I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles...

Fr. Ed Tomlinson posted this little video on FB today:


I have to say my feelings are of dismay rather than anger or disappointment. This is Anglican, but that's not to say things like this haven't happened in the Catholic Church. 

Apparently, the Diocese of Exeter held a 'taster' for the Walsingham Youth Pilgrimage, which included Mass celebrated by 'bishop' John Ford of Plymouth.

The explanation is that 'Having used bubbles earlier to consider their beauty, uniqueness and specialness - just like us - filled with breath which ultimately goes right back to God, we were encouraged to blow bubbles as the holy elements are raised, and fill the sacred space with light, airy prayer-filled bubbles...'

The Anglican Blogger Cranmer has commented  as follows:
His Grace is so convulsed with incredulity, he can scarcely type. He is so used to writing about those who inhabit the metaphorical Westminster Bubble that it had completely escaped him that the Church of England was blowing its own, quite literally. Can you imagine Jesus getting Judas and Peter to do these on the night he was betrayed? "This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is clouded in bubbles for you." 
An Ordinariate friend of mine (a West Ham supporter) said...
"...at last, the good old C of E offers a West Ham mass ...claret and blue vestments, surely?"
...which amused me greatly.

There was a time when I would have greatly approved of something like this. I would have seen it as a way of making Mass for 'fun', more 'interesting' for young people. When I was 18 or 19 I thought stuff like this made Mass relevant to young people. Only now do I realise just how mistaken I was. And the proof of my developed understanding is probably best evidenced in my own deepened faith and the developing faith evidenced in my children.

What kids want is not novelty or amusement. They want truth. They want to know that there is something sacred that they can believe in. They want to feel confident about the faith, they want to know the practical effect holding to that faith will have on their lives, and they want the opportunity to express that sincerely.

When we use tricks to catch their attention, the results are brief and fleeting. We shouldn't be amazed at that. Consider what we are asking them to believe about the consecration. Can we really expect blowing bubbles to provide any sort of real engagement with transubstantiation?

Religion--all religion--is about creating a sacred space. About engaging with the metaphysical dimensions of our existence. It is real, universal, obvious, and tangible. In these cynical times, we need to offer our children a sacred space to engage with their spiritual dimension with sincerity. We do not need gimmicks in order to do that, unless we ourselves are unsure of what we are doing.

When we consider our Judeo-Christian heritage, can we seriously imagine such gimmicks being necessary as the Ark of the Covenant is taken up to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem? Or as the First Fruits are offered to YHWH in the Temple? When you think about the seriousness of the words of Jesus used at the Institution of the Eucharist, do bubbles seem appropriate?

We need to feed our children the Truths of our Faith in contemporary language--in other words, not 'fairy-tale words'. It is so easy for youngsters to equate miracles with magic; the appearances of the Risen Christ, and his Ascension as just myth or stuff not to be taken seriously. The same is true with Mary's Assumption. We need to engage in language that's scientific, that talks of other dimensions, that challenges them to realise that 'up' is not indicating a space-related destination, but a far more advanced--evolutionally advanced perhaps--state. That we can not be expected to fully understand the 'universe' of God's Being, any more than an ant can grasp the concept of using computers.... We need to get their minds to engage in these directions, so that they realise that science isn't so much an enemy of belief, but in fact a tool that helps us unveil the wonders of God's love for us. (h/t Marie-Claire for that paragraph).

I used to think this sort of thing was good, but that was before I found out what my faith is actually all about. That was before I had anyone to explain to me what being a Christian actually meant. Now I look at things like this and see well meaning individuals who should know better teaching young people that Mass doesn't matter and God doesn't mind and the Eucharist is just a symbol. If it is all relative to those teaching it, why should it mean anything more to those receiving that teaching? And if it doesn't mean anything, it won't take much for those young people, faced with a moral dilemma, to simply walk away from the right path, and justify whatever they want to do.

Hello, I'm Sammy the Seal & I'm here to teach you all about Transubstantiation.

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