Stirred not Shaken

May 14, 2010

Eucharist

Filed under: Uncategorized — Debs @ 7:25 pm

To take literally or not take literally, that is the question… 🙂

John 6:30-31 says “30So they asked him, “What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31Our forefathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”

This begins a formal conversation that took place in Capernaum.  The Jews asking Jesus what sign he was able to perform so that they would believe in Him.  They gave Him a bit of a challenge reminding Him that “our forefathers ate the manna in the desert”  How was He gonna top that one?

Vs. 32-33 “32Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

They wanted this “bread” in which Christ repied “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”….at this point the Jews understood this as a metaphor.  But in reading further, Christ repeats what He said, then summarized in vs. 51 “51I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

Now they understood him literally… He again repeats his words, with a greater emphasis and introduced about drinking His blood.  He made no attempt to soften what He says, or correct misunderstandings.  So if they HAD misunderstood Him, why is there no correction?  I find other occasions such as Matthew 16:5-12 where when there was confusion, He explained what He meant.   Yet here, where any kind of misunderstanding about this could be fatal in the walk of a believer, there was no effort to correct them, He only repeated Himself with a greater emphasis.

In the Catholic Church, they take John 6 literally.  With all of my nosing around, I can find no record from the early centuries, that would imply Christians doubted the Catholic interpretation.  The transformation that is believed to take place to my understanding is a spiritual one, not a physical one… just like many other aspects of the Christian walk, so why would the literal interpretation of this scripture be wrong?  I don’t believe it is.  Many, many times I have heard that this is re-sacrificing Christ… another myth… another post.. 🙂

Advertisements

26 Comments

  1. Carl, yes, the focus IS on Christ I assure you…. peace to you too bro

    Ric: I would love to hear your thoughts on my latest question… it’s something I have been thinking on, praying on today. I think in summarizing what you have said, it would be, do we do it God’s way or ours… with 30,000 denominations doing it their way, and all of them different and saying it’s God’s way… well, I just don’t find that in scripture….

    Steve: I’ll go first… I have a problem with the “who” in authority and why they have that authority. Recently alot of that has been cleared up, and getting clearer…. “Contrary to perception, the local Baptist minister can (and does) give himself much more authority than the priest across the street.” Gotta agree… I’m not sure how anyone could dispute this statement…

    Comment by Debs — May 21, 2010 @ 4:16 pm

  2. It seems to me that the objection is not to someone having authority, but someone having authority over ME. It seems like there is no problem with the job description of a priest, only that we can’t all declare ourself a priest whenever we wish. Sometimes it seems the same with the Pope. We don’t really have a problem with someone declaring what the Bible means, we just want every local pastor – or every believer- to have that authority. But that would be (as demonstrated throughout Protestantism) a recipe for chaos.
    Truth is we need shepherds. And Truth is shepherds need someone to train them and supervise them that they are doing the job. And the truth is that if you cannot submit to human authority you are incapable of submitting to God. That is why so many try to reform God into THEIR image and likness. That way it is very easy to “submit” to him. And that way no one has a right to tell them they are wrong.

    So let’s be honest with each other. The problem isn’t authority, it’s who has it. Some people don’t like any response other than ME. Contrary to perception, the local Baptist minister can (and does) give himself much more authority than the priest across the street.

    Comment by Willison — May 21, 2010 @ 9:58 am

  3. I was thinking about CK’s observation

    In many ways to me the Catholic denomination exalt their priesthood to this level, by setting apart acts that can only be performed by them.

    … (to which you, Deb, respond already).

    Protestant denominations and evangelical churches have this same phenomenon taking place.

    I think it has less to do with the setting apart of communion (although it may contribute to it) and much more to do with our human nature. We crave kings. So we appoint kings and blindly follow. In extreme cases, cult leaders. Less extreme, but still disturbing, prosperity gospel preachers. And as much of an extreme, but for some reason socially acceptable, senior pastors who cannot be challenged or questioned.

    In our church we have pastors, elders, and mentors. The title is different but the exalting effect is the same, often to the displeasure of the pastors. Examples of this are hinted at in requests for the pastor to pray for or over me/us, as in “Will you pray for us, please.” To which, George often responds with, “Well, I’ll pray WITH you.” George resists being exalted but many in the church insist upon him to be exalted.

    I think all our earthly organizations fall into this same soup sooner or later. We will have our kings.

    Comment by ric booth — May 21, 2010 @ 5:37 am

  4. Call a priest Father? Sure…It is not the title, it is the intention of the heart and where does the focus lie.

    In reference to: “I don’t recall that ever being said…” Not you or any one here directly, …Sorry was not my intention.

    As always, my focus is on Christ and the direct free access to him. If a person sees Christ though whatever denomination and denominational practice I will not stand in the way ether, as long as the focus is on Christ.

    With that… PEACE and all the love of Christ.

    Comment by ckroboth — May 21, 2010 @ 5:30 am

  5. We were discussing if it was ok to call a priest Father… I believe it is… and have shown why scripturally. That is no longer being addressed so I assume you agree?

    “In many ways to me the Catholic denomination exalt their priesthood to this level, by setting apart acts that can only be performed by them.” And I’m saying in any denomination God uses different people for different things, which you cannot do… is that exalting them? No, it is God fulfilling His purposes through them. Priests are chosen by God to fulfill certain duties in the Church… they are NOT worshipped or exalted by the Catholic people. ” Just don’t tell me that the Priest has to be there for me to have access to Christ.” I don’t recall that ever being said…

    Comment by Debs — May 21, 2010 @ 5:15 am

  6. “Is that exalting man or God? ”

    God working through man is completely different, and I get that. God works through me everyday.

    What I am saying is the Catholic teachings of it can only be a Catholic Priest that can perform certain duties of the church that exalts the Priest above me. Does that mean I am not allowed to break bread with other believers in my home in remembrance of Christ?

    Right God can and does use Priest’s everyday, and if a person sees and finds Christ through the actions of God working through a Priest then OK. Just don’t tell me that the Priest has to be there for me to have access to Christ.

    Comment by ckroboth — May 21, 2010 @ 5:01 am

  7. I thought about this last night.. as I was going to sleep.

    I should say that my example of the Catholic church and exalting it’s clergy is just than an example, and was used because that is the nature of these posts. I see it in many other denominations that set their ministers and pastors up on pedestals.

    At the core of all of this as I always say is can you find Christ. The intention of the heart is more important than any denominational practice. So I look for the focus, is it Christ and Christ alone?

    Deb’s… A book you may want to look into is Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard. He brings much of what is discussed here into the focus of God’s Kingdom among us, and that we as Disciples draw on the power of his Son from that presence. And that is what gives us the free access to be the Priesthood of believers.

    Peace and Love Sis

    Comment by ckroboth — May 21, 2010 @ 4:53 am

  8. Carl… I respectfully disagree… 🙂

    In Chapter 23, vs. 2 & 3 Christ confirms the authority of the Old Covenant Church. Then He goes on to state His major theme, which was the hypocrisy of the religious leaders of the day in 3 & 4. He is then speaking in vs. 4-7 to contrast the Old Covenant Church leadership, and what He expects from His church leaders in 8-12. The scribes and Pharisees were not doing things to help God’s people, it was to make them look good. They wanted the places of honor and demanded titles of respect…. The New Covenant leaders were not to seek after titles which is what vs. 8-10 are about. The crux of the rest of the chapter is an attack on the hypocrisy of the scribes and Pharisees. Christ wants His Church to open and not shut the doors of the Kingdom. How does not calling some one a Rabbi, Father or Teacher effect that? It doesn’t… so why did He say it?….

    Catholics believe that Priests are spiritual fathers, and because of this fact may be referred to by the title of father… What does the Bible say? In 11 Kings 2:12, we see Elisha calling Elijah “My Father, My Father”… King Aram considered Elisha his spiritual father in 11 Kings 8:9… God Himself tells the Israelites “Look to Abraham your father” in Isaiah 51:2. There are many other examples… My opinion on this, is that He was simply using hyperbole to make His point as He often did… Ignoring scriptures lik 1 Corinthians while trying to make this point, just can’t happen. Peter, Paul and John all referred to people as their spiritual sons and children… and because the Bible frequently speaks of spiritual fatherhood, Catholics acknowledge it and follow the custom of the apostles by calling priests “Father”.

    “In many ways to me the Catholic denomination exalt their priesthood to this level, by setting apart acts that can only be performed by them.” I just don’t believe this to be true. They believe God works through the priests the same way Protestants believe that when one lays hands on someone for healing and God uses them. Is that exalting man or God? If God works through the priests, it is His choice to do so, and I for one am not willing to tell Him He can’t… 😉 Not believing He does because it’s too “Catholic” to me is wrong thinking…

    Comment by Debs — May 21, 2010 @ 4:51 am

  9. LOL… yup… everyone gets moderated 😉 Unfortunately I hadta love you too, and will answer in the morning… 🙂

    Comment by Debs — May 20, 2010 @ 8:23 pm

  10. Moderation huh… Gee thanks… 😉

    I kid of course. Love ya sis

    Comment by ckroboth — May 20, 2010 @ 7:57 pm

  11. OK for you Debs…. 😉

    The key is the heart and focus…Is it on Christ and his presence among us? What rewards are being sought by and given to ministers. Christ is directly teaching against the Pharesitical(hypocritical) thanking of those who were put or put themselves in positions of righteousness. The desire to be seen by the world, as opposed to God alone.

    In many ways to me the Catholic denomination exalt their priesthood to this level, by setting apart acts that can only be performed by them. It is that level that Jesus is teaching about in Matt 23… As Disciples of Christ, who He ordains, we have access to all things in Him.

    We as his believers in him Serve out of a natural order of being in the presence of God. Not to be exalted or set apart from other believers.

    As always… You are deeply loved by God.

    Peace and Love Sis

    Comment by ckroboth — May 20, 2010 @ 7:50 pm

  12. CK… you can’t say “this is it” then say something like this… 🙂 You’re either willing to discuss or not…

    Here are my thoughts on this…

    First of all, the entire context of this verse should be through vs. 12 if not the whole chapter. If you read the entire chapter in context Christ is actually doing a couple of things… identifying authorities, explaining a proper response to authority in general, condemning acts of pride and selfishness committed by those in authority, and preparing the crowd for the New Covenant…. In 23:9 Christ says “And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven” to which people automatically go to, not calling a priest Father.. but to be fair, you may never call your Dad Father either right? Whoops… I better start repenting cause I do all the time… The problem is, if you look at 1 John 2:13, Acts 7:2 or 22:1 calling the Apostles and their successors “Father” was common in the early Christian Church.

    When people call a priest Father it in no way has the same status as our Heavenly Father… and it in no way diminishes God’s “Fatherhood”. If you look at 1 Corinthians 4:15, Paul being inspired by the Holy Spirit says “For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the Gospel.” Paul calls himself “father” because he recognizes his cooperation with God in begetting the spiritual life of a community that was entrusted to his care. Look at the other scriptures that I listed, which show the title “father” was applied to others besides God in the New Testament. So I’m not sure why such a big deal is made of calling priests father but it is acceptable to call our biological father, Father. In both circumstances we need to understand that the men in these situations are under the Fatherhood of God….. and they would be the first to tell you so.

    Comment by Debs — May 20, 2010 @ 7:09 pm

  13. My final thought on this discussion.

    I often wonder how man ordained ministers deal with this teaching from Christ:

    Matt 23:8-11
    8 “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. 9 And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, the Christ. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

    Comment by ckroboth — May 20, 2010 @ 6:43 pm

  14. In our denomination, in the written instructions and procedures only an “Ordained Elder” (Pastor usually) can “administer communion. Lay people can assist, help pass out the elements, but the Ordained Elder must be in charge/the overseer. This is a very sacred time and should be done in that tone.

    Comment by Indian Lake Papa — May 20, 2010 @ 6:50 am

  15. Not saying there aren’t rules and law.. That our access to how they are full-filled is different… We have free access to God among us right now through the spirit. Our fulliment of the Law is now out of an understanding that God dwells with us all the time, our actions come from a loving the way he taught us to love. Not by checking off any List, man made especially.

    By saying it has to be a Priest for communion puts a man between me and God. Sorry… just can not put any Pope, Cardinal, Bishop, Priest, or any Man(All are fallible) between that which I have been given free access to. That is one of the main reasons I left the Catholic Church, because I was told I didn’t when scripture says I do… The veil is gone.. The Holy of Hollies is open…

    2 Cor 3: 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

    Eph3:12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

    Rev 1:5-7 To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, 6 and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.

    And according to the entire book of Hebrews, Christ is The one and only High Priest…

    Again…No man made denomination has a hold on what is the right way to do things in Christ’s Church…

    OK… I am done… If I don’t I could go on forever…

    Peace and all the love of Christ to you all.

    Comment by ckroboth — May 18, 2010 @ 1:21 pm

  16. CK, you’re close. Absolutely right that Christ changes the bread, not the priest. But he uses the priest so you and I can watch and witness it happen.
    So why does he only use a priest? Because it’s important. Because it should be done right. And by using priests and bishops only the Church has a better safeguard to make sure it is done correctly and respectfully.
    Why is it limited? Because in addition to be a sacrament (for which we need to be properly prepared) it is a sign of communio. Of unity. So if we are not united we should not pretend we are. If I have broken from God through sin, I should not pretend to be united to him either. Paul also taught that anyone who eats or drinks unworthily eats and drinks judgment upon himself – so clearly Paul did not think it should be available to anyone who wants it.
    These aren’t our rules, they’re God’s. If you think that the coming of Jesus means there no longer any rules at all – I disagree.

    Comment by Willison — May 18, 2010 @ 10:57 am

  17. I can support a spiritual representation of the body and blood of Christ in the bread and wine. And his Word is our Bread of life, just as he is the living water. With the woman at the well he wastalking about a spiritual thirst that only He could quench. Just like the spiritual hunger can only be filled by His word.

    But I never got the connection of “Do this in remembrance”, and the understanding of transubstantiation.

    Even growing up Catholic I never understood the Spiritual “change” transubstantiation of the bread and wine to Flesh and Blood. I don’t mean to sound flip when I say this, but we as humans don’t have the same power to manipulate matter that Jesus did.

    John6:26 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.

    John 6:26 is often used as proof that Christ has power over the properties of matter, and he does we don’t. To me, that is why he says “Do this in remembrance” In other words communion and breaking of bread and wine becomes a time to remember his Sacrifice.

    Plus, then the Catholic teaching of who administers Communion, and how it is protected by the tabernacle flies in the face of the Acts 2 church that broke Bread together, and our free access to Christ through the Spirit. Then in Colossians where we are told:

    Col 2:20-23 Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: 21″Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

    I try and find where Christ tells us who can administer communion and who can’t and I find it no where. Communion is an act of Christ’s church in community with each other to break bread and remember Christ.

    Comment by ckroboth — May 18, 2010 @ 4:54 am

  18. Ric: I know… I’m just one of those, that has to keep on keepin’ on til I get it. 🙂 God says I can, so why not?

    Comment by Debs — May 17, 2010 @ 4:36 pm

  19. I have read about the Eucharist before. I must admit, I do not understand it. I’m okay with that.

    Comment by ric booth — May 17, 2010 @ 3:18 pm

  20. Ed, no one WANTS to surrender their will. Yet about 1/4 of humans do it in the Christian format alone. So it begs the question why? It can’t be that all those people do it, some under threat of death or prison, just because someone said they should. I’m sure some do, but not most. It must be they have decided they get more out of surrendering it than clinging to it.
    And it makes sense. If their is a God who designed us, and he is loving not cruel, then his rules would be designed toward getting the most out of being human not the least. He knows what works – he made us.
    My experience is that doing it God’s way gives tremendous freedom and peace. Doing it my way (living for me) makes me miserable long term. It’s the great paradox of humanity: doing whatever you want makes you a slave. Limiting yourself sets you free. Try it.

    Comment by Willison — May 17, 2010 @ 10:34 am

  21. Ed: You know I love you, but it sounds as though you are making a list of requirements to God before you will believe Him. While He does meet every need of His people (even when it is not what we think is best or WHAT we need) He doesn’t perform on demand….

    God in His wisdom knows, that if prayer were just asking Him for what we want and He gives it to us, we would be banging away constantly at Heavens Gate for more of what we want with little attention to who He is. His purpose for prayer is for us to get to know who He is and His holiness, not to get Him to do our bidding….. ‘

    “For myself I would probably have to reach a state of hopelessness before I would seek out God again.” That kind of statement usually means one’s death bed… I truly hope you do not wait that long so that you can experience the fullness of life He intended you to have before that time….

    Comment by Debs — May 17, 2010 @ 6:22 am

  22. Willison and Deb, thanks for responding to my comment.

    You are right that when I was a young man I was looking for proof that God existed. I believed in God because everyone I know told me he existed. I prayed first because I was told to, and then because I wanted help. A secondhand belief in God is not likley to survive a test, and mine didin’t.

    I think I understand now that, if God does exist, he will choose to make his presence know to me, in his time, not mine. You could say that perhaps he could see that even in my prayers, in my heart, I had not fully(?), or adequately(?) been willing to surrendered my will to his.

    We develop faith in a source when it helps us. That is the experience of my Christian friends who were/are saved when they find/found God. In your hour of need he is there for you. You can have hope in the future.

    For myself I would probably have to reach a state of hopelessness before I would seek out God again. The real stumbling block may be my unwillingness to surrendered my will to anyone, based on my experiences in life, at least to whatever degree I have control over my life.

    Comment by edfromct — May 16, 2010 @ 10:09 pm

  23. Ed, what you are asking for is proof of God. Although God has not given us “proof”, there is enough evidence in the world for people to believe in Him. Romans 1:20 says, “Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities…have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made.”
    So the question then becomes, if the evidence is so plain to see, why doesn’t everyone believe in God?” But first, I want to tell you that consciously or unconsciously, everyone has a bias against God. None of us want to stand before a perfect and good God and realize how far we have fallen short of the standard. There is a part in all of us, both Christian and non-Christian, that wants to reject God, the same way that there is a part in all of us that wants to do good.
    The problem with the whole line of thought though is that God wants a relationship built on trust, not proof. Even if God provided proof that was satisfactory to everyone, faith and trust would still be required to follow God. Your question would just change from “Why doesn’t God prove his existence?” to “Why doesn’t God explain why he did this and not that?” You, if he did prove Himself to you, would become theist, but not necessarily a Christian. Someone can easily believe God exists without believing He’s worthy of worship, or that Christ’s death atoned for our sins.
    God wants us to trust Him, not just believe He exists. If our every demand for proof and explanation were satisfied, we’d only trust and follow God to the extent that he proved Himself to us. We would be relying on the external evidence and our own judgment of it, not actually trusting God. For us to actively trust God, we have to continue in our belief even when what we believe in isn’t proven. Whether it is with a person or God, trust requires a deeper relationship with the one trusted.
    Aside from the fact that He owes us absolutely nothing and has given us plenty of evidence as it is, to a Christ follower, believing IS seeing…
    John 20:29 “Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

    Comment by Debs — May 16, 2010 @ 8:14 pm

  24. Ed, I think your experience is common among people who have abandoned a religious belief regardless of the style. Emotions are Great but they are also so fickle. Misunderstandings can make people fall in and out of love quicker than actual facts ever do. Con artists can only exist because people trust their gut more than what they see. And we all miss out on many things because “once bitten twice shy” is absolutely true.
    But maybe your experience can also show us something of the reality of God.
    If an omnipotent being exists who wants us to seek him and love him, then he would have to strike a balance between being too easy and too hard. If everyone, without effort, could see and experience a perfect loving God, take photos of him, have him over dinner, etc. It would be impossible to NOT believe. and where there is no option, there is no love. At the same time if it were impossible to encounter him in any way, then it would be, well, impossible. So like our relationships with humans, fireworks are great but they are not (cannot be) always present. Sometimes we are just doing the laundry.
    So let’s say this God also has an enemy, who wants us all to NOT love God. Wouldn’t our own emotions be his most effective tool? Wouldn’t artificial expectations be job one for him?

    Comment by Willison — May 16, 2010 @ 5:11 pm

  25. Communion has always been a very special time. It is a good time to “examine’ your heart and look at your relationship to Christ. He gave His life, shed His blood to die for our sins.

    Comment by Indian Lake Papa — May 16, 2010 @ 12:47 pm

  26. My understanding is the same as yours, that the transformation that is believed to take place is meant to be spiritual one. For Catholics it is one of their most sacred moments.

    MY first, and last, Communion was a turning point my religious life, I was 14. I joined my father’s Catholic Church, after my Protestant mother died. I still believed God existed, and I very badly wanted to have my own connection to him. I worked hard at my catechism lessons, driving my poor priest instructor crazy with questions. I confessed my sins, and prayed very day, and night.

    I did not know what exactly I expected, in the moment when the Priest placed the wafer in my mouth, as I prayed, just to be “moved” in some way, to feel God’s presence. Feeling nothing was one of the most disappointing moments in my young life. I was just a wafer, not bread transformed into “the flesh of a god.” I did continue to pray and try to reach out to God for several more years, but in retrospect I think my “disbelief” in God began at that moment.

    For Communion to be that very spiritual moment I think God, if he exist, must have already made his presence know to you, so that in that moment you are free to just experience it.

    Comment by edfromct — May 15, 2010 @ 2:39 pm


RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: