The feast

In the Episcopalian service, we arrive at what my program calls the “feast.” When I read that, I think I’ve hit the jackpot. I’m picturing fat slices of ham, scones piled with jam. I’m wondering if they’ll use the good china and whether the OJ will be fresh squeezed. I scan a little further down and realize with great disappointment that “feast” is just another word for the nub of bread and sip of wine received during the Lord’s Supper. I suddenly recognize this as one of those instances when the power of piety turns one thing (a crumb) into another (a banquet). Normally, I find this alchemy beautiful. Today, my stomach growls its disappointment.

The intricate movements of the rector and her assistants kick into overdrive. One of the helpers approaches the altar with a mound of bread on a silver tray. Another comes forward with a glass canister of something clear (holy water?) and a second container of wine. A chalice appears; liquids are poured, mixed, tasted. The individuals at the altar weave in and out and around one another. If a different color ribbon were tied to each person, a beautiful braid might form. There is much bowing, pressing of foreheads against the surface where the bread and wine sit, lips moving in silent prayer.

The peace is shattered by a loud crackle from the speakers, and the serious moment is split open by a trucker’s voice. The interstate runs out of town only a few blocks from here; the church’s PA system must share a frequency with the CBs. Broken snippets of a trucker’s conversation come through. “Rain…road…highway?” I can’t help but smile, thinking what a funny moment this is: could there be anything further from “high church” than an 18-wheeler hauling goods across the American West? I look around to gauge reactions, but no one flinches. The rector bows her head; she lets the trucker’s voice fade.

The rows are invited to the altar one by one. I realize we are back to eating the actual flesh and blood of Jesus, but I decide to accept the invitation in the program for all visitors to participate.

We kneel on beautifully hand-embroidered pillows designed to fit perfectly on a little ledge below the altar. Mine has an old scroll and some sort of harp. We wait for the bread lady to come around. I watch her work her way down the row towards me, whispering something to each person. “This is Christ’s body given for you,” she says solemnly as she stands before me. “Thank you,” I reply. I study the little lump of bread, awed by its powerful significance.

At the end of the communion, which marks the end of the service, something happens that I haven’t seen before. In an extension of the ceremony, the rector packs the elements of the sacrament—the remaining bread and wine—into a small red cooler. She explains that these will be taken to congregants who are too sick or frail to leave their homes. She carries the communion-to-go kit up the aisle and hands it to a woman who stands and accepts it with a slight nod. I think how nice it must be for the recipients of this small token. Even if Jesus is just the excuse, even if some people are more eager to see the person than the goodies she brings, it’s such a beautiful gesture to sit and spend a few minutes with someone who is not well. I like how communion inspires worlds to collide: the sick and healthy, priests and truckers, the high and low. I picture an 18-wheeler rumbling down the freeway, its cargo nothing but fine merlot and fresh-baked baguettes. I pull up alongside to glimpse the trucker’s face: it’s Jesus.

His long hair blows through the open window. He winks and pulls the horn for me.

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32 thoughts on “The feast

  1. Greetings, Corinna,

    According to Jesus, himself, you are NOT eating his body or drinking his blood. He said, “This MEANS my body; this MEANS my blood.” By choosing these words, he is saying that they signify, represent, stand for…….they are emblems or symbols. (Luke 22:19-20)

    Cheri B.

    • Some churches (Catholic) take it literally. Doesn’t matter what the Bible says. The Anabaptists were the first Protestants to perform adult baptisms in water, lakes, ponds, etc. We know that’s far more biblical than sprinkling a person. It’s not that the Bible is or isn’t being followed. Sometimes cultural traditions trump a literal reading.

      Meanwhile, I wonder if Jesus is on the CB radio frequency during the next service 🙂

    • Cheri said:

      “According to Jesus, himself, you are NOT eating his body or drinking his blood. He said, “This MEANS my body; this MEANS my blood.” By choosing these words, he is saying that they signify, represent, stand for…….they are emblems or symbols. (Luke 22:19-20)”

      Well, OF COURSE eating bread/drinking wine cannot LITERALLY be viewed as eating the flesh/drinking the blood of Christ, since Jesus died almost 2k years ago. 🙂

      But setting that obvious problem aside, drinking animal/human blood was associated with cultic “pagan” worship of the “heathen” Romans and Greeks. Not symbolic, mind you, but humans LITERALLY drank blood, since ancient men mistakenly believed that blood contained a mysterious ‘life force’ (Hebrew word ‘nephesh’) that infused the consumer with the properties of the source (this idea persists in the superstitious beliefs of Chinese men, who consume ground-up rhinoceros horns in the belief that the powder will serve as an aphrodisiac, due to the unmistakeable phallic shape of the horn: what a shame they insist on endangering a struggling species, and just don’t use Viagra, instead). The ancient misbelief in the transferable properties of blood is a superstition long since disproven, eg modern-day medicine has developed artificial blood, and people manage to survive quite even when deprived of their mysterious “life force”.

      However, the prohibition against eating “flesh with it’s life blood” STILL EXISTS as a CORE tenet of Judaism and some branches of Christianity, thanks to the 2nd recorded statement of Divine Will found in Genesis 9 (the 1st being, “thou shalt not eat the forbidden fruit”; there’s not alot of forbidden fruit lying around these days, so it’s not a problem. In contrast, there IS much blood, animal and human, and hence the restriction is still potentially applicable). The prohibition against consuming blood was handed down by YHWH to Noah after the Flood (Noahide Laws).

      So understanding that historical background and cultural context SHOULD reveal how the actions portrayed during Jesus’ Last Supper were likely viewed by Jewish readers as intentionally inflammatory, provocative, and downright revolting, since it begs the question: WHAT POSSIBLE VALUE could arise from modeling/emulating/symbolizing the act of cannibalism and the drinking of human blood? EVEN IF only symbolic?

      Jews know the Tanakh repeatedly and unmistakeably instructs “don’t eat blood” as a CORE expression of God’s Will, yet the Last Supper depicts Jesus engaging in his trade-mark boundary-pushing activities, seemingly designed to “get the goad” of Jews (esp those who understood God’s recorded abhorrence and detesting of such “pagan” religious practices associated with worshipping “false” Gods; see Genesis 9:12, where God’s words are crystal-clear about the restriction applying “for ALL successive generations”. Hence the so-called “Rainbow Covenant” IS eternal, ie lasts for ALL TIME, being an everlasting prohibition against the practice of eating blood, as well as God’s promise not to destroy humanity with a flood. There is no expiration date to those promises, and the prohibition stands “for ALL SUCCESSIVE GENERATIONS”).

      So Jesus seemingly thinks he warrants an exception to policy, as if his sacrifice over-rides the “Rainbow Covenant”? It makes no theological sense to suggest Jesus’ sacrifice has ANYTHING to do with the Noahide prohibition against eating blood, and even symbolically PRETENDING to commit a gross sin (ie one that demands the death penalty, as drinking blood did) is downright contradictory. Isn’t it Jesus who told everyone that committing a sin “in one’s heart” (aka imagining one is sinning) is the SAME THING as committing the actual sin? Isn’t that what Matthew 5:27 tells us, giving the World the novel concept of “thought crime”?

      5:27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery;’ 5:28 but I tell you that everyone who gazes at a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.”

      So here we have Jesus directing his disciples to PRETEND the bread being his body, and IMAGINE the wine as drinking his blood. Yummm…. Blood…..

      So here we have an upstart itinerant Apocalyptic (end times) Jewish rabbi/preacher, saying it’s OK to violate the spirit of Genesis 9 by symbolically violating the long-standing restriction against drinking blood, where in Genesis 9 YHWH Himself is recorded as saying (in the first-person, straight from the horse’s mouth) that the prohibition is an EVERLASTING expression of YHWH’s Divine Will. Of course, God cannot change His mind; the Bible tells us so. Did God change his mind here? Or is Jesus wrong? You cannot have it both ways: that’s an irresolvable contradiction, a fatal 404 “file not found” error.

      Just ONE MORE REASON Jews rightly rejected Jesus as just another radical upstart trouble-maker; aside from not fulfilling the Messianic prophecies, he was talking out of both sides of his mouth, contradicting himself at every turn (eg saying that Kashrut/Kosher dietary/hand-washing rules don’t matter: “it’s not what goes in one’s mouth that matters, but what comes out the mouth” that makes a man unclean; compare that to passages where Jesus proclaimed everlasting observation of restrictions found in the Tanakh, saying he didn’t come to remove ANY WORD or CONCEPTS, but to fulfill the prophecies found inside; the Torah/Tanakh was deemed “perfect”, which includes the Kashrut dietary/hand-washing laws).

      So you have over 1,000 yrs of Levitical Temple rituals which DEMANDED that the blood of animals be spilled on the ground before consuming the flesh (of course, the best cuts went to the Levite Priestly Class, who functioned as the official sanctioned Temple butchers); proper ritualistic bleeding was a FUNDAMENTAL REQUIREMENT of offering a sacrifice, and strictly enforced by Halakh (religious law) which told Jews that sacrifices could ONLY be made at an approved location (usually the Temple in Jerusalem). And Jesus says it doesn’t matter. M’kay.

      Oh, well: that’s the topsy-turvy illogical World of the “wisdom” of the blood-thirsty Abrahamic religions, where the rank-and-file worshiper is NOT supposed to ask any questions (much less DARE to provide any ANSWERS!), but is only supposed to ask the minister how high to jump. Professing not knowing (agnosticism) is tolerated, but once anyone dares to point out the obvious traces of man’s fingerprints, they are viewed as a threat, a heretic, worthy of death by stoning. Never-mind that anyone with half-a-brain and a willingness to look at the evidence can clearly see how the Jesus cult was a reaction to the 2nd Temple destruction in 70 AD, an off-shoot/evolution of Judaism, and one means of dealing with the threat of the loss of Jewish identity during the diaspora gets it. That doesn’t mean that it’s TRUE (ie reality, that God exists, or that Jesus was the Son of God), just that it makes sense when observed from secular viewpoint.

      But rather than signifying “Divine”or Heavenly origins, such a pattern of behavior is the stereotypical calling card of human (non-Divine) activities, where history shows men ALWAYS have engaged in pissing matches for the right to determine what constitutes accepted theology (orthodoxy vs heterodoxy); groups operating under various titles (bishops, pope, priests, prophets, scribes, rabbis, ministers, etc, etc) engage in spiritual warfare for the right to tell the rank-and-file what the deity thinks. It’s a power-game played by MORTALS, carried out under the pretense of “serving” as one of His “humble” servants (disclosure: I come from a LONG LINE of priests, and that’s a family tradition I’m NOT proud of).

      In MY Holy Book (which is secular, BTW), LYING and DECEIVING others in the name of God(s) for fun and profit IS the FURTHEST from “humble” that a human can get, esp when such spiritual pyramid schemes are conducted under the pretense of “but we’re only acting in their best interests”: that’s as despicable and arrogant as human behavior gets, since it’s covered by a thick layer of syrupy-sweet deception.

      • Dave, I think you highlighted something important here about the Jews abhorrence with cannibalism and the Lord’s strict prohibition of it. I’m sure that many Jews did believe that there was an almost “magical force” (nephesh) in blood, just as some Christians may actually understand that about the communion wine and bread, perhaps because some teach a “transubstantiation” of the elements into Jesus’ actual body and blood and that God imparts grace in the act of partaking of it.

        I think it would be good to mention here Jesus’ statements in John, chapter 6, along the same lines. By the time Jesus and his inner circle (the twelve) got to taking the “Lord’s supper” on the night he was betrayed, the 12 understood (perhaps excepting Judas) of what Jesus meant by the symbol–and that it was not meant to be a “symbolic” breaking of God’s law against drinking blood. In John 6, Jesus spoke to crowds of disciples, explaining how it was God rather than Moses who had given them manna in the desert (during the exodus), the manna being regarded as “bread of life.” Jesus went on to explain that now his Father offers “the true bread from heaven….” “I am the living bread….unless you eat the flesh of the son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you….” (quotes from New International Version).

        Some of the disciples actually turned away from following him at that point, precisely because what Jesus was saying was way over the top and abhorrent….and misunderstood. He went on to tell them, “The Spirit gives life. The flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you–they are full of the Spirit and life.” Jesus devoted much of his teaching to getting the same point across. It was not the flesh that mattered but the Spirit. (Similarly, it was not the outward actions that counted with God but the heart that motivated the actions.) “Flesh” included the ideas of meat and human effort (as it does in English–which likely comes from biblical usage). The Hebrews viewed the flesh not as inherently evil (as many Christians use it), but as simply concerned with this world and its ways as opposed to God’s world, his kingdom, his thinking. Jesus’ point has to do with the fact that human effort is not what gains eternal life, God’s Spirit gives life and his word is effective in bringing the message of life if believed.

        Walt

  2. I loved the last pic too….much better than thinking about the rector probably praying, “Please God, don’t let him say____”. 🙂
    Jesus always focused on what comes out of the heart (clean or otherwise), not what goes into the stomach (clean or otherwise). There’s a lot of debate within Christian circles over the precise meaning of the bread and wine (or juice) as the body and blood of the Lord. There is much mystery within the simplicity of Jesus volunteering to take our place on a “tree”…Trusting in that instead of ourselves is also a mystery, and about the hardest thing for humans to do, but worth it.

    btw: when I was a young teen, I got to help clean up after communion at church. There was always lots of leftover communion ‘bread’. It was a particularly tasty type of bread, almost sweet, and I always managed to pop a bunch into my mouth. Jesus was likely winking at me, as well, Corinna….and I came away with a fuller stomach!

  3. I was a class clown and still relish humor, but The Lord’s Supper is a SOLEMN occasion depicting the love and literal complete sacrifice of the Son of God for humanity. There is NO place for levity in your commentary!

    • James, there is no room for humor in YOUR beliefs and commentary. We are seeing this through the eyes and heart of Corinna….who through time has shown a bright ribbon of humor… and as Frank said: Divinity meets humanity. I don’t believe it is our place to tell Corinna how to interpret what she sees and hears and experiences. You can always stop reading. I have several times! I personally don’t like to be told how to think and what to believe, and the replies to Corinna often make me grumpy and irritated.

      BTW….I do see the irony here, Corinna. I well remember that I took umbrage with the slightly tongue in cheek Ma Clampiitt image in one of your earlier writings…but that was because I had a “farm” grandma who didn’t look or act like Ma C. It was personal….not about the dogma. Heaven forbid that you would insult my deceased Grandma! :–) MET

      • Hi Merrill, I honestly welcome and appreciate all feedback. Sometimes it stings a bit, but the benefit far outlasts any sting. It forces me to reconsider what I’ve written and look at it from a different angle. Sometimes it makes me reaffirm my conviction in what I’ve expressed and sometimes it makes me wonder if maybe (just maybe) there’s a better way to express it. I’m grateful for every comment–the good, the bad, the ugly, and the awesome.

        • Really, Corinna, you do not appear to be a woman who needs protection!! And we all can benefit from feedback. I certainly get that! I was really stating my own belief through my comments—the surety that there really is more than one path—and like I said, I get irritated and crabby with some of the comments which come across so righteous. Some writers don’t seem to give any of the rest of us breathing room for making our own observations and reaching our own beliefs. I know that there are many Christians who do seek the broader view, the wider path where humanity and the divine meet—I read their comments here–and I am rooting for you to keep walking on that broader path as you make your decisions about which beliefs you will finally embrace or not. And I didn’t read your blog title as One None Seeks Christianity, although that is where you are beginning. Happy spring, Corinna…..it is finally arriving here in Eastern Washington! MET

    • Oh bite me, James. What do you think the FIRST “Lord’s Supper” was like? All solemn? did the disciples know they were a part of a Solemn Ritual? I think they were just having a meal together like they always did, but this time, Jesus confused the heck out of the guys by likening the bread and the wine they always ate to his body and blood. I bet they didn’t get it at the time. I wonder if Jesus was doing the OPPOSITE of solemn. I think he was coming down to their level, saying something like I’m your food when you’re hungry, I’m your drink when you’re thirsty, I’m about to give my earthly life up and it’s all for you. We take this story and make a freaking tent out of it.

  4. Yes, Frank, beautifully said, divinity meets humanity – Jesus in the flesh, giving of himself to the broad and beautiful diversity of humanity; high and low, sick and well, priests and truckers. LOVE the image of him driving the truck. Jesus walks right in, giving his very body and blood for all of us. May all of you feel the love. Blessed Good Friday. Happy Resurrection Day! He is risen!

  5. I have to say, Corrina, I’ve joined your growing fan base. You have a wonderful ability to describe the mix of solemn and ordinary (or just plain silly) that is the reality of going to church. At our church, we celebrate both the “high” and “low” ceremonies, and I can appreciate both. The high church service uses the older 1928 Prayer Book, and I admire the economy and elegance of its language. As you so well described, iti s almost like a well-timed dance. The low church service is more approachable for most people, and I often feel as if I’m being invited to a celebration. What I have learned is there is huge difference between solemn and somber.

    But h what I admire most about your observations is that you try to see the value in each congregation you visit. I think you’re taking your journey very seriously, but that doesn’t stop you from seeing the humor in some situations. That’s what real life is–a mix of serious, funny, boring and terrifying. God gave us a sense of humor to help us make sense of this world and I’ve yet to find any words in the Bible telling us we can’t use it. I remember watching one of the “life of Jesus” movies from the 1960’s, with Max von Sydow as Jesus; he’s the guy who acted in those depressing Ingmar Bergman movies in the 50’s. He spent the whole move moping around randomly spouting passages from the Gospels. I had to ask myself , “Why would anyone want to follow this guy?” Given all th times Jesus talked about approaching life and faith as little children, I’m sure He enjoyed a laugh every now and then. If, as our faith says, He made Himself human, then He had the same sense of humor we all did. God wants us to enjoy life–why else would He tell his flock not to worry so much?

    Keep the faith and keep smiling!

    • Ex Monk and Psychologist, Thomas Moore, in his book, “Original Self” quotes from a gnostic gospel called, “The Sophia of Jesus Christ,”…”The Savior laughed and said to them: “What are you thinking about? Why are you perplexed? What are you searching for?” Philip said: “For the underlying reality of the universe and the plan.”
      Moore’s commentary in part says: “I understand Jesus to be saying, “Why are you asking all these questions? Get on with life and have some faith.”
      He goes on: “A few writers have pictured Jesus as a comic, a significant sign of his divinity. But the stand-up comedian and the film comic are also Christ figures. They help us get some distance from our dangerous seriousness. A person who believes too earnestly in his own convictions can be dangerous to others, for absence of humor signals a failure in basic humanity. The laughter of the holy sage is the beginning of wisdom, and wisdom, Sophia, is deep trust joined with knowledge. Some laughter is cynical and crude, but there is another kind that expresses a simple trust in life.
      He concludes: “Life is a divine comedy, and until we discover how those two words go together, we will be condemned to spiritual depression and severity, signs that we have not yet found God and that we are layers and eons away from our original self. In the mystical land before our birth, heartfelt laughter is the signal that God is present.”

    • If I may add something, Tim: Jesus not only wanted us to approach him with the faith/trust and humbleness of little children, but, when asked why he and his disciples didn’t fast like the religious leaders did on solemn occasions, he said that the friends of the bridegroom don’t fast while the bridegroom is with them….it’s time to celebrate, feast and drink, laugh, sing, and dance!!! They would have their time to fast, which is what we’re observing today–though we now know the end of the story, which his disciples did not.

      • Beautifully said, Walt–thank you for expressing it so wonderfully. As it says in Ecclesiastes, there is a time and place for everything under the sun.

  6. Corinna, I just LOVED this post! The picture of the ribbons weaving an intricate braid: I’ve experienced that exact feeling watching a religious ritual and it’s like an elaborate dance which makes me think of stars & planets & CS Lewis. Hah! the way the CB bled into the sound system, what a hoot! Wouldn’t it have been cool if, instead of implying this was an interruption, the rector or whoever had grinned and thanked God for that trucker and asked God to bless him, right there & then. I bet Jesus would’ve done something like that. I can see him as a trucker, winking at you! I bet he is winking at you right now, Corinna, because he loves the eyes and the heart you see this world with. (and I do too)

  7. The Lord’s Supper is to be approached with reverence in remembrance of what Christ did for us. However, I’m sure many people can share funny things that have happened during Communion. I remember as a child sticking my tongue down into the little cup only to have the juice squirt all over the front of my dress. My own children have made scenes. One quite loudly complained about the taste of the bread meanwhile gagging it down. But all light-heartedness aside, before taking part in Communion, we are to examine ourselves. Realizing how often I fail the Lord is pretty solemn to me, but then remembering what Christ did for me brings joy like no other. I Corinthians 11: 27-29 Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. BTW, I don’t mean to come across as sounding righteous. I’m just quoting the Bible.

    • I know what you mean, Jo. The canons in the BCP instruct us to make an honest examination of conscience and “be reconciled with anyone with whom we are angry.” More to the point, you can tell when someone is approaching the Communion rail reverently or just going through the motions. I don’t thank there’s anything self-righteous about wanting to approach the Lord reverently; if ever there is a proper way to use that word, Eucharist is it. And as you point out, one can be reverent and filled with joy. Of course, there was the time my son was abouttwo or three years old and we thought it was time to leave the cry room and sit in the main part of the church. 20 minutes into Mass he got that look on his face, and before we could do anything, up came his breakfast all over the pew! Luckily there was nobody sitting very near and we were able to clean it up.

      • Tim, Just goes to show that God does have a sense of humor! It might not have been funny at the time but I’m sure you can look back on it now and laugh:-)

    • “BTW, I don’t mean to come across as sounding righteous. I’m just quoting the Bible.”

      Wow, Xian pompous self-righteousness on display before us in the flesh, excused by….. (wait for it…..): the BIBLE!

      Isn’t it funny how often that kind of rationale is used as an excuse by the religious to voice what are actually insulting sentiments, saying to others thoughts they wouldn’t have the courage to voice if uttered under their own “steam”. But once emboldened by the ULTIMATE appeal to authority (“I’m only quoting GOD!”, said in a quite cavilier, off-handed manner), it suddenly seems OK for them to do, in THEIR Book. Heck, a GOOD Xian actually earns Brownie Points for doing that kind of thing (AKA Kissing Up To God, but who’s actually keeping track of that kind of thing? It’s not like “Holy Spirit” doesn’t have BETTER things to do with it’s time, LOL)!

      I shouldn’t be so hard, since the fact is, the Bible DOES demand that Xians “spread the good news of the Kingdom to others” (AKA converting others to Xianity) or else face the eternal consequences (whether that’s the threat of everlasting hell-fire, or an eternity of non-existence in Gehenna, etc, that is, if you believe in either of those things: most Xians do).

      So with religion, we’ve got the CLASSIC “carrot and stick” approach being used, where Jesus was sent on a mission to make-over the tarnished image of YHWH (which was damaged under Judaism, and required some SERIOUS theodicy, eg that shoddily-constructed collapsible Temple seriously damaged YHWH’s “street credo” amongst the competing Gods of Babylon!). So what we have is Jesus updating the failed YHWH rep with a cool dope-smokin’, truck-drivin’, sandal-wearin’ “Keep on Truckin’!” Jesus, when ultimately it’s the same deal for humanity: do as he tells you, and no one gets hurt; don’t, and he’ll tell his Sky Daddy on you (and don’t worry: the eternal torment is ALL done out of LOVE for you, really…. We’ve all heard of the Stockholm Syndrome before, RIGHT?)

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stockholm_syndrome

      Here’s an interesting History Channel video that serves as an introduction to the 400 yr process of canonization of the NT (hint: as conservative as religions are, 2nd-century “Xians” didn’t believe in the same Jesus that you believe in, today):

      If I HAD to profess a religion (and thank God I DON’T! It would be impossible to force myself to believe in something which doesn’t exist), I’d probably want to be a 2nd Century Gnostic Xian; early on, these progressive Xians realized they’d get more mileage out of adopting the demiurge model of the “pagans”, thus explaining the angry hot-tempered YHWH’s OT actions away by throwing him under the bus; they believed there’s an “absentee landlord” God (Elohim) who gave responsibility for the Earth to the sub-deity YHWH, who quickly muddled up things on Earth.

      Of course, the Gnostics ultimately lost the battle for control of the evolution of emerging Xian theological doctrine (just like Zoroasterian prohibitions against slavery also meant it lost out to competing Xianity, due to Xianity’s theological acceptance of the practice of slavery; this factor explains why Emperor Constantine choose Xianity over the other competitors to become the official State religion for the “Holy” Roman Empire (when the same Romans had killed Christ only 2 centuries earlier)).

      There’s an old saying that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it; a corollary not mentioned says those who REMEMBER history are ALSO powerless to change the course of history, and thus are doomed to watch in horror witnessing their fellow humans make the same basic mistakes, over and over.

  8. Dave, I might just point out that none of us really know what’s in another’s heart, especially not from a blog comment where communication is at best faulty. Not everyone who quotes the Bible to back up the solemnity of something is pompous or self-righteous….Saying that, I could not say the person was not, either. Neither could I judge that you are a hateful person because you might bash people who want to follow religion and are seriously looking for answers to the mysteries of the universe.

    I might also point out that Scripture does not demand that Christ’s followers spread the word in quite the way you’re saying or face eternal damnation. We are indeed to spread the word, and those of us who love the Lord want to have a part in that….but again, because we might do it imperfectly is not a ground for him to be unfaithful to his promises.

  9. Oh Dave,
    (saying to others thoughts they wouldn’t have the courage to voice if uttered under their own “steam”. ) Believe me, I would have a lot to utter. I whole-heartedly believe what Proverbs 10:19 says “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.” I will continue to quote Scripture, not because I am trying to “kiss up to God” but because it is infallible whereas my words are not.

    • There is a feast there! Thank you for bringing William Edelen into my scope of religious understanding. His column on Easter mythology was substantiated by historical research from well-known and respected scholars….you gotta love history! “Because it says so in the bible” is not necessarily a reason to believe something is literally true or original……..I cannot see how people can just discarded whatever history that gets in the way of biblical interpretation.

      BTW The additional articles I read of Edelen’s were also very enlightening. He is on my radar now! And Happy Spring to you all……..

      • And that’s biblical fervor for you. I have come to believe that they are there because that’s where they need to be right now. If and when they think about changing their thinking they wonder, “Where in the world would I go.” and all they see is a life of shambles without their belief since they now have a textbook of answers for living life. Why risk stepping out. I have touched their answers and know that they are not my answers but then I live and work within the framework of answers that work for me, although they don’t truly believe it, my answers give me the same inner movement that they claim in Spirit and in Jesus. The fact is we can do no more than love them where they are at. They don’t want to hear words that differ from theirs. I think Life speaks to us in a broad variety of ways anyway and this is their speech to give. We get to choose from Life’s variety……lilies of the field, cedar trees, roses, bluebells, etc. etc. For awhile we get to own the color and fragrance of our own choosing and we are blessed.

        • Thanks, Frank. I always appreciate your calm wisdom.
          I read Corinna’s words, not so much that I am concerned where she is headed, but it has provided me with an opportunity to understand the fabric of my own spirituality. I forget that most everyone is not coming from that perspective…I hear much tutoring, I guess I would say. But I very much liked the way you said this: “I have touched their answers and know that they are not my answers,” but that you have found your own framework that works for you, if I can put it so simply. “Love them where they are.” Thank you for reminding me of that. Love? So powerful. MET

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