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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Simple Church Minute 54--communion

54—communion
My name is Tom; this is Simple Church Minute
            Whether one calls in the Lord’s Supper, Communion, or Eucharist—why is there virtually no food?  The words used before this function in almost all traditional churches come from First Corinthians chapter 11.  We have been told that this was the institution of the ceremony, but how similar is it?  Jesus and the disciples were celebrating Passover.  Although it was an Old Covenant ceremony, it was also a real meal.  For the early church, it was celebrated as a festive occasion for a believing community that could potentially be, and in many places was, both Jews and non-Jews, rich and poor, slave and free, men and women.  Jesus’ resurrection, and the sending of the Holy Spirit to indwell them, that they could each be the temple of the Holy Spirit was a joyous thing.  Chapter 11 verse 27 may have had to do with some eating too much before poorer believers got off work to join the others, maybe some were drinking too much, and maybe some unbelievers were party crashing for free food—its impossible to know by now.  It wasn’t just a holy snack.
            Over time, pagan influences took the church out of homes of believers, set up buildings, ceremonies, and set up a caste of religious professionals.  It came to be not a meal, but first an offering, and later a sacrifice, which implies Jesus being a victim over and over again, instead of the final sacrifice for sin.  It went from being the Love Feast to being Eucharist.  Mystical explanations were attached to it.  The Reformation rejected the mysticism, but became a small piece of bread and a thimbleful of juice, to be taken with a serious attitude after examining oneself for sin.  In traditional churches, the church picnic comes closer to the original application of this directive as practiced in the early church.
            You can email me at simplechurchminute@gmail.com. For more info on organic
 Church*, visit http://www.simplechurch.com/ or locally at (local website).
On the recording, at this time, it says, “house churches.”  While that phrasing is OK, to say “organic church” is better.  I comment on that in blip 94.

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