Sunday, October 16, 2011

Body & Blood

I initially went to see the priest to find out more about the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. I have to admit, I didn't come away with any new information. He offered me bits of the Catechism & a lesson from tradition. All things I'd heard before. This evening I came across 1 Corinthians 11:23-31 . I'm not a KJV fanatic, but in these verses, I not only saw a case for transubstantiation, but also for the use of the crucifix. As it concerns the Lord's Supper (Eucharist), Paul warns of eating & drinking "unworthily... without discerning the Lord's body...". The one who does this "shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord". I have to wonder what that actually means if the Eucharist is merely a symbolic remembrance. These simple verses, to me, present a case for the validity of the Real Presence. There's something serious... even scary about the Lord's Supper. We are told to take it seriously for a reason. Could Jesus really have meant that people are actually consuming His flesh & blood in the host & wine? And how would that change us if we believed that over the idea of symbolic consumption alone? Is this really what Christ instituted for us? I can't say for sure, but the gravity of Paul's words struck me differently tonight.

As to the use of the crucifix, Paul says that we proclaim the Lord's death till He comes. He is of course still talking about the Eucharist, but when I think of a crucifix, I think of the Lord's death. When I think of the bare cross, I think of His resurrection. Why proclaim His death over His resurrection? I thought the resurrection was the crux of everything I was supposed to believe... it is, afterall, the power of God that raised Jesus from the dead... and isn't that the good news? Yet if Jesus had not come to die, there would be no resurrection. The power, it seems, is in the cross of Christ & His submission to death. Paul said somewhere else that He wanted to know nothing more than Christ... risen? No, "Christ crucified". (1 Co. 2:2) In Protestantism, we proclaim "the risen Lord!" when maybe we should be proclaiming Christ crucified for us, Christ the power & wisdom of God... (1 Co. 1:24)

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