Excommunicating "Them" From the Table

Them, Theirs, They, etc. ... These words must be excommunicated from the church concerning the poor and the oppressed.

If God, as I've suggested before, has a shared identity with the poor (God's shared identity with the poor) and the church is the body of Christ (in whom God shared not only in the identity but in the suffering of the poor) then the church should be God's communion with the poor and the oppressed in the world. The church should be in solidarity, sharing identity and suffering with the poor. The greatest expression of this shared identity with the poor is the Eucharist. In that communion meal we are not just recalling the suffering of Christ but we are calling it out of the past and into the present and we are essentially saying in that moment that what has happened to him/them is happening to us together with the poor and the oppressed. We are also calling the future into the present, with feet grounded in the suffering of Christ, proclaiming and anticipating with our hands the day when Christ will drink again from the fruit of the vine in his father's kingdom, when "new wine will drip from the mountains" (Amos 9), when all will eat and bread will not be withheld. Because of the Eucharistic solidarity between crucified people and the crucified Christ, the thing which must be excommunicated from the table is that which divides rich from poor, crucified from privileged.

The communion meal is God's communion with his suffering people here on earth. What must never be abandoned from the memory of the meal are the people with whom Christ shared himself, his body and his blood, namely the "least of these." He does not merely call the church to help them but in his meal of solidarity he invites us to become one with them by becoming one with him, being consumed by that which we consume. The church is defined by this meal as they are defined as the body of Christ. Therefore the church MUST include the poor and the oppressed always in their "us" and never in their "them."

Discipleship is the process, through spiritual disciplines, of excommunicating the divisions of oppression and curse from the heart and life of the community of God, working out in justice and mercy the salvation of the world through fear and trembling by entering into the suffering of the sufferers.