Having written this for a group I facilitated over four years ago, called “East Midlands Forest Church”, I have deepened my understanding of the nature of the work of Jesus Christ on the Cross and in the Resurrection, enlarging the once highly anthropocentric vision I had into a fully Cosmic understanding of the restoration of all things.
You’ll find the usual parts in a standard communion, but with some Deep Green parts added in to enhance and make it appropriate for something like a Forest Church setting or similar. Some of these additions include extending the usual words when offering the elements of bread and wine around the circle:
“The body of Christ. Drink that you may never hunger.
The blood of Christ. Drink that you may never thirst.”
This takes what is a statement that describes what is being offered, and extends it into a blessing of the recipient.
Also, after we have received the bread and wine, the remaining bread and wine are placed into the earth itself. This may sound sacrilegious for those who have a very high regard for what the elements have become to them, but there exists already within the Christ Tradition a mechanism for “casting to earth” any remaining elements (some places even have a special sink that you can put them into which places them into the ground around the church building!). And do remember that whilst part of the elements you’ve consumed is assimilated into every cell of your body on a molecular level, there will be bits left over which you have to “cast to earth” in a very different manner! The placing into the “womb” of the earth in this liturgy symbolises that Christ’s work on the Cross and the Empty Tomb are not only for human beings, but for the whole cosmos which is groaning out after being subject to frustration due to the falls in the spiritual and earthly realms. At Christ’s return, the restoration of all things will occur, and all things that have come from God, will return to God in the end. This brings another eschatological dimension into the celebration of the Eucharist / Communion. So don’t forget your spade!
My overriding memory of first presiding over this celebration in 2013 was of lifting the stone at the calling of the North and a gentle warm wind stirring up amongst the leaves of the surrounding trees, blowing across the circle. Goosebumps appeared on my arms as I internally understood “She’s here!”
The liturgy for this Eucharist / Communion ritual can be found here.