Added on 12/06/2012
The Archbishop of Dublin & Glendalough, The Most Revd Dr Michael Jackson, spoke on the theme of Communion in One Baptism at the 50th International Eucharistic Congress held at the RDS in Dublin, yesterday, Monday 11 June 2012. For the first time, a full day of the congress was devoted to Christian unity and had ecumenical participation with an Ecumenical Liturgy of Word and Water.
The Archbishop gave the following address at the Congress:
The word: communion is, all too often, a shorthand term for Eucharist. Beginning the International Eucharistic Congress 2012 with a celebration of baptism instantly sets communion in a wider context, with biblical and theological underpinning. The word: koinonia – English: communion – is itself a rich cavern of ideas. There is the communion which we have with Christ and with one another. There is, of course, the divine communion of God Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The positive invitation to participate in this conversation and restoration of communion to a central position engages us with the request to live out the full expression of the communion we already have through baptism in our lives. We are called to do so by reconciliation, forbearance, pilgrimage and by being agents of peace for one another.
One of the most useful definitions of koinonia offered in preparation for the International Eucharistic Congress 2012 is the following: the relationship between persons resulting from their participation in one and the same reality. The challenge ecumenically for all of us who wish to do this is our need to hold fast to our relationship of communion in Christ when its strength and energy come through the Eucharist, when our current requirement is to celebrate Eucharist separately. It is the Eucharist which feeds us eschatologically for the work of God’s kingdom as disciples of Christ here on earth.
What shape might this baptized life of communion take, to which we are called and indeed compelled? As long ago as 1991, the Fourth International Anglican Liturgical Consultation drew the urgent attention of the Anglican Communion to the following need: ‘There is need for the Anglican churches to relate the administration of baptism to the reality of reception of the Gospel… Baptism, in its frontier role, should both convey goodness to the world and model with it conversion and commitment to Christ.’ The importance to me of this Eucharistic Congress is in its hope of an outworking of this principle. It speaks of the broader picture of the life of communion flowing from baptism. Once we accept that mission is, first and last, God’s mission, questions have to be asked about how we enable this gift of God to be the spiritual activity and the active spirituality of the church of today. And we need to be mindful always that God speaks through the world to the church, as also to the world through the church. Both need each other and both are enriched by the interchange of care and concern.
Baptism facilitates and forms the one body of Christ. Through each and every baptism, the church is formed as a community of participation. Baptism enables distinct Christian communities to have not simply parallel lives but a shared life ‘conjoined in the missionary purpose of God’ (The Toronto Report). The ministry and mission of God in the church for the world is the responsibility of all God’s people.
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