Meditation and Reflection

Maundy Thursday: the Church divided and united by the Eucharistic mystery

Bread and wine, broken and poured out. Was ever so much distress, division and human misery caused by a supper? Is it flesh and blood, or isn’t it? Jesus in a wafer? Seriously? Is it a memorial of sacrifice or a sacramental recreation? Do the elements actually change? Are they indwelt or dwelt with and under? Is Jesus present but not in? Transubstantiation, consubstantiation or transignification? Spiritual presence but not literal? Heresy, blasphemy or divinely-instituted orthodoxy?

What a mess.

For Calvin, the institution of the Supper was Christ’s ‘seal’ of his sermon in John 6, and he termed it a ‘mystical union’. Calvin believed that there is a real ‘spiritual’ reception of the body and blood of Christ in the Supper. The sacrament is a real means of grace – a channel by which Christ communicates himself. Luther and Calvin agreed that communion with a present Christ who actually feeds believers with his body and blood is what makes the sacrament. The question between them was the manner in which Christ’s body exists and is given to believers. Calvin held that, while Christ is bodily in heaven, distance is overcome by the Holy Spirit, who vivifies believers with Christ’s flesh. Thus the Supper is a true communion with Christ, who feeds believers with his body and blood. Calvin’s view of the Lord’s Supper appears to be a median position between the views of Luther and Zwingli, but it is in fact an independent position. Rejecting both Zwingli’s ‘memorialism’ and Luther’s ‘monstrous notion of ubiquity’, he held that there is a real reception of the body and blood of Christ in the Supper, but in a spiritual manner. With Zwingli, Calvin held that after the ascension Christ retained a real body which is located in heaven:

Nothing should be taken from Christ’s ‘heavenly glory’, as happens when he is brought under the corruptible elements of this world, or bound to any earthly creatures… Nothing inappropriate to human nature (should) be ascribed to his body, as happens when it is said either to be infinite or to be put in a number of places at once.

Calvin rejected the doctrine of the absorption of Christ’s humanity by his divinity, and any weakening of the idea of a local presence of the flesh of Christ in heaven. The Supper is a true communion with Christ, who feeds believers with his body and blood.

…in the sacred Supper, we acknowledge a miracle which surpasses both the limits of nature and the measure of our sense… But we must have done with all inventions inconsistent with the explanation lately given, such as the ubiquity of the body, the secret inclosing under the symbol of bread, and the substantial presence on earth.

Calvin held that the essence of Christ’s body was its power. In itself it is of little value since it ‘had its origin from earth, and underwent death’, but the Holy Spirit, who gave Christ a body, communicates his power to believers so that they receive the whole Christ in communion. The difference from Luther here is not great, for he held that the ‘right hand of God’ to which Christ ascended meant God’s power, and that power is everywhere. The real difference lay in the present existence of Christ’s body. Both agreed that there is deep mystery which can be accepted though not understood:

If anyone should ask me how this (partaking of the whole Christ) takes place, I shall not be ashamed to confess that it is a secret too lofty for either my mind to comprehend or my words to declare… I rather experience than understand it.

But here’s a thing..

Before Islamists detonate their pew bombs, rape Christian girls, sell their mothers into slavery or crucify and behead their fathers, they don’t ask, “Are with with Luther, Zwingli, Calvin or the Pope?” No, you follow the Nazarene; you are all one body, and so you must die. No division, no distinction, no mystery at all.

  • Irene’s Daughter

    Do this in REMEMBRANCE of me! That is – so that we don’t forget. Nothing more is meant by it. Just a simple aide memoire.

    • Arden Forester

      Nothing more is meant by it? I find it hard to fathom anyone thinking Christ’s Sacrifice on the Cross is rendered down to just a short period of remembrance.

      • Don Benson

        ‘I find it hard to fathom anyone thinking Christ’s Sacrifice on the Cross is rendered down…’

        That’s a very strange thing to say. Remembering an event (or not doing so) cannot alter that event in any way, but it can certainly affect those who do so. Christ’s sacrifice was offered ‘once, for all’. It was the greatest event ever for mankind and it happened at one single point in history, perfect, sufficient, never to be repeated (or extended).

        So the Lord’s Supper was instituted by Jesus as the new Passover for the disciples – his designated way of how the earth shattering events that were about to happen should be remembered – and so it remains our way of doing so too. And the point of remembering Passover is not that the original event ever needs repeating, nor that the food involved is what sustains us (the first Passover meal was not repeated for ongoing sustenance either, God provided manna for that); it is that we never forget the enormity of our deliverance. And in publicly taking the bread and the wine we are identifying ourselves as those who are Christ’s followers – that covenant applies to all of us who believe too.

        But our spiritual sustenance comes from the word of God, and it is by hearing and receiving that for ourselves that we grow as Christians. When Jesus said, ‘this is my body’ and ‘this is my blood in the new covenant’ it could only have been understood by the disciples as metaphor because his real body and blood were right there and it was not what he was giving them. Metaphors are an aid to communication of an idea but if we push them beyond the one idea (over applying it) we end up misleading ourselves and others.

        But saying that the Lord’s Supper is about remembrance in no way implies that it can be treated lightly, to do so would be to deny the eternal significance and the divine cost of Christ’s sacrifice – and that is a very serious thing (hence St Paul’s warning). And I’m sure that, whatever our own emphases may be, we are all at least united in humble thanks for the cross and the greatest of joy for resurrection day.

        • Coniston

          It is true that the Lord’s Supper is an act of remembrance, as commanded. But it is also much more than that – also as commanded.

  • Anton

    Quite. I offer Communion to all believers in my home during certain meals, and I take it wherever the person presiding permits me to (regardless of denomination).

    • 1649again

      Likewise at our church. It’s the Christian thing to do.

  • The Explorer

    Billy Budd is taken from a merchantman ‘The Rights of Man’ and pressed into the Royal Navy. He says, “Goodbye, rights of man.” When he is court-martialled for striking an officer, this becomes evidence. But what was he doing: criticising the tyranny of the navy, or simply saying good-bye to his old ship?

    The fiasco of the Light Brigade involved confusion over which hill was meant to be charged.

    Human language is fraught with ambiguity, and we experience the consequences daily. Insofar as the Bible is a human text, we experience the problem there as well. I wish it were not so, but our doctrinal divisions – communion (or whatever we call it). the meaning of the Millennium, women priests, the fate of the unevangelised – tell me otherwise.

  • CliveM

    Somethings are just a mystery, but human arrogance won’t accept that. We believe that we must “know”. If God exists (and I believe he does), how can we ever fully understand him? It is folly and arrogance to believe we can.

    Personally I believe that good bible based arguments can be made for all the different understandings regarding the Mass, Communion, Lords Supper, or whatever your tradition calls it. A bit more humility is needed on this (and many other) subjects.

    • Anton

      Exactly. By using fallible human reasoning to seek answers to questions about the Trinity and about HOW Christ was both human and divine, needless division has come about between Christians. These are matters that are utterly beyond human reason and if we have not been told in scripture, ie by God himself, then firm answers should not be required of Christians as a matter of faith. Because of such divisions the church in Egypt was divided when a fairly small invading army of the first Muslims came through. How different might history have been?

      • CliveM

        Absolutely. Arguing over what can’t be fully understand has caused immense damage. I find reading the history of the early church very difficult as you can see the damage being done and where it ended up.

        Remember also, people are still being martyred because of these mistakes and arrogance.

        • Martin
          • CliveM

            Martin

            Thank you for the link, I will look at it.

          • carl jacobs

            I learned a lot from James White, Clive. Met him in 2004. He was my bridge into apologetics.

          • CliveM

            Well I’m on holiday from tonight for a week, it’ll give me something constructive to do.

          • Anton

            Martin: Have you read Nick Needhams’s 4-volume (and counting) church history, 2000 Years of Christ’s Power? It is scholarly yet easy to read as how began to write it for trainee congregation leaders in Africa after finding that all church histories were either dry-as-dust and politicised or fanatically narrow. A superlative tale of the Body of Christ down the centuries.

          • Martin

            Anton

            James recommends those books, sadly it’s beyond my my budget at the moment, although I’ve just found a secondhand vol 1 for £3.50 on Amazon!

            Mostly I prefer Kindle, where I can adjust the font to my eyes.

          • Anton

            Printed books don’t run out of battery and are still readable after being dropped!

          • Martin

            Anton

            But the fonts are fixed and they are heavier.

          • Anton

            That’s true inside my parish church too!

          • Martin

            Anton

            As a Baptist, I have no need for a font, it’s far too small.

      • “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth … “

  • I’m from Barcelona

    Proverbs 9:10

  • Jon Sorensen

    There is no “Eucharistic mystery”. You can investigate if transubstantiation is real or not. It’s been done. Move on…

    • carl jacobs

      Umm … Jon. It helps if you understand a subject before you comment on it. Here is a hint or two : accidents and substance.

      • Jon Sorensen

        And you are the expert in transubstantiation? LOOOOL

        • chefofsinners

          Laugh out out out out loud? You can get help for that stutter, Jon.

          • Jon Sorensen

            Maybe you are an expert in transubstantiation and tell us the truth about this “mystery”?

          • Dominic Stockford

            There’s no mystery, transubstantion is a philosophical nonsense.

          • mbtimoney

            The idea of transubstantiation is that the change is ontological not chemical or physical. I’m open to correction, but I know of no scientific assessment for ontological change, which would mean that, no, what is claimed in Catholicism hasn’t been investigated because it can’t be investigated as no way of investigating it exists.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Which is why I replied as I did below.

          • Jon Sorensen

            “The idea of transubstantiation is that the change is ontological not chemical or physical. ”
            That is just your opinion. My Christian claim it is physical

            “know of no scientific assessment for ontological change”
            So just ignore this magical claim now..

          • mbtimoney

            Actually, it’s what the Catholic Church says transubstantiation is. So, it’s your initial claim which was faulty. What you should have said is that “My acquaintance’s erroneous understanding of transubstantiation as a physical and chemical change has been tested and refuted.” What you can’t say is that what the Catholic Church actually believes about transubstantiation has been tested because it has not for the reasons I already pointed out – the change is at the level of substance or being which is an ontological change not a physical one. As for ignoring anything, I’m just giving you the fact that an ontological claim can’t be investigated scientifically. I’m not telling you to believe in transubstantiation or anything else. Mock it, deride it, mock those who believe in it if that makes you happy. I could not care less.

          • Jon Sorensen

            They didn’t teach me what you are claiming when I attended Catholic School. And the Church does not go debunking non-ontological claims you can regularly read in news article their priest claim. So maybe you should update your own “facts”?

          • mbtimoney

            Well perhaps I should return my MA in Catholic Theology that I earned last year on the basis of your memory of what you were taught in religion classes when you were a child. You can take it as an assured guarantee that you are wrong in your initial position that Catholicism claims that the change in transubstantiation is physical or chemical. If you don’t want to believe me, you can look through any number of documents on the Vatican website. You will not find one that supports your position.

          • Jon Sorensen

            I think I know what Catholic Church taught me. Catholic school I attended did not mention “ontology” once, but a physical change was taught. Just like many priests claim physical changes during Eucharist. Not hard to find it in a news. Some Catholics do believe and teach physical changes even if some document claim that the empirical appearance and physical properties are not changed.

          • mbtimoney

            No – you know what individual Catholics taught you. That is not the same as what the Catholic Church teaches. The fact that some Catholics believe that the change is physical just means that they don’t understand the ideas behind transubstantiation any better than you do. The fact that it has to do with substance/being rather than physics and chemistry is pretty much contained within the word “transubstantiation.” As I said before, you can quite freely look at the documents – there are lots of them – on the Vatican website. These will give you what the Catholic Church *actually* teaches rather than what people think it teaches. You will not find one document to support what you are claiming.

          • Jon Sorensen

            So you are saying that what Catholic Church run Catholic school taught was not what Catholic Church actually teaches?
            Surely you are not saying that they teach one thing and their “official” position is another. Surely not…

          • mbtimoney

            I’m saying people get things wrong or misunderstand and never bother to find out if what they think they know is actually what is true. Your teachers seemed to have done this, and you seem to be a case in point yourself.

          • Jon Sorensen

            You are incorrectly assuming that Catholic Church has only one position on this or other doctrines. They cater their message to the audience. Why wouldn’t they kick out “heretical” priests who teach physical changes like they taught to me? Or look at their “official” view on evolution; popes have endorsed Creationism, “Intelligent Project” and evolution. And they don’t point out that their evolution is not evolution via natural selection as science is. They have many “official” views. Or look at the back-pedaling of “Limbo” or geocentrism after they changed their views. I guess it would be naive to assume a single view or unchanging view….

          • mbtimoney

            You seem to equate theological opinion with doctrine. These are two different things. Limbo, views on evolution, etc. were/are theological opinions not doctrines. For example, limbo was a theological solution to the problem of the necessity of baptism for salvation. If you read the Catechism, which the history of our exchange seem to indicate that you won’t, you’ll see that the Catholic Church’s position on this is “we don’t know.” Transubtantiation, on the other hand, is a defined technical theological term. The understanding of what it is hasn’t change does since the time of Aquinas in the 13th century. However, I see that I am exchanging views with someone who seems unwilling to give up their self-proclaimed status as the world’s leading authority on Catholic theology, and frankly I have better things to do with my time that’s repeatedly bang my head against the brick wall of your stubbornness to open a book for fear that you might actually find out you don’t know as much as you are convinced that you do.

          • Jon Sorensen

            “theological opinion with doctrine.”
            Typical Catholic backpedaling. Whey Church taught Limbo they never added that this just an “option”. Now they have demoted it to “opinion”. Earthcentrisism is no long even “opinion”.

            I note that you didn’t address my point that they don’t only teach one position.

            Catholic Church school taught me that Transubtantiation is physical, yet you are upset that I don’t agree with you that that is not their view. Very strange.

            “The understanding of what it is hasn’t change does since the time of Aquinas in the 13th century.”
            So now you claim that it has changed. Religions change their views and claim unchanging position…

            “I see that I am exchanging views with someone who seems unwilling to give up their self-proclaimed status as the world’s leading authority on Catholic theology”
            You got upset that I don’t change my opinion while you yourself didn’t change your opinion. And your the one here who was boasting with “MA in Catholic Theology”….

          • mbtimoney

            It wasn’t a boast, it was a statement of fact – I do hold an MA in Catholic Theology. And as such, I have had the opportunity to research theology and come to a better understanding for my own benefit. You, on the other hand, are basing your position on what you remember from a religion class as a child.
            I’m not upset that you don’t believe as I do, or that you have no wish to correct your mistaken understanding of what transubstantiation. I could not care less. I am simply giving you the facts of the matter. If you wish to ignore them that’s your free choice. You have he right to your own opinion. You don’t have the right to your own facts. You don’t understand the Catholic theology of transubstantiation. I am simply pointing that out. That you can’t accept someone challenging your infallibility is entirely your own business.

          • Jon Sorensen

            “I am simply giving you the facts of the matter”
            I gave you the facts but you ignored them.

            “You don’t have the right to your own facts”
            No matter how many times you deny it, I got taught by Catholic Church that Eucharist is physical. That is reality, not “my own facts” like you incorrectly claim. Funny how you deny what actually happen to me.

            “You don’t understand the Catholic theology of transubstantiation”
            I think I do better than you. You deny what I got taught.

            I never claim that I’m “infallible” or “self-proclaimed world’s leading authority on Catholic theology”. Those claims only in your head. Again I note that you didn’t address my point that they don’t only teach one position.

          • mbtimoney

            I did address it. I told you that the people who taught you that were mistaken. You don’t want to accept that. Fair enough. Happy Easter.

          • Jon Sorensen

            The people who taught me that were mistaken. You don’t want to accept that. Fair enough. Happy Easter.

        • carl jacobs

          I am self-evidently more of an expert than you since I don’t attack Catholicism for what it doesn’t claim.

          • Jon Sorensen

            “attack”…. Poor Carl is feeling so attacked when his views are challenged. Religious people have such a Martyr complex.

          • carl jacobs

            Ummm … I’m not a Catholic. So I was making a statement against interest. I agree with you that there is no mystery behind transubstantiation. But that isn’t the point. Catholic don’t make the point that you challenged…

            You can investigate if transubstantiation is real or not. It’s been done.

            You can’t investigate what they claim because of the accidents/substance differentiation. You should learn these things before your comment.

          • Jon Sorensen

            Only brainwashed people defend doctrines that “You can’t investigate”.

            “You can’t investigate that” is a start of any religion…

          • Anton

            There’s plenty you can’t investigate in history except from ancient documents.

    • Dominic Stockford

      You have a point – the real issue with the Romanist position is the requirement on the believer to understand and accept a rather debatable point of philosophy in order for them to understand what is claimed (by their church) is happening when man commands God to become present in a bit of bread. Not much of a God, who can be ordered around by man.

      • Jon Sorensen

        “the real issue with the Romanist position” is that it is just as wrong as Protestantism. Both are just heresies of early Christianity which was a heresy of Judaism, which was a heresy of Atenism, which was a heresy of old Egyptian religion, which was a heresy of…

  • Sarky

    Just another ritual fought over as the church disapears down the drain.
    Some say its a public demonstration of faith, except it’s not when done behind closed doors in front of other believers.
    Personally always found the thought of eating flesh and drinking blood a bit distasteful.

    • Little Black Censored

      “Personally… etc, etc.”
      “Call me old-fashioned….”
      Thanks for sharing.

    • Anton

      Yes, it is prohibited in the Jewish laws to which Jesus and his first followers conformed, so whatever he meant it wasn’t that.

    • chefofsinners

      Personally I have always found the thought of hell a bit distasteful.

      • Sarky

        I find the thought of a loving god condemning anyone to hell distasteful. Good job its just a medieval fairy tale to scare the unbeliever into belief.

        • chefofsinners

          God finds it so distasteful that He gave His only Son to avoid it.

          • Sarky

            What about the 70% of the world’s population who aren’t christian?

          • Anton

            Why are people so keen to discuss the possible fate of others rather than themselves?

          • Sarky

            I count myself as one of the 70%.

          • Anton

            I can’t help the company you keep! Though some of my best friends are atheists…

          • Sarky

            Doesn’t change the fact that god is willing to consign 70% of his creation to hell.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            Nearer 99% and they choose Hell, as you have.

          • Sarky

            I havent chosen anything. God gives the illusion of free will. If i put a gun to your head and tell you to follow me or ill pull the trigger, Is your decision free will or self preservation?
            If your faith is based on fear of hell, then i want no part of it.

          • William Lewis

            Self preservation is still a choice. You always have a choice, whether you like the options in front of you, or not.

          • Sarky

            But its not free will if that choice is made out of fear.

          • William Lewis

            Why not?

          • Sarky

            Because you’re not making the decision for the right reasons.
            (Is it right that someone becomes a christian through fear of hell?)

          • William Lewis

            People make good decisions based on fear of what might happen all of the time. Fear of poverty may send a man out to work, for instance.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            God owns us all, that gives Him the right to decree what we should do. Rebellion against our make is a foolish act.

            My faith is based on love for the one who first loved me, yours is based on love for yourself.

          • Sarky

            I have no faith???

          • Martin

            Sarky

            Of course you have faith, you have faith in yourself, your own little god.

          • Sarky

            You dont have faith in yourself?
            How do you get through life?

          • Martin

            Sarky

            Much better than those who think they know the answers. What’s more, it only gets better.

        • carl jacobs

          The guy who murdered Lee Rigby. Do you find his punishment distasteful? No, because the guilty deserve to be punished for the crime. Your problem is that you don’t comprehend your own guilt. You are infinitely more guilty before God than Lee Rigby’s killer is guilty before a British court. But you don’t believe that. You think rather more of yourself.

          Good job its just a medieval fairy tale

          When you can say to the dead “Rise up and walk” and the dead actually rise up and walk at your word, then I will take seriously your judgment of what is or isn’t a fairy tale.

          • Sarky

            Why would i have any time for a god that would find me more guilty than a cold blooded, barbaric murderer just for being human?
            Why would i want the dead to rise up and walk, have you not seen the walking dead?

          • Phil R

            “Why would i have any time for a god that would find me more guilty than a cold blooded, barbaric murderer”

            And yet the incredible thing is. He still has time for you.

          • Sarky

            Really? Absolutely zero evidence for that statement.

          • Phil R

            You probably feel that you don’t need God, you are in control of your life.

            But you are not in control and there will be things that bring you low. In our case it was the death of two of our young children. The pain and numbness felt like it would break me for a while, even with God.

            I don’t know how you atheists cope with loss without God

          • Sarky

            I am genuinely sorry for your loss, as a parent myself i cant think of anything worse.
            I have had to cope with loss, but have done it with the help of family and friends. For me it was just a case of putting one foot slowly infront of another.

    • Dominic Stockford

      It’s not a public demonstration of faith – it is for believers only, and is a means of demonstrating union with one another in that faith (comm – with … union). Many Free Churches hold it behind closed doors, for the faithful alone.

      • Sarky

        Thought you’d blocked me?

        • Dominic Stockford

          I had compassion….

    • Holger

      Distasteful yes. Surprising no.

      If you study death cults across the world, you’ll see that cannibal rites often form a part of their ceremonial. The idea seems to be that if you consume someone’s flesh, you partake in his prestige and power.

      I suppose we should be grateful that Christian cannibalism is symbolic. If things had turned out only slightly differently, we might have seen ritual slaughter in churches and the consumption of real blood and real flesh. But then the Roman Empire would have hunted all Christians down and exterminated them instead of doing such a half-hearted job of suppressing their cult.

      So I wonder … would the deaths of a few more Christians in the Roman era have saved thousands of lives in the following centuries? The Crusades would never have happened. No heretics would ever have been burned. If Christianity had been stamped out when the infection was localised and therefore possible to eradicate, might not many, many lives have been saved?

      Ah well, speculation is pointless, I suppose…

  • Martin

    I don’t see it as a division of the Church, believers know what the Lord’s Supper is & it isn’t some magical event where the nature of the bread and wine change. It’s a remembrance, as Don Benson describes below, and the Lord is with His people in that remembrance.

  • carl jacobs

    Before Islamists detonate their pew bombs, rape Christian girls, sell their mothers into slavery or crucify and behead their fathers, they don’t ask, “Are with with Luther, Zwingli, Calvin or the Pope?” No, you follow the Nazarene; you are all one body, and so you must die. No division, no distinction, no mystery at all.

    Word.

  • layreader

    They might also ask ‘are you Sunni or are you Shia?’ And you might still die if the answer is wrong.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Which helpfully undoes the argument for indiscriminate ecumenism which seems to be being made.

    • Simon Platt

      I heard recently, and I think it’s true, otherwise I wouldn’t repeat it here, that there’s a hadith that says that Mohammed “prophesied” that there would be 72 Moslem sects, of which the followers of 71 would all go to hell. I don’t know how many Moslems believe that, but I’m sure that some (many?) believe something like it, as we can see in the news and accounting also for the fact that some “devout” Moslems, rather than having a desire to save souls, want to send souls, as they see it, to hell.

      It’s very sad.

      • Dominic Stockford

        And the Amadihhya Muslims make the claim that they love everyone and that no-one should die for any religious reason. Which seems very reasonable, if entirely unKoranic, and succeeds in making them a target for all the other sects of Islam.

  • David

    As the Anglican service says, just before worshippers are invited to partake of Holy Communion, “draw near with faith”.
    It is essentially for each individual follower to decide, through faith, just what the meal signifies to them.
    But for all Christians, it serves purpose by reminding us of what Christ has done to set us free, of our sins. All the mainstream variations are within that broad spectrum of belief.
    What matters most, is whether we trust in Jesus, Son of God, to be our personal saviour, or not ! After that is it so essential that we know exactly what happens at the service ? A little mystery, within the context of wholesome faith, is no bad thing.

    • Simon Platt

      I’m afraid that if you say “It is essentially for each individual follower to decide…”, you have decided, and not just for yourself. Isn’t that obvious?

      • Anton

        But the question about which he has decided is a different one. Better to day that he has devolved the freedom.

        • Simon Platt

          If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice.

          I, for one, believe in objective reality.

          • Anton

            You are missing my point. What is one choosing to decide or not decide about?

          • Simon Platt

            One is choosing not to decide “just what the meal signifies”.

            I’m not missing the point, not at all, unless your point, and David’s (I think its the same point) is unexpectedly obscure. Earlier, I had begun a longer comment, but it was getting too long, and lacked precision, time being short, and ran the risk of being misinterpreted as polemic, so I abandoned it.

            My point is that my belief about the rite at which I have just assisted and the Sacrament I have received is incompatible with David’s belief. If David, or you, think that “it is essentially for each individual follower to decide, through faith, just what the meal signifies to them”, that is incompatible with my belief and, although it is couched in terms that sound inclusive, it is in fact exclusionary. And that is inevitable. And people should stop kidding themselves about it.

          • Anton

            In discussions among believers of varying traditions it is best not to present one’s conclusion and then attempt to justify it, but rather to begin from what all Christians have in common, the scriptures, and proceed from there. I suggest that any believer who is aware that Christ said “this is my body; this is my blood”, and aware that Jews were commanded not to drink blood, should be admitted to Communion without having to answer a Twenty Questions about further issues which are ultimately mysterious.

          • “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth … “

          • Anton

            Never let it be said that I dissent from scripture.

  • Arden Forester

    In a sense it is more complicated and there are far more nuanced ideas today. Probably the greatest display of division is within Anglicanism. Between clergy and between laity. I once attended a church where one of the lay readers baked bread for communion. All very devout and done with best intentions but leading to a few calamities during distribution. There must be a thousand differences in intention, in ritual and in belief. Do we stand or do we kneel? Many different ways.

    Unity seems to come in a common desire to reverence the Last Supper. What the actual Sacrament means is where division arises.

    • chefofsinners

      Exactly so. Jesus’ command was ‘do this’, rather than ‘create a doctrine of what occurs when you do this’. Communion is meant to draw us together. It is the Devil’s work to divide.
      All Christians do as Jesus commanded, regardless of creed: we eat bread and we drink wine. I might understand what I do differently to a Catholic, but the deed is the same. We are both obedient and we are both blessed through our obedience.

  • John

    Well said Your Grace. The Roman Catholic exclusion of all other Christians from their version of this holy meal is indefensible when even the satanic army of Islamic State can see we are all one.

  • Lucius

    “Before Islamists detonate their pew bombs, rape Christian girls, sell their mothers into slavery or crucify and behead their fathers, they don’t ask, ‘Are with with Luther, Zwingli, Calvin or the Pope?’ No, you follow the Nazarene; you are all one body, and so you must die. No division, no distinction, no mystery at all.”
    *****************************************************************************************************************
    Point well taken. Notwithstanding some of our good faith differences, I hope all my fellow Christians, Protestant, Catholic, Coptic, or otherwise, on this board know that this Orthodox Christian loves you.

    • David

      Well said.
      Me too.

    • Cressida de Nova

      These are our holiest days. As you said it is not a time for disputes. We should all be preparing for the overwhelming grief of the Passion tomorrow…. Reflect and pray.

      • Martin

        Cressida

        Nowhere in Scripture are we commanded to celebrate holy days. The only day we have is the first day of the week, the Lord’s Day, when we meet together. No other celebration is commanded.

        • Sarky

          Christmas must be a blast at your house.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            Read what I wrote.

          • Anton

            Best celebrated at Tabernacles if you want to celebrate it at all. Plenty of eating and drinking goes on at my house year round with divine precedent (Matthew 11:19), and is all the better for being unforced.

  • len

    Christ is the uniting factor between all the christian denominations, the true Head of all.

    ‘ you follow the Nazarene;’

    Well said Cranmer.

    • David

      Hear, hear !
      But sadly some prefer to quibble rather than recognise what unites us.

  • Dominic Stockford

    Of course the Islamists don’t differentiate between our beliefs – but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t. If two views of, for instance, the Lord’s Supper exist then one of them MUST by definition be wrong. And that must matter.

    • CliveM

      It matters if it’s provable and if God has defined a definition. It isn’t and he hasn’t.

      • Dominic Stockford

        The Bible is clear. ‘in remembrance of me’.

        • CliveM

          Well I’m not going to go over all the arguments in favour of the various understandings. But doesn’t it also say “eat, drink, this is my body given for you, do this in remembrance of me”?

          • Simon Platt

            “Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you have no life in you.”

          • Don Benson

            “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you–they are full of the Spirit and life.”

          • Anton

            In that passage He describes his flesh as bread, not vice-versa.

          • Then comes the Last Supper ….

          • Anton

            Yes indeed; this is about the meaning of “is” and about categories. Whatever Jesus meant must also be consistent with the Mosaic injunction upon Jews not to drink blood.

          • Why must it be consistent with the Mosaic injunction?

          • Anton

            Because they were Jews and Jesus kept the law perfectly. This was before the crucifixion and resurrection.

          • Throughout His 3 year ministry He scandalised the Jews by His behaviour and words. Besides, the command to men to consecrate bread and wine and to consume His Body and Blood could only be realised after His death and resurrection.

          • Anton

            But he called the bread and wine his body and blood and told his disciples to eat and drink it at the Last Supper *before* his death and resurrection.

            Jesus scandalised many Jews by his pointing out their hypocrisy and by his disrespect for *some* of their traditions. But the written law of Moses he kept and he told them to keep. Any deviation form that would mean *he* was a hypocrite, which is unthinkable.

            At the Last Supper he had not yet died to the law.

          • Jesus adhered to the spirit and true meaning of the Law and explained this to the Jews in word and deed. Indeed, He constantly informed them the Law would not gain them salvation. At the Last Supper, He instituted the Eucharist and gave Himself to the Apostles in His spiritualised, resurrected Body and Blood and commanded them to do so in their turn for others. God is not bound by time and space as He showed at the Transfiguration.

          • Anton

            God isn’t but we are. What you say is wholly true and wholly irrelevant to the issue.

          • Because you cannot accept what Jack says, it becomes “irrelevant”.

          • Anton

            It is irrelevant to the subject, which you have changed because you were failing to support your views. Under the written Law of Moses by which Jesus and the disciples lived, Jews were forbidden to consume real blood, yet according to you Jesus offered it to them at the Last Supper, at which Jesus had not yet died to the law.

          • Christ’s resurrected, glorified flesh and blood is not human or animal flesh and blood. It unites us to and is an instrument of the Holy Spirit.

            In John 6, Jesus repeats his message four times (John 6: 51-58) fully aware that the eating of flesh and the drinking of blood was prohibited by Levitical law with the severe penalty of being cut off from your people. Nowhere else in Scripture does Jesus say anything four times to emphasize and insure its understanding. Even after “many of his disciples broke away and would not remain in his company any longer” unable to accept this apparent gross violation of Mosaic law, Jesus did not change His meaning. This is the only time in the New Testament that the message of Jesus caused such a mass exodus of his followers. Just as the announcement that Jesus was going to be taken and crucified scandalized them, so too did Jesus teaching about the Eucharist. He does not run after them claiming they misunderstood him.

            The Cross and the Eucharist are stumbling blocks which can only be overcome with the help of the Holy Spirit. “Will you also go away?” Jesus asked the twelve. Jesus meant what He said.

            “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:53-54)

            Jesus is talking about divine flesh and blood, without which there is no eternal life, not human flesh and blood.

          • Anton

            More off-topic stuff, mostly true, to cover over the fact that you cannot reconcile all three of

            1. Transubstantiation

            2. The prohibition on Jews not to drink blood

            3. Words and events at the Last Supper.

          • Jack has reconciled them.

          • Anton

            Let the reader decide.

          • Anton

            I’ve modified my points should you care to comment.

          • CliveM

            On this day and over the Easter period more generally, I’m not going to debate the rights and wrongs of a particular view. its enough to focus on the Cross and marvel at our Gods love and sacrifice.

          • Dominic Stockford

            No, ‘it’ doesn’t say that, ‘he’ said that. ‘He’ did not then slice off body parts and hand them round – it was merely bread and wine that he handed round – clearly then, his words were metaphorical not literal.

          • CliveM

            And that’s what I believe, BUT, I can understand the reasoning for other beliefs. I would also dispute that the bible is absolutely clear on this.

  • Dominic Stockford

    It’s simple really, and Cranmer’s Articles summed it up perfectly.

    “XXVIII. OF THE LORD’S SUPPER

    THE Supper of the Lord is not only a sign of the love that Christians ought to have among themselves one to another; but rather is a Sacrament of our Redemption by Christ’s death: insomuch that to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith, receive the same, the Bread which we break is a partaking of the Body of Christ; and likewise the Cup of Blessing is a partaking of the Blood of Christ.

    Transubstantiation (or the change of the substance of Bread and Wine) in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by holy Writ; but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions.

    THE BODY OF CHRIST IS GIVEN, TAKEN AND EATEN, IN THE SUPPER, ONLY AFTER AN HEAVENLY AND SPIRITUAL MANNER. AND THE MEAN WHEREBY THE BODY OF CHRIST IS RECEIVED AND EATEN IN THE SUPPER IS FAITH.

    The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was not by Christ’s ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshipped.”

    • David

      Amen to that.
      Cranmer got it right !

    • Is this infallible? It certainly contradicts scripture.

      • Holger

        Dominic Stockford is infallible. He just gave his holy assent to Cranmer’s assertions and this alone turned them into the will of god.

        Didn’t you know that Dominic Stockford is god’s representative on earth? Fancy! Dominic Stockford knows it, so given the solipsistic nature of the universe and the fact that only Dominic Stockford is real while the rest of us are merely actors on a stage where he directs and writes the dialogue, it’s rather cheeky of you to question his authority. You’ll burn in hell for that one. He’s writing the scenes of your torment even as I write this post.

        He’s a busy boy, Divine Spokesman Stockford. As well as your role, he has tens of thousands of burning-in-hell parts to write for all those electors who failed to get him into parliament. And for anyone else who’s ever disagreed with him about anything. Unless they bow down and acknowledge his authority of course. Then he might give them a bit part in paradise.

        So bow down Happy Jack. Unless you yourself are god’s spokesman upon earth and Dominic Stockford is merely an actor on your stage. If so then you’ll get to banish him for whatever his transgressions against you may be. Only in your imagination, of course, just as his judgments are entirely in his own mind. But at least your universe isn’t a complete solipsism. More of multipsism, if such a word exists. The delusion of many rather than the delusion of one. I suppose it’s a shade less narcissistic than the Protestant position. As if Narcissus had siblings whom he admired just as much as himself.

  • Inspector General

    The answer to your question, dear Cranmer, is that the Eucharist is whatever the recipient wants it to be. Symbolic, or involving quantum physics and Christ’s actual involvement. There you go, it really is as uncomplicated as that. Now, if the early Church fathers had similar wisdom usually associated with Solomon, we might all still be singing out of the same hymnbook. But no. Where doubt, or in this case, sheer cluelessness exists, let man rule forth. Let arrogant men, and men from many centuries ago at that, in a world of ignorance and superstition have the definitive say. Oh yes, it’s final alright. At least for now.

    From one’s Higher Understanding of what is, in case you hadn’t guessed…

    • dannybhoy

      The eucharist/breaking of bread/holy communion is actually based on the Passover meal which Jesus was preparing to celebrate with His disciples. The focus of Passover is recorded in Exodus 10..
      “The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, 2 “This month shall be for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you. 3 Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month they shall take every man a lamb according to their fathers’ houses, a lamb for a household; 4 and if the household is too small for a lamb, then a man and his neighbor next to his house shall take according to the number of persons; according to what each can eat you shall make your count for the lamb. 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old; you shall take it from the sheep or from the goats; 6 and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs in the evening.[b] 7 Then they shall take some of the blood, and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat them. 8 They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it. 9 Do not eat any of it raw or boiled with water, but roasted, its head with its legs and its inner parts. 10 And you shall let none of it remain until the morning, anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. 11 In this manner you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord’s passover. 12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will smite all the first-born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord. 13 The blood shall be a sign for you, upon the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall fall upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. (Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition)

      Jesus was the ultimate Passover Lamb…
      Revelation 5>
      ” 8 When he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell before the Lamb, each holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 They sing a new song:
      “You are worthy to take the scroll
      and to open its seals,
      for you were slaughtered and by your blood you ransomed for God
      saints from[b] every tribe and language and people and nation;
      10 you have made them to be a kingdom and priests serving[c] our God,
      and they will reign on earth.”
      Revelation 13>
      ” 8 and all who dwell on earth will worship it, every one whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain.”
      (Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition)

      If Catholics want to believe that the bread and wine literally become the body and blood of Christ that’s up to them, but there is no Biblical evidence to support their assertion.

      • dannybhoy

        Then there is the fact that because Jesus was a devout Jew, he would have observed the Mosaic injunction recorded in Leviticus 17>
        “..10“If any man of the house of Israel or of the strangers that sojourn among them eats any blood, I will set my face against that person who eats blood, and will cut him off from among his people. 11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it for you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement, by reason of the life. 12 Therefore I have said to the people of Israel, No person among you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger who sojourns among you eat blood. (Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition)
        I cannot therefore see how our Lord would have encouraged His disciples to break the law of Moses…

        • Hence John, Chapter 6, and the falling away of disciples, including Judas, in horror at Jesus’ words and the statement of Peter.

          • dannybhoy

            “53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; 54 he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.”
            which ties in with John 15..
            ““I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.”
            Here the relationship is compared to that of a vine and branch. In Matthew’s gospel 13 Jesus talks about finding the kingdom of God…

            “44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
            45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, 46 who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
            47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net which was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind; 48 when it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into vessels but threw away the bad. 49 So it will be at the close of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous, 50 and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.” (Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition)

            All are parables and illustrations of deeper truths.
            Elsewhere for example, Jesus calls Himself the chief cornerstone…
            In that passage from Exodus 10 the flesh of the Passover lamb is eaten, the blood is poured out. What Jesus describes in John 6 is referring to that. Else Jesus is telling his disciples to do that which is forbidden.

            But as I have said before it’s our relationship to Christ based on our understanding of the Scriptures that matters.
            “If your heart condemns you not….” 1 John 3:21

          • John 6 is not figurative, it is literal. Otherwise, He would have explained this to His disciples, some of whom were scandalised and rejected Him.

          • Anton

            Really? In that passage he said that those who came to him would never go hungry.

            So you have never been hungry in the literal rather than figurative sense, Jack?

          • Jesus is referring to spiritual life and death and spiritual hunger and thirst. We receive eternal life by participating in His life, death and resurrection through eating and drinking His Body and Blood.

          • dannybhoy

            Jack, you’re missing the context. Go back to verse 26..
            ” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.

      • Scriptural “evidence” for the Real Presence is abundant. Jesus’ own words testify to it.

    • Your “higher understanding” is no more than a refusal to accept the possibility of a miracle whereby bread and wine change into Our Lord’s Body and Blood. Unlike patristic, early Christianity, you seek to relegate God’s activity to the divine sphere and to divorce his action from the things of this world. God is in heaven and we are on earth. For you, it is inconceivable that God should act upon creation in anyway.

      • Inspector General

        Look. The Last Supper was not the second most important event to have happened after the creation of the universe. If transubstantiation works for you, as flagellation ‘to purify the soul’ works for others, then one is content. Truly, one is pleased for you.

  • Inspector General

    To be alive, you need faith…

    Two babies lying in adjacent cots in a maternity ward. They’re only a few hours old, but they been given the gift of speech.

    “So this is life is it? I don’t think much of it. A long room with windows, and full of large people with a lot of hair on ’em. Mothers someone called them. And how long are we to be alive then? I don’t think I can stand much more. And on top of that, I’ve got the colic and my nappy’s full,”

    “You see those double doors at the end. I believe that one day we’ll go through them and go home. It will be so great there, that we’ll never want to come back to this place again”

    “You believe what you want. I’m going to count down from ten. Then I’ll bawl my head off for the rest of the day”

    And miserably wet Holger did indeed go through those doors. Unfortunately, he learnt nothing, and eventually walked through Cranmer’s…

  • Inspector General

    Eating human flesh, even if it is divine, and drinking similar blood. Doesn’t appeal much to Western tastes…in fact, if the truth be known, it disgusts.

    They say when it comes to movements or in this case, faiths, there’s nothing worse than a convert if the blighter is as similarly enthusiastic about Christianity as he was with his pagan whatever. Now, the problem is, they tend to bring some of their old baggage with them.

    It stands to reason that the earliest of the church were comprised of former pagans, especially in what would have been multicultural Rome. A Rome which would have included Africans.

    In Africa, it is considered an honour to be eaten by others. They seek to ingest your wisdom and cunning, as well as making sure you are very dead and not coming back. Among those so respected include Samuel Doe, President of Liberia, in 1990.

    From an annoyed Nordic type.

    • The Explorer

      You have a point. C S Lewis was mocked for going to “blood feasts”. Washing your robes and making them white in the blood of the lamb is another startling image for some.

      • Inspector General

        Indeed, Explorer. There is simply no need for this meal time nonsense…

        Hyperbole, with fanaticism and a good helping of mental instability on a few behalf’s has made Christ’s wisdom and teaching a bit of a laughing stock…

        • Sarky

          Not a laughing stock….just mind-boggling!!

          • It is “mind-boggling” i.e. overwhelming and impossible to comprehend without the gift of faith.

    • Martin

      IG

      Jews would have been horrified by the idea, that the disciples were not horrified by the Lord’s Supper is good evidence that they did not take the bread as literally His body nor the wine as literally His blood. He was, after all, standing there in front of them.

      • Read the whole of John 6. The Jews fell into dispute and some of Jesus’ disciples turned away from Him because Jesus was very clear about the matter.

        Then the Jews fell to disputing with one another, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Whereupon Jesus said to them, Believe me when I tell you this; you can have no life in yourselves, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood. The man who eats my flesh and drinks my blood enjoys eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. My flesh is real food, my blood is real drink. He who eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, lives continually in me, and I in him. As I live because of the Father, the living Father who has sent me, so he who eats me will live, in his turn, because of me. Such is the bread which has come down from heaven; it is not as it was with your fathers, who ate manna and died none the less; the man who eats this bread will live eternally.

        • Inspector General

          A first century Jew, John, said all that, did he…

          • Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Inspector, he recounted the life and words of Jesus Christ.

        • Martin

          HJ

          Pretty good evidence I’d say that there is no change in the bread and wine.

          • Then you, like Judas and all the others who walked away in disbelieve, dispute the very clear of Jesus both here and at the Last Supper.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Like those of the early Church, I believe that the bread remains bread and the wine remains wine.

          • The early Christians believed in the sacramental transformation of bread and wine into the substantial Real Presence of Our Lord.

          • Martin

            HJ

            They believed, rather knew, that Christ was with them at the Lord’s Supper, they didn’t believe the bread was magically changed.

  • “Is it flesh and blood, or isn’t it?”
    It most certainly is, yes.

    “Jesus in a wafer? Seriously?”
    Yes, seriously. The bread and wine is transformed into the Real Presence of Christ in the bread and wine. Just as Jesus commanded.

    “Is it a memorial of sacrifice or a sacramental recreation?”
    It’s neither – it’s a re-presentation of Calvary.

    • Martin

      HJ

      It doesn’t look or taste like flesh and blood and there is nothing in the Bible that justifies the claim. Nor is it a sacrifice requiring a priest, it is simply a remembrance of Christ’s death. As Israel remembered the Passover, so we remember the cross.

      • IrenaSerena1984

        Simply a remembrance? Not even Zwingli actually believed that. 1 Corinthians 10:16-18

      • According to your flawed reading of scripture.

        “The blessing-cup that we bless is a communion with the blood of Christ, and the bread that we break is communion with the body of Christ
        (1 Cor. 11:16).

        Paul’s words are clear. The only possible meaning is that the bread and wine at the consecration become Christ’s actual body and blood. Evidently Paul believed that the words Christ had said at the Last Supper, “This is my Body” meant that really and physically the bread is his body. In fact Christ was not merely saying that the bread was his body; he was decreeing that it should be so and that it is so.

        • Martin

          HJ

          Then how was it that the disciples were eating His flesh and drinking His blood when He was in the room with them?

          • Is God not capable of a miracle and acting both in time and out of time?

          • Anton

            Funny miracle when you can’t tell it’s happened!The exact opposite from all others…

          • The Apostles had faith in Christ and His words. The full significance of the Last Supper had yet to be revealed to them.

          • Martin

            HJ

            They knew full well that the man standing before them couldn’t be giving them His flesh and blood.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Of course, but the Lord’s Supper is a remembrance of a sacrifice, not a repetition.

          • It’s a re-presentation as universally practiced for 2000 years by all Christians apart from protestants.

          • Martin

            HJ

            No they didn’t, it’s an invented concept, like the concept of priests.

        • Lucius

          Some of the earliest Church Fathers on the subject appear in agreement. St. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, stated in about 110 AD:

          “They hold aloof from the Eucharist and from services of prayer, because they refuse to admit that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins and which, in his goodness, the Father raised.”

          Key words being “Eucharist IS the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ.”

          Justin the Marytr in about 150 AD stated:

          “so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nurtured, is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus.”

          The key words here being “IS both the flesh and blood of that incarnated Jesus.”

          I will not presume to fully understand this mystery of faith, but it appears that the Scripture and early Church Fathers were in harmony on this matter.

          • And all professed Christians until the Reformation.

          • Lucius

            Protestants can have good faith interpretations of Scripture otherwise, of course, and I don’t think “less” of them; but, at the same time, such Protestants would also have to assert that the very early Church Fathers just got this one wrong, and Protestant interpretations of Scripture made about 1500 years later rectified the early Church’s misinterpretation and mistake.

          • Anton

            The “church fathers” were close to Christ in time but far from him in background: they were of a Greek culture rather than a Hebrew one, and a huge difference it makes.

          • Indeed so. Except for those who were prepared to die horribly for the truth.

          • They died for their particular understanding of the truth – and so did many Catholics.

          • Lawrence

            When the watering-down process began, and continues….
            It wasn’t the centuries old belief system that was corrupt, and in need of reforming, it was those certain powerful people who became so, in spite of it.
            Why how many times did He need to say it,
            “This is my body…”
            within that Scripture, so He would be taken seriously…, instead of symbolically?

        • Anton

          This is about what “is” means and about categories.

          • “We believe the Lord Jesus Christ to be present, not typically, nor figuratively, nor by superabundant grace, as in the other Mysteries, … but truly and really, so that after the consecration of the bread and of the wine, the bread is transmuted, transubstantiated, converted and transformed into the true Body Itself of the Lord, Which was born in Bethlehem of the ever-Virgin Mary, was baptised in the Jordan, suffered, was buried, rose again, was received up, sitteth at the right hand of the God and Father, and is to come again in the clouds of Heaven; and the wine is converted and transubstantiated into the true Blood Itself of the Lord, Which, as He hung upon the Cross, was poured out for the life of the world.”

            (Eastern Orthodox Church Synod of Jerusalem, 1672)

        • “The blessing-cup that we bless is a communion with the blood of Christ, and the bread that we break is communion with the body of Christ”
          (1 Cor. 11:16).
          .
          You mean 1 Cor 10:16. From the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith (30:7).
          ‘Worthy receivers, outwardly taking the visible elements in this ordinance, also receive them inwardly and spiritually by faith, truly and in fact, but not carnally and corporally, and feed upon Christ crucified, and all the benefits of His death. The body and blood of Christ is not present corporally or carnally, but it is spiritually present to the faith of believers in this ordinance, just as the elements are present to their outward senses.’

          • The Council of Trent

            CANON I.-If any one denieth, that, in the sacrament of the most holy Eucharist, are contained truly, really, and substantially, the body and blood together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and consequently the whole Christ; but saith that He is only therein as in a sign, or in figure, or virtue; let him be anathema.

            CANON lI.-If any one saith, that, in the sacred and holy sacrament of the Eucharist, the substance of the bread and wine remains conjointly with the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and denieth that wonderful and singular conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the Body, and of the whole substance of the wine into the Blood-the species Only of the bread and wine remaining-which conversion indeed the Catholic Church most aptly calls Transubstantiation; let him be anathema.

            CANON III.-If any one denieth, that, in the venerable sacrament of the Eucharist, the whole Christ is contained under each species, and under every part of each species, when separated; let him be anathema.

            CANON IV.-If any one saith, that, after the consecration is completed, the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ are not in the admirable sacrament of the Eucharist, but (are there) only during the use, whilst it is being taken, and not either before or after; and that, in the hosts, or consecrated particles, which are reserved or which remain after communion, the true Body of the Lord remaineth not; let him be anathema.

    • IrenaSerena1984

      Jesus *in* a wafer? Really? Impanation is not Catholic doctrine

      • Thank you for bringing this to Jack’s attention. He was not referring to the Reformation doctrine (or, more correctly, the doctrine of some) that the body of Christ is present within the Eucharistic bread. The wafer is the very Body of Our Lord.
        [Jack shall edit his comment]

        • carl jacobs

          He was not referring to the Reformation doctrine (or, more correctly, the doctrine of some protestants)

          Which doctrine would that be?

          • Impanation (Latin, impanatio, “embodied in bread”) is a high medieval theory of the real presence of the body of Jesus Christ in the consecrated bread of the Eucharist that does not imply a change in the substance of either the bread or the body.[ This doctrine, apparently patterned after Christ’s Incarnation (God is made flesh in the Person of Jesus Christ),[ is the assertion that “God is made bread” in the Eucharist. Christ’s divine attributes are shared by the eucharistic bread via his body. This view is similar but not identical to the theory of consubstantiation associated with Lollardy. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real_presence_of_Christ_in_the_Eucharist

            Consubstantiation is a theological doctrine that (like Transubstantiation) attempts to describe the nature of the Christian Eucharist in concrete metaphysical terms. It holds that during the sacrament, the fundamental “substance” of the body and blood of Christ are present alongside the substance of the bread and wine, which remain present. It was considered part of the doctrine of the heresy of Lollardy.

            The doctrine of consubstantiation is often held in contrast to the doctrine of transubstantiation. While some Lutherans use the term “consubstantiation” to describe their doctrine, many reject it as not accurately reflecting the eucharistic doctrine of Martin Luther, the sacramental union. They reject the concept of consubstantiation because it replaces what they believe to be the biblical doctrine with a philosophical construct and because it implies that the body and blood are physically present in the same way as the bread and wine, rather than being present in an “illocal”, supernatural way.

            In England in the late 14th century, there was a political and religious movement known as Lollardy. Among much broader goals, the Lollards affirmed a form of consubstantiation—that the Eucharist remained physically bread and wine, while becoming spiritually the body and blood of Christ. Lollardy survived up until the time of the English Reformation.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real_presence_of_Christ_in_the_Eucharist#Orthodox:_Definitive_change

        • IrenaSerena1984

          You’re welcome. “Physically present” is problematic too. “Sacramentally present” is more true and more pious.

          e.g.
          “Christ’s body is not in this sacrament in the same way as a body is in a place, which by its dimensions is commensurate with the place; but in a special manner which is proper to this sacrament. Hence we say that Christ’s body is upon many altars, not as in different places, but ” sacramentally”: and thereby we do not understand that Christ is there only as in a sign, although a sacrament is a kind of sign; but that Christ’s body is here after a fashion proper to this sacrament, as stated above.” Aquinas

      • Sarky

        Well, he has been sighted in toast!!

  • Royinsouthwest

    To me the point of Communion is to remember Christ’s sacrifice. There is no point in trying to define in more detail than that. You cannot define anything more precisely than you understand it.

    There are lots of things I don’t understand, but one day I will know even as I am known.

    • Dominic Stockford

      One denomination defines ‘the most holy sacrifice of the mass’ as being ‘the source and summit of the Christian life’. This being the case, there has to be rather more explanation and discussion of what they mean, or the rest of us tacitly accept their premise that we have no Christian life. And I for one, am not prepared to do that.

      • The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is also recognised by Orthodox Christians as the greatest gift given us by God.

        • Lucius

          Similar to Catholics, I imagine, for us Orthodox, the Eucharist is strictly understood as being the real presence of Christ, His true Body and Blood mystically present in the bread and wine which are offered to the Father in his name and consecrated by the divine Spirit of God. Unlike our Latin brothers, however, we have mostly resisted trying to rationally decipher the Eucharist (e.g., doctrine of transubstantiation), and simply accept it as a Holy Mystery.

          • We agree the Eucharist is the Real Presence of Christ and that the transformation from bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ takes place when the priest, acting in the Person of Christ, speaks Our Saviour’s words.

            Have a Holy Easter, Lucius.

          • Cressida de Nova

            This is my body….This is my blood….the words reinforce the concept because it was the only way to communicate linguistically that the celebration of the Eucharist is
            1. not symbolism
            2. is even more than the essence and spirit of the Christ contained in the bread and wine….it is a sort of assimilation of the Divine presence into the human body and soul.

  • David

    Just returned from our church meal, with 74 of us present. It was a Christian presentation of the Passover, which of course is key to understanding what Jesus and his disciples were about at The Last Supper, which is now our remembrance service of His sacrifice on the cross. So underneath the Christian symbolism is an even older Jewish symbolism.
    After the service, during which we did and ate what the Jews did then, and still do, we had the normal full meal, only to end finally with Christian prayers as preparation for Good Friday’s services and March of Witness through the town.
    I am praying that all our Christian brothers and sisters, all over the world, and of whatever denomination, are able to enjoy a peaceful and Spirit filled Easter.
    God bless all Christians wherever you are.

    • dannybhoy

      Amen. That’s true Christianity!

  • BBC One now Documentary on Franciscan Friars “From Bronx to Bradford”

  • It is important to remember that this was the cause for which many Christian martyrs died.
    It was when they denied the doctrine of Transubstantiation that they were officially marked as heretics and passed over to the authorities to be burned. The doctrine is vital to the Church of Rome because it justifies the continuance of an order of sacrificing priests nowhere found in Scripture.
    “Do this in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19; 1 Corinthians 11:24). The Lord’s Supper is not a ‘re-presentation’ of our Lord’s death, but an act of remembrance and proclamation (1 Cor. 11:26).

  • God Bless for Easter.

    • Cressida de Nova

      Thank you for this video clip. Very moving.

  • Merchantman

    God Bless Queen Elizabeth!

  • Malcolm Smith

    Archbishop Hooker had this to say on the subject:

    The fruit of the Eucharist is the participation of the body and blood of Christ. There is no sentence of Holy Scripture which saith that we cannot by this sacrament be made partakers of his body and blood except they be first contained in the sacrament, or the sacrament converted into them. “This is my body,” and “this is my blood,” being words of promise, sith we all agree that by the sacrament Christ doth really and truly in us perform his promise, why do we vainly trouble ourselves with so fierce contentions whether by consubstantiation, or else by transubstantiation the sacrament itself be first possessed with Christ, or no? A thing which no way can either further or hinder us howsoever it stand, because our participation of Christ in this sacrament dependeth on the co-operation of his omnipotent power which maketh it his body and blood to us, whether with change or without alteration of the element such as they imagine we need not greatly to care nor inquire. Book V.67.6

    http://anglicancontinuum.blogspot.com.au/2009/02/richard-hooker-on-communion-of-christs.html
    Or, to put it another way: Christ said, “Do this in remembrance of me”, not “Speculate on this.”

    The bit of doggerel attributed to Elizabeth I was much the same.

    “Twas God the word that spake it,
    He took the bread and brake it;
    And what the word did make it;
    That I believe, and take it.”

    • David

      Thank you. Hooker’s genius was that he demonstrated how different understandings of various contested Christian beliefs are really all very similar, at bottom.
      I am a great appreciator of the theology of Richard Hooker but sadly I find that few in the contemporary C of E, outside conservative circles, are interested in theology, and particularly doctrine. Therefore Hooker, the greatest Anglican theologian is largely forgotten.

    • Anton

      Hooker was never a bishop.

  • Dominic Stockford

    Archbishop Cranmer, and Bishops Latimer and Ridley, were all executed (judicially murdered) specifically for refusing to accept the Roman position on the Lord’s Supper.

    • William Lewis

      Human depravity knows no bounds. Thank God for the Nazarene.

    • Anton

      What Cranmer was finally burnt for was scarcely relevant. After his assistance to Henry VIII in ditching Mary’s mother, after furthering the split from Rome, after influencing young Edward VI to take the CoE protestant, and after writing its prayer book, Queen Mary was determined to nail him.

  • len

    The attempt by man to transfer the spiritual into the physical goes beyond all the bounds of reason.
    The disciples understood little of what Jesus was trying to explain to them.Jesus’ came from above,’ they were’ of’ below.
    It seems little has changed?.

  • len

    Transubstantiation ‘or eating ones god’ seems to have been a practice well known amongst pagan religions.In Babylon, Egypt, and Pagan Rome making small cakes (some to resemble the sun disc) was common practice.It cannot be just coincidence that ‘the monstrance ‘and other objects resemble the suns rays or solar discs?
    edit.

    ‘The children gather wood, the fathers light the fire, and the women knead the dough and make cakes to offer to the Queen of Heaven. They pour out drink offerings to other gods to arouse my anger.'(Jeremiah 7:18)