Barry Newman's Blog

June 9, 2010

Christ Centred Communion – Further Thoughts (part XI)

Filed under: Christ Centred Communion — barrynewman @ 3:38 am

Understanding “Poieite” as “You are Doing” and a Pastoral Problem

Understanding the words of Jesus as a statement also deals with what may be considered a pastoral and practical problem if a command is involved.  Why would it be sufficient for us to simply have a special remembrance of his death once a year?  Passover is once a year.  Why shouldn’t a remembrance of the death of Jesus feature often and regularly in our daily lives?  For Paul, the death of Jesus was a paramount feature of his gospel proclamation no matter how often he preached – “We preach Christ crucified” (1 Corinthians 1: 23) and “I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2: 2). It was the death of Christ that in fact should have affected the way the Corinthians conducted their meals – probably weekly events – when they came together as a “church”.  No wonder, given their disgraceful behaviour, that Paul said they could be found guilty of the body and blood of the Lord (1 Corinthians 11: 27).  If Christians have been considering that a ceremony was basically the way to remember the death of Jesus one can understand why customarily they have wanted to have such a remembrance event more regularly than once a year.  Let it be four times a year, once a month, once a fortnight, once a week, even once a day.  However let us not forget that the setting for the words of Jesus under consideration is that of the Passover. If the words of Jesus are considered a command then they relate to a command to be obeyed once a year. But what if Jesus is not issuing a command concerning how his disciples should understand Passover meals as meals that are meant to trigger the memory of his death?  What if he is making a statement that highlights the redemptive purposes and actions of God, culminating in his death?  Could it be that genuinely understanding the death of Jesus for what it is really, is likely to affect our thinking and our doing more fundamentally and pervasively than remembrances brought about by ceremonies no matter how often conducted?  This is not an argument against remembrance ceremonies. The suggestion is however that Jesus might never have commanded such a ceremony.  It is being further suggested that the remembrance of the death of Jesus and its significance should form part of our “heart and soul” and so be more effective in its outworking than any ceremony, no matter how often conducted.

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