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The Anti-Consumerist Sacrament

Consumerism, in its restlessness, becomes a kind of spirituality in its pursuit of transcendence and meaning. Instead of this restlessness leading us back to God, it leads us to more and more things. We begin to see abundance not so much in quality as in quantity. Where do we see God's abundance in a culture dominated by consumerism?

One place that we see God's abundance is in Holy Communion. [William] Cavanaugh suggested that we learn how to be consumers at the table. During communion, we all come to the table setting aside our material wealth and all of the things that seek to divide us.

We consume the body of the Christ as it consumes us, transforming us into the body of Christ for the world. Through the Eucharist, the act of consumption is turned inside out. The free gift of Christ's sacrifice breaks down the barriers between what is mine and what is yours, uniting us with Christ and with one another. What's more, even just for a moment, communion stills our restless pursuit, brings us peace and allows us to focus our attention on God rather than stuff.

- Grace Duddy, assistant director of the Center for Stewardship Leaders at Luther Seminary, in the Center's Stewardship for the 21st Century e-newsletter, August 14, 2012.