Monday, August 17, 2009

Table of joy

Ray Van Neste takes issue with the idea that the Lord's Supper is somehow supposed to be a gloomy event with a lot of sin and death but not much else. Here's Rayon 1 Corinthians 11 and the idea of remembering Christ's death:
Very often people do in fact approach the Lord’s table in this way, focusing exclusively on the tragedy of Christ’s death. The sense is that the purpose of this exercise is for us to focus on our sin, to remember afresh the depth of our wickedness and how much this cost God. It is almost as if God is that mother who constantly reminds the family how much she has suffered for everyone and wants to make sure you never forget it! But this most certainly is not the point Paul is making. . . .Yes, the table proclaims Christ’s death, but not simply- or even primarily- the tragedy of His death. Notice the point is that this is “proclamation.” Elsewhere in the New Testament what is being proclaimed when Christ’s death is in view? It is not tragedy, but hope! It is the fact that the death of Christ has made possible the forgiveness of sin, reconciliation with God, transference from being enemies of God to being children of God! What is proclaimed is good news, the gospel. We do wrong when our participation in communion is some sort of self-flagellating focus on tragedy. We do not gather to tell God we’re sorry He had to go through this. We are reminded of our sin, and the length to which the love of God went, but the focus is celebrating the grace of God and giving thanks to God for his amazing grace.
I've noticed the same thing. Christians, of course, ought to remember the suffering and death of our Savior. But how can we possibly remember the cross without remembering the empty tomb?


Blogger Bob Spencer said...

Totally agree. It's a celebratory meal. Remembering Jesus, reminded of our oneness in Him because of the cross, recalling that he conquered death and that therefore we live, how can it not be a celebration? I would suggest that the odd little wafers and tiny plastic cups of grape juice don't exactly scream celebrate! We who want so much to do things like the 1st century church don't seem to mind doing this quite differently than they did.

4:55 AM, August 18, 2009  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

Amen. I agree.

8:05 AM, August 18, 2009  
Blogger Flyawaynet said...

I suppose I've always had a difficult time with the cross.
I watched "The Passion of the Christ" and for a week straight the slightest thing sent me to tears.
When you tell me to focus on the bread, Jesus body, and the wine, Jesus' blood - I do. And I remember his death.
For me it's utterly sober, thankful tears, and whispers of gratitude that He was willing to endure so much for us.

The rest of the time I celebrate the empty tomb.

10:17 AM, August 18, 2009  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

I understand. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Jeanette, and for adding to the discussion. Peace.

3:09 PM, August 18, 2009  

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