Book Review: Meditations for Lay Eucharistic Ministers (Faithful Servant Series) by Beth Maynard
by Peter Menkin 3/18/2009 / Book Reviews
Meditations are good; an instructive, helpful little book
It is a significant thing in ones life to be a Lay Eucharist Minister. This little book, looking so slight by Beth Maynard, is a guide to the ministry of the Lay Eucharist Minister. There are many sections worth meditation. Here is one that is a little lengthy as a quote, but worthwhile. It has to do with offering or in other words serving eucharist:
"...the offering that had been taken, blessed, and broken--you, your ministry--is distributed to the people
"What might happen if you were to make that action more explicit in your prayer life? You could ask God to take you and put you to use, to bless more profoundly and break more generously whatever you offer."
You can see this is a taughtly written book, and one of a series called "Faithful Servant Series." I think that the first words, in the introduction of this book, says something about the kind of reader who will find this an interesting and valuable guide. They say, "Were you chosen to read this book?" By that they mean, was it given to you. As a book for giving to others, it is a good one. But no harm, and a lot of good to get it for yourself if no one has given you one yet.
This is a book about the ministry performed by lay people for God. "God acts first--the Bible is very clear about that and God acts to choose us because God loves us." I think you will find this a useful book, its meditations food for thought and reflection. It is worth coming back to again, and helpful in ministry.
One can read this book at short sittings, and it is a recommended thing to do, so says the author. Here are some chapters: "At the Altar," "Looking at the Background," "Insights from Scripture," Community and Collegiality" and others. Let's turn to Community and Collegiality for a moment. Most likely, the short book tells us, you know the people you serve at eucharist. This is a moving thing, to both know those who one serves and to serve those one may not know.
Don't let the fact of the book's remarking "...In the case of entering into a new ministry..." for though it is directed to those who are new, it is not an emphasis, per se, of the book. For example, there is a note about dealing with people. "...What do you when the awe gives way to annoyance?" Ministry relies on a request of God. "...Tell God that I would like a little taste of the awe again, please, just to help me remember why I'm here."
There is a section on Home Communions, and though there may be a simplistic tone to the explanations and what one could call gentle exhortations to serve, there is a lot of meaning here put in a simple, direct fashion. "By visiting an elderly member of the parish, we trace back into our own communal past."
Sections have quotations for thought, relevant ones to Lay Eucharist Ministry. It is true, this one: "He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" (Micah 6:8.)
The end of the book contains prayers for Lay Eucharistic Ministers. One said before serving reads in part: "Here I am, Lord. There are many reasons I am here, but this is the real one: I have come because you called me. I offer myself and my time and my gifts to serve that call..." In a way, the reader has a starting off point for prayers of his or her own.
Christopher L. Webber is the series editor, and writes in the introduction, "Who is this God who seeks us in so many ways..." "We come to know God better by serving as church members and in church ministries." Again, an example of simple words, clearly put, but necessary and telling. I think the genre of this book, "Spirituality/Gift" is a good one. To end, just a note here about the author. She is an Episocpal priest in the Diocese of Massachusetts, and before being ordained was a Lay Eucharist Minister. The book is published by Morehouse Publishers, an Episcopal publishing house.
A small book, one who is a Lay Eucharist Minister will find it beneficial, for though the book holds a light tone the subject has its serious overtones and the ministry itself is a good one. In its light touch there are many thoughts and readings good for meditation.
--Peter Menkin, Mill Valley, CA USA
Peter Menkin, an aspiring poet, lives in Mill Valley, CA USA where he writes poetry. He is an Oblate of Immaculate Heart Hermitage, Big Sur, CA and that means he is a Camaldoli Benedictine. He is 64 years of age as of 2010.