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Jack Twist

Eucharist Is Life

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of all the topics, this forum has been idel sine its founding.

 

Short and sweet: Jesus said as often as do this - Paul clearly understood that the Eucharist was celebrated at every Sunday service of the New Testament Church -

 

quite frankly I need the community and the physical reception of God's love into my life no less than once a week. And the openness of the celebration is concrete evidece - we invite all who will come to the table - that the other points are not just words. We only eat with people we consider family, so are all welcome, all whop wish to partake receive the sacrament of Christ feeding us.

 

And Jesus feeding people is a very powerful statement from Scripture and in my daily life.

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I'll buy that. It should be a foretaste of the Wedding Feast of the Lamb, to which all are invited. If someone who doesn't share my exact theology is taking the eucharist next to me . . . so what? I don't know hir heart and s/he doesn't know mine, but that's okay. If s/he only sees it as a nice meal with friends, that's a darn good start to grasping the heart of it.

 

Think about it: for a Jew of His time, Jesus was notoriously indiscriminate about who He ate with. This at a time and a culture when who you ate with was almost as closely controlled a matter as who you slept with. And Jesus threw the doors to the banquet open wide. Keep sinners out of the eucharist? Lord, I hope not, then I won't be able to go! :D

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Often when I take Communion, I think about how much people's attitudes toward it have changed in my lifetime. I remember as a child, leading up to my confirmation, learning the different ways people thought the sacramental bread and wine became the body and blood of Jesus within our bodies. In recent years, everyone I know, liberal and conservative, just talks about it as a remembrance with no direct mystical significance.

 

Of course there still is something of the sacred in it. A couple of years ago I spilled a few drops of grape juice on my hand. If I had been anywhere else and the drops anything else, I'm sure I would have just wiped them off quickly on my pants. Instead I went and respectfully washed them off. I remember being surprised at how much sacredness I felt then. Usually I deny the sacred, saying God is with us wherever we go and accessible by anyone with anything resembling a prayer. Whatever there is about Communion that's sacred, it certainly makes sense to me to share it as widely as possible rather than say that some should be shut away from God.

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In recent years, everyone I know, liberal and conservative, just talks about it as a remembrance with no direct mystical significance.

 

And I think that's a real loss, one of the reasons that the mainstream churches are hurting: the surrender of the supernatural to a rational-materialistic worldview. I'm all for the same stuff many liberal Christians are: peace, equality, freedom, etc., but I also want wonder, magic, awe, the numinous. If our religion doesn't supply that, then let's just close down all the churches and give our money to the Red Cross and ACLU!

 

By the way, I'm in favor of a common cup full of wine (grape juice is so safe , and thus a lousy symbol for the Blood of the Lamb) and a big loaf of bread. The little thimble cups and broken up crackers may be hygenic and safe, and thus pitiful symbols. When our symbols lose their guts, then so has our faith and a faith that is all head and no guts is not long for this world.

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And I think that's a real loss, one of the reasons that the mainstream churches are hurting: the surrender of the supernatural to a rational-materialistic worldview. I'm all for the same stuff many liberal Christians are: peace, equality, freedom, etc., but I also want wonder, magic, awe, the numinous. If our religion doesn't supply that, then let's just close down all the churches and give our money to the Red Cross and ACLU!

 

It can be a difficult path to walk (a very narrow one in fact ;) ) - to keep both the "supernatural" and the materialistic in one worldview.

 

I've swung wildly from one side to the other and am just now learning to let enough stuff go that the pendulum is somewhat centered.

 

I've gone from "Jesus, the nice man who had a religion built around him by that bad man Paul" to "Jesus, the Cosmic Christ avatar similar to Krishna, blah blah blah (somewhat Theosophic)."

 

Now it's not that I deny completely either of those views. I incorporate much of both - hence "middle." :D Putting Jesus in context in the ANE, as Rabbi (and so much more) is helping me more than anything has. (Thank you Rob Bell and NT Wright.)

Edited by Kay

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It can be a difficult path to walk (a very narrow one in fact wink.gif ) - to keep both the "supernatural" and the materialistic in one worldview.

 

A difficult path indeed. But then doesn't that describe the entire spiritual life? One of my favorite images about living as a seeker of God is Israel wrestling with the angel. That's the spiritual life: wrestling, struggling, walking the tightrope, slipping between people's categories. Constantly and lifelong.

 

My present wrestling match has to do with opening my mind to the relevance and place of religions other than mine. Huston Smith and Frithjof Schuon are helping with this immensely. It's more than just the "they're all true" type of thing. All too often folks have just tossed that out as a cliche which means "I don't want to get into it" . Smith and Schuon are giving me a stronger intellectual and spiritual base for honoring the other religions and their place in God's revelation. Very big change for me. I always looked askance at rigid and materialistic approaches to life, but am now finding just how UNspiritual I've been recently. Ooops.

 

NT Wright!? I love NT Wright. His The Challenge of Jesus gave me a whole new perspective on what Jesus was up to.

Edited by AslansTraveller

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One of my favorite images about living as a seeker of God is Israel wrestling with the angel.

 

That was recently presented (in a book I just read) in a similar way. The analogy was that the angel is scripture and Israel is us. If we don't walk away from wrestling with scripture with a limp, then we're not doing it right. :lol:

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I can echo the lack of substantive or mystical wieght of this practice in many churches, particularly the "non-denominational" Baptist-esque churches I attended earlier in my life. It's odd, but taking Communion had no real meaning for me at all growing up. It was never a serious subject of any sermon, and other than the fact that we were supposed to do it because Jesus "had told us to" and that we had to be "saved" before we could participate, there was no discussion of its significance. It took a book by Thich Nhat Hahn and a book by Fr. Thomas Keating to suggest the actual depth and beauty of the practice (which I haven't participated in for over 14 years).

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Tinythinker, I agree with you. I feel the elevated beings who have reached communion of the mind and soul are not members of any particular faith alone, but are spiritual aspirants from all faiths and denominations. The thing that distinguishes them from other people is their understanding of the nature of their souls and their knowledge. They obtain compassion for others and develop communion with everything in the all-pervading consciousness that surrounds us. Just as bees yearn for the nectar from various flowers, Progressive Christians absorb the ideas from varied men and women from all the different faiths to enable us to appreciate our Christian faith better.

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I agree with the sentiments expressed here. In all the churches I've grown up in, including the one I'm at presently, very little emphasis is placed on the rite of communion. I believe it's quite unfortunate and rather odd, given the high place the Eucharist has enjoyed throughout church history. My church only has it once per month, and even then it is not given very much attention.

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