- The Eucharist as Transformable Spirituality:Reflections on Protestant Spirituality and A Recent Civil Disobedience Movement in Hong Kong1
This paper, dependent in large part on a series of lectures delivered at about the same time by German Lutheran theologian Wolfhart Pannenberg and Yale Reformed philosopher/theologian Nicholas Wolterstorff, explores the meaning and import of an emerging Protestant spirituality based on eucharistic worship and community. Pannenberg and Wolterstorff each in their own way see the rediscovery of the Eucharist at the center of Protestant worship, Pannenberg describes it as, “the most important event in Christian spirituality of our time,”2 as well as “the decisive step . . . to overcome the tragedy of liturgy in Protestantism” and for Wolterstorff it represents the importance, “to have a balance of worship and proclamation.”3 Pannenberg sees the symbolism of the new eucharistic spirituality as thoroughly communal, sacrificial and eschatological. It reverses the intrinsically individualistic character of the medieval penitential piety, embraces society at large, and symbolizes the eschatological unity of all humanity. Social obligations thus follow from eucharistic participation. Wolterstorff, on the other hand, sees the Eucharist as celebration in memorial of the remembered acts of God’s new creation and the expected acts of the liberation of God’s people, at the center of which are the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the full arrival of God’s kingdom of shalom. This celebration-in-memorial involves a grateful response from the people to those deeds of God and a renewed commitment to obedience. The worship and the works of mercy and justice thus are mutually authenticating.
This exploration of the eucharistic spirituality takes place during a time when Hong Kong is suffering increasing social polarization. It is therefore natural to inquire into its practical implications for the people of Hong Kong, especially the eucharistic community, in their struggle for justice and peace. After a brief survey of a large-scale civil disobedience movement in Hong Kong in the last quarter of 2014, this essay provides groundwork for developing the Eucharist as transformable spirituality by engaging eucharistic theology and spirituality in Wolfhart Pannenberg and Nicholas Wolterstorff. Finally this essay proposes implications of the Eucharist as transformable spirituality by exploring the categories of “spiritual renewal in eucharistic thanksgiving,” [End Page 14] “reconciliation in eucharistic intercommunion,” “self-giving in eucharistic sacrifice,” “eschatological vision in eucharistic hope,” and “peace in eucharistic invocation.”
CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE MOVEMENT IN HONG KONG
September 28, 2014 will be remembered as one of the most important days in the history of Hong Kong since the transfer of sovereignty from the United Kingdom to communist China. It initiated a period of seventy-nine days of civil disobedience on December 15, 2014 in Hong Kong, known as the “Occupy Movement” or the “Umbrella Movement.” Hundreds of thousands of students and citizens occupied key areas in the city’s financial and business districts, pressing the Central People’s Government for genuine universal suffrage in selecting the city’s Chief Executive in 2017 in accordance with Hong Kong Basic Law,4 the mini constitution of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
The Basic Law stipulates the basic policies of the Central People’s Government towards Hong Kong in accordance with the “one country, two systems” principle, granting the city a high degree of autonomy in all matters except foreign relations and military defense, and providing its residents constitutional protections on various fundamental human rights and freedoms. Hong Kong’s previous capitalist system and its pre-1997 way of life would remain unchanged for a period of fifty years. The Basic Law explicitly states the ultimate aim of selecting by universal suffrage the Chief Executive and all members of the Legislative Council.5 The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, vested with the power of final interpretation of the Basic Law, 6 decided in 2007 that the election by universal suffrage of the Chief Executive might be implemented in 2017.
On August 31, 2014, the Standing Committee of the Twelfth National People’s Congress set limits for the 2016 Legislative Council election and 2017 Chief Executive election. Two or three candidates would be elected by a 1200-member Nominating Committee, based on...