Why go to Church?

In my search for a suitable Lent book/course for my little flock I came across Why Go To Church? : The Drama of the Eucharist by Timothy Radcliffe. As it wasn’t specifically written for groups I passed it by as unsuitable but have been reading it myself this week. What a fabulous book.

Timothy Radcliffe is a Dominican and it might seem strange that the ABofC has chosen a Roman Catholic to write his Lent book on the subject of the Eucharist which is the biggest cause of division between us. However, it is senstively written and I can see a series of teaching sermons on the Mass in the future using this book. My little Quotes Journal was fair bulging after I finished it last night.

It has made me think seriously about why the Eucharist is so important to me. I can’t imagine life without it which is why I will always find a church whilst on holiday.  As a member of my little flock is wont to say: “I need to go to get the gaps in my aura plugged back in!” It is the same question as ‘Why must I eat?’

Timothy Radcliffe proposes that the Eucharist is a Drama in three acts and each act prepares for the next.

By listening to the word of God, we grow in faith and so become ready to proclaim the Creed and ask for what we need. In the second act, belief leads to hope. From the preparation of the gifts to the end of the Eucharistic Prayer, we remember how on the night beofre he died, Jesus took bread, blessed it and gave it to his disciples saying, ‘This is my body, given for you.’ Faced with failure, violence and death, we are given hope, repeating Christ’s own prayer. In the final act, from the ‘Our Father’ onwards, our hope culminates in love. We prepare for Communion. We encounter the risen Christ and his victory over death and hatred, and receive the bread of life. Finally we are sent on our way – ‘Go and serve the Lord’ – as a sign of God’s love for the world.


I can’t recomend this book highly enough. And it is not just for Lent – it is for all time.


5 thoughts on “Why go to Church?

  1. Thanks, Ruth. I bought it in January, but haven’t opened it yet.

    Yesterday I was doing a school assembly and thinking about how backwards it felt. It is by worshipping that we learn to worship and by encountering God in worship that we begin to desire God. Talking about the Christian story in school just does not cut it.

  2. Yes, we had a great discussion at our (small) Lent group this week on worship. Love your line about worship – thanks.

  3. I agree, Ruth, about this book. It’s a cracker. Do you know his other one, What is the Point of Being a Christian? Equally good. What I love about the way he writes is that he combines deep theology with a genial, un-anxious style.

    I used to have a lot to do with the Dominicans, and regret very much that there isn’t an Anglican Dominican order. If there were, I might join!

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