Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Wild Things Continued

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Within the 338 words of the story we have the line, “let the rumpus begin.”  Max has a dream after being sent to bed without his supper for being wild himself.  In his dream he sails to an island where he tames the Wild Things, becoming their king.  They have a rumpus. Finding himself lonely afterwards he sails back home. There he finds his warm supper waiting.

Within the story we have the universal wounded healer pattern, descent/ascent, found in trillions of stories, more than we can count.  The healing of our various wounds are lived out, acted out, and present as a universal in the Eucharistic liturgy my brother affirms after being reminded in the story of the Wild Things. The pattern in the liturgy is one of descent/ascent.

 My brother Ron wrote:

“I have many favorite lines in Sendak’s Where the Wild Things are. But, it is the ending that I am especially fond of, “sailing back over many a day and many a night, he returns to his room, and there is his supper, and it is still warm.” 

It’s the Eucharist!  Really? 

The book as a whole can be read as a Eucharistic fragment. Here’s how I would begin to make the case: The Eucharist is a liturgy. It is literally a “public work.” It takes place in all kinds of ways and in all times and places. 

David Ford wrote an article in the Scottish Journal of Theology in 1995 titled “What happens in the Eucharist?” Ford was seeking “new ways to discuss the Eucharist.”

He argues that “in theology the question usually lead into discussing real presence, eucharistic sacrifice, valid ministry and so on” but there is an alternate approach which he describes as “actual practice” (Ford, 1995: 359) or “the Eucharistic habitus.” This depends not so much on reasoned positions in relation to the Eucharist but on “the non-verbal character of much practical knowledge.” (Ford, 1995: 360).  Habitus he defines as “habitual ways of being and behaving, with a repertoire of predispositions, tendencies, propensities and inclinations, all shaped by structures and representations” (Ford, 1995: 361)

What if children’s literature were to become a place, a habitus, for the practice of Eucharistic theology? What do you suppose it might look like? Sendak has given us a glimpse from within the world of a child's imagination.”  

Ron Whitmer, 5/22/2017

I think childrens liturature can follow the same pattern of the Eucharist.  Start with the opening prayer to the Eucharist known as the Collect for Purity (cleansing), “cleanse the thoughts of our hearts.” This is the descent phase of the wound, the cleansing, clearing out what would cause infection, confession, that allows another set of cells, connecting tissue, to begin. We move to a new place as “the inspiration of the Holy Spirit” enables new connections in love and service.

I will connect with he hospital story in the last blog. Here the love expressed in the warm meal, comes for the hospitalized boy after he expresses his anger as a patient, punching holes in the paper, giving expression to his pain, cleansing, and then finding a peace, a new healing, a restful response in sleep made possible by the presence of the Befriender (His parakaleo/paraclyte, a called one alongside).

A Fragment as my brother would say,
Marlin Whitmer

 Ron is also a retired Episcopal Priest.

Where the Wild Things Are - YouTube

Oct 27, 2007 - Uploaded by John Kelin
Children's book read aloud." WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE "more stories at Storytime Castle channel ...

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