hosts or wafers are used for the bread and sometimes, pieces are broken from a large loaf. Sometimes, a shared cup or chalice is used for the wine. Whatever name or method is used, however, there is always a coming together to share in the meal. In doing so, Christians believe that they are strengthening relationships with other Christians, and also strengthening their relationship with God.
- Let’s watch a video that illustrates this. In this clip, we will see the Most Reverend Michael Curry, the American bishop who gave the address at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in May 2018. He speaks powerfully about the power and symbolism of the Eucharist in uniting and strengthening relationships.
Show the YouTube video ‘Eucharist: The Rt. Rev. Michael Curry’, starting from 0.22 until 2.28 minutes. It can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USOMZpGheBc&feature=youtu.be
- The Eucharist/Holy Communion is a coming together of people to remember the death and resurrection of Jesus. People share in Jesus’ body and blood and share faith with one another. This is a meal that has united Christians around the world throughout the past 2,000 years. Another way of saying ‘communion’ is ‘common union’, which indicates that this is a meal that unites.
In the clip, Michael Curry explained how communion was a sign of unity in a world where there was division and injustice. Today, there is still division and injustice in our world. Racism still exists. But the act of coming together and sharing is a powerful example of a different way to live.
Time for reflection
Let us all take a moment to reflect on the idea of shared meals and on what the symbolism of the Eucharist might mean to us.
First, let us call to mind the people with whom we regularly share meals. Let us think about the places where we eat with others. Let us consider the ways in which these people and places help us to feel part of a community – connected and belonging.
Pause to allow time for thought.
Let us also consider people in our world who eat alone, whether that is due to bereavement, war or injustice. We think about anyone who may feel lonely and isolated, and we offer these people our empathy.
Pause to allow time for thought.
We also pause to think about the Eucharist. Have you been to Holy Communion, or attended a service with the Eucharist recently? What message can you take from the example that Michael Curry gave about sharing from the same cup: all people being welcomed to share in this meal symbolizing God’s love? What does it mean to you to know that you are invited to join in this sacred meal that has united Christians throughout the world for so long?
Let us pause to allow ourselves to reflect on that.
Pause to allow time for thought.
We bring to you our thanks for the many meals we have enjoyed with others.
We thank you for good food and good company, which help us to feel connected to others.
We pray for anyone who cannot enjoy this – people who have little food, or feel isolated and cannot enjoy eating with others.
We also thank you for giving us the gift of Jesus, who showed us the example of sharing a meal to unite.
Help us to come to a better understanding of the power and symbolism of Holy Communion to unite us with others and with you.
We ask that through our prayers, through our meals and, in particular, through our experience of Eucharist, we might grow closer in peace and unity to other people and to you.