Buddhist Bishop-Elect Writes Own Eucharistic Texts
The Rev. Kevin Thew Forrester, recently elected bishop as the only candidate on the ballot in Northern Michigan, has already attracted notice for the fact that he is also a practicing Buddhist who said he had received Buddhist “lay ordination” and was “walking the path of Christianity and Zen Buddhism together.” Now comes word that the bishop-elect also has been composing his own Eucharistic texts, in partnership with his wife. I pass along potions of this story from The Living Church for you consideration.
Fr. Thew Forrester’s parish draws some of its prayers from Enriching Our Worship, which is authorized by General Convention. Many of the eucharistic texts gathered from the congregation’s website were composed or adapted by the bishop-elect or by his wife, the Rev. Rise Thew Forrester.
“No one need go hungry if they eat this bread. No child, no adult, no elder. This bread, broken, is bread for all people,” read a eucharistic prayer for a youth service during Lent 2008. “Jesus broke this bread to remind us that God comes to us in those places where we are broken inside. Where we are lonely, frightened, sick and in sorrow. And God also comes to us in those places where we are joyful, playful and free.”
The same service omitted the Nicene Creed, instead using “An Affirmation of Faith” from A New Zealand Prayer Book.
A eucharistic prayer that the bishop-elect wrote for Easter season 2008 says this: “In the ancient days, at the dawn of time, You leaned over creation[,] scooped it to your breast and breathed the moist breath of life. ... The fire of your Spirit kindled a love between Mary and Joseph; a fire that became the roaring flame of eternal compassion—the heart of Jesus.” [RWF: N.b., this last sentence appearently constitutes an implied denial of the Virgin Birth right at the heart of the Eucharist. Jesus' origin is the Spirit's action within "the love between Joseph and Mary."]
The lectionary texts are notable for their exclusion of male pronouns, even when the subject of the sentence is a man. A reading from Genesis 2 refers to Adam as “the earth creature” and “it.” Readings from the gospels of John and Mark refer to Jesus as “the Chosen One,” “the Only Begotten One,” “my Beloved, my Own” and “this One.”