Thursday, April 09, 2009

Maundy Thursday: Tough to Digest

Fellow Traveler woke up today with a chest cold, which makes participation in our church's Maundy Thursday community meal problematic in itself.

But it would be problematic anyway. Because of FT's particular health issues, she can't eat most of the meal that our church serves -- oven beef stew, whose meat and (intentional or otherwise) al dente vegetables she finds difficult and painful to digest; an apple-and-nut salad -- our Upper Midwestern alternative to hasoreth -- which could actually send FT to the ER. So she'd pretty much be left eating the bread, even though the liturgy that accompanies the meal incorporates all the elements of the meal, leaving her hungry and idle, watching everyone else be fully interactive with the liturgy and eat their fill. When we attended together the first time FT came home in actual physical pain from trying to eat the main course, and the last time she wound up having to eat a meal before the meal and then just go through the motions of the mealtime liturgy, which defeated the whole Eucharist-as-part-of-real-meal theme.

I'm not saying that our church should jettison its service, which gains in popularity each year, because not everyone can partake of all the food. But it's been a learning experience. And it makes me appreciate the "hungry feast" of the traditional Eucharist more.

1 comment:

Mary Beth said...

Poor sweetie. I'm sorry that's the case for her. We had a first-century meal @ church (like a Seder but not for that ceremonial occasion) and my husband just flat hated all of it...largely because he knew it would make him ill. He's had fundiplication surgery.

I know it would not be inclusive per se, but I wonder whether taking her own food would work? Then at least she wouldn't be HUNGRY.

This Lent, for me, has been about making it work however I can. Some things, just don't. I'm finding some work arounds, though.