Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Easter Communion

I have been reading a book on the sacraments, and it has helped me to grow to love these sacred acts of the church even more than I did before. Although Word and Sacrament seem to have given way to Lyric and Song as the touchstones of Christian worship for the time being, I celebrate that there is still enough of it there in the church to nourish us by the grace of Christ and the Spirit. I long for a deepening of their significance.

But I am not posting this to rail on the worship practices of evangelicalism. I just want to build my anticipation for the Communion to take place at Easter. Herein Jesus Christ, the second Adam, the first of a new kind of human, promises "This is my body ... this is my blood ... for you." As William VanderZee puts it:

The Lord's Supper is more than a faded memory of a long-gone person, it brings us his life-giving presence. Communion is not just another name for the sacrament of the Lord's Supper; it describes the very essence of what takes place in that sacrament. Christ brings us into special communion with himself and with each other so that his life and saving power nourishes our bodies and souls.
So, from the same book, a beautiful poem by George Hiebert:

Love bade me welcome, yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-ey'd Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
If I lack'd anything.

"A guest," I answered, "worthy to be here";
Love said, "You shall be he."
"I, the unkind, the ungrateful? ah my dear,
I cannot look on thee."
Love took my hand and smiling did reply,
"Who made the eyes but I?"

"Truth, Lord, but I have marr'd them; let my shame
Go where it doth deserve."
"And know you not," says Love, "who bore the blame?"
"My dear, then I will serve."
"You must sit down," says Love, "and taste my meat."
So I did sit and eat.


Freezer said...

I'm looking forward to class on Monday. The reading has been really rich.

Tara said...

Thanks for this Jon. I find easter (like many other significant spiritual occassions) being swallowed up in my daily life these days and I appreciated the reminder of its importance.

Plus it sounded very intelligent for a guy who can't figure out what time school starts either :) So glad we aren't the only ones!

matthew a. wilkinson said...

I don't know if this is good theology or not, but personally I wish the protestant Church would put a little more emphasis on its rituals; communion being the most obvious. I always found communion to be an incredibly rewarding event.

Coutts said...

communion is the presence of Christ where our words fail. it is powerful and wonderful.