Eucharist 2

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					Our Eucharist
The NT Evidence and the Early Church

From the last session …
   Starting point:
    •    The Kingdom of God

   Open table hospitality
   Prophetic gestures / dramas
   Interpretation of his death in a
    Passover context (NB)
•   Jeremiah: the almond tree and the pot
                - Jer :1:11-14
•    Prophetic Gestures
    Jeremiah: the waistcloth hidden by the Euphrates   - Jer
•   Jeremiah: the potter
                           - Jer 18:1-12
•   Jeremiah: the jug
                                   - Jer 19
•   Jeremiah: the figs
                                   - Jer 24
•   Jeremiah: the yoke
                                   - Jer 27-28
•   Jeremiah: buying the field
                        - Jer 32
•   Ezekiel makes a model of Jerusalem
                - Ezek 4:1-3
•   Ezekiel: the rationed food
• NT examples
   Prophetic Gestures
• The cursing of the fig tree - Mt 21:18-18 ||s
• The prophecy of Agabus - Acts 21:10-14
• The Baptism by John
• The Call of the Twelve       Acts 21:10 While we were staying there for
                               several days, a prophet named Agabus

• Open Table Fellowship        came down from Judea. 11 He came to us
                               and took Paul‟s belt, bound his own feet

• The Healings and Exorcisms
                               and hands with it, and said, “Thus says the
                               Holy Spirit, „This is the way the Jews in
                               Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this

• Taking of a Little Child     belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.‟”
                               12 When we heard this, we and the people
                               there urged him not to go up to Jerusalem.

• The Entry into Jerusalem     13 Then Paul answered, “What are you
                               doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For

• The Temple Action
                               I am ready not only to be bound but even to
                               die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord
                               Jesus.”     14 Since he would not be

• The Last Supper
                               persuaded, we remained silent except to
                               say, “The Lord‟s will be done.”
     Prophetic Gestures
•“A loaf that is singular is made plural by the breaking but is
then consumed so that the single loaf is made present in many
different people. “This is my body” means that myself is
distributed among you to continue my existence and activity in
plurality, not simply in the upper room, but on the larger scale,
throughout the world and throughout history. …
•“Receiving the bread means becoming with others the body of
Christ on earth, nothing less; sharing the responsibility for
making God present among men and women on the modern
world just as Jesus did within the limits of Galilee.”

•David Stacey, “The Lord‟s Supper as Prophetic Drama”, pp. 90 and 95
          A step further
   Memorial – ZIKKRON or
•    Passover, Christian Eucharist
   NB: Passover is used in the NT to
    describe the death of Jesus from
    quite early on (e.g. Paul)
   Combined with Prophetic Gesture
What was going on in Corinth?

   How many Christians in Corinth?
   Where did they meet?
   The reassertion of social
   Some kind of exclusion – either
    division during the supper or else
    eating ahead so some don’t get
St Paul and
A Triclinium
          The Tradition
•1Cor. 11:23 For I received from the Lord what I
also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on
the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of
bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he
broke it and said, “This is my body that is for
you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the
same way he took the cup also, after supper,
saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my
blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in
remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat
this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the
Lord’s death until he comes.
Recognising the Body
•1Cor. 11:27 Whoever, therefore, eats the
bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an
unworthy manner will be answerable for the
body and blood of the Lord. 28 Examine
yourselves, and only then eat of the bread and
drink of the cup. 29 For all who eat and drink
without discerning the body, eat and drink
judgement against themselves. 30 For this
reason many of you are weak and ill, and some
have died. 31 But if we judged ourselves, we
would not be judged. 32 But when we are
judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that
we may not be condemned along with the
  Message for today…
1. Community dimension of the Eucharist
2. Breaking down societal barriers as gospel
3. Recognising the people to whom I belong
4. When this is missing, what is the
5. Cannot receive the Lord in the bread and
   wine and ignore him equally present in
   your neighbour
6. The teaching of Paul is exactly consistent
   with Jesus‟ own teaching
Deus Caritas Est §14
Faith, worship and ethos are interwoven as a single reality
which takes shape in our encounter with God‟s agape. Here
the usual contraposition between worship and ethics simply
falls apart.
“Worship” itself, Eucharistic communion, includes the reality
both of being loved and of loving others in turn.
A Eucharist which does not pass over into the concrete
practice of love is intrinsically fragmented.
Conversely, as we shall have to consider in greater detail
below, the “commandment” of love is only possible because
it is more than a requirement. Love can be “commanded”
because it has first been given.
     What about John‟s
•   There are two issues to deal with:
(a) Why is there not Lord‟s supper at the
    Last Supper (John 13)?
(b) What is the real subject of John 6 -
    the Eucharist or the person of
                John 13
1. Offered as a prophet gesture
2. Replaces the Lord‟s Supper
3. Interprets the death of Jesus
4. Sets an example of service rooted in the “lifting
   up” of Jesus
•   Why the drastic substitution?
•   I.e. what was going on the community that this
    was necessary?
                       John 6
1.   John 6 is very like a sequence in Mark‟s Gospel

2.   There is a teaching on the Eucharist

3.   The primary emphasis is faith in Jesus

4.   Literal eating is dismissed (misunderstanding + Johannine irony)

5.   The passage is about faith and Eucharist, but is not about the
     (sacramental) “Real Presence”

6.   Relationship between John 13 and John 6

•    Why was this teaching necessary?
Synthesis from the NT
•    What did not happen:
1.   No treatise on the Eucharist in the NT
        •    nearest is in John’s gospel (ch.6)
        •    and 1Cor 11.
2.   No clue as to who leads the celebration
3.   No ordination - a later development
4.   No “ordo” (except for the institution narrative)
•    [12 Apostles (men) symbolise the 12 Tribes / sons of
Synthesis from the NT
•   What did happen:

1. Obviously important: Synoptics, John,
   Acts, Paul, Hebrews
2. Communities ate and told the narrative
3. Called: breaking of bread / Lord’s
   Supper (i.e. not Eucharist yet)
Synthesis from the NT
• From Jesus himself
1. Table fellowship;
2. Prophetic gesture;
3. Interpretation of his death / resurrection;
4. Passover context (at least) i.e. communion
   and sacrifice;
5. Liberation and community (freedom + identity)
 Synthesis from the NT

• From the early Christian communities
1. breaking of bread - i.e. social aspects /
   washing of feet;
2. recognising the body - i.e. who we are;
3. sense of the Risen Lord with us
4. and communicating with us and calling us;
5. use of bread and wine.
Byzantium (sanctuaries and altar rails)
Middle Ages (dramatic performance)
Real Presence (theology / legends)
Atonement, sacrifice, purgatory,
indulgences…Anselm of Canterbury

Reformation challenges
1. Altar rails (cf. Avdat)
2. Sanctuaries
3. Vestments
4. Court ceremonial

• How far are we from the New Testament?
           Middle Ages
1. Mass as allegory or symbolic drama
2. Extra-liturgical devotions (and
3. Bread and wine + transubstantiation
4. “Sacrificing priests” + “Chantry priests”
5. Private devotions added - and still today.
•   How far are we from the New Testament?
The End