Thursday 26 January 2012

Some communing with John Stevens

Hi Chris,

Ah the human body! Sounds rather painful so I hope you're mending. What does that mean in terms of your business?

Very much enjoyed your latest blog. For me anyway seemed to be very clear.

Last year sometime I ran into furrowed brows when I tried to speak about the bread in communion, so it brought back memories.

I wouldn't claim to have really got hold of it entirely but 'This is my body' is such an evocative phrase. Memorable and familiar to those of us with a liturgical past or present, ingrained in the repeating music of priests week by week, like 'Our Father who art...'. It kind of washes over you and leaving an impression but not necessarily much revelation.

Some maybe, familiar with the Protestant/Catholic argument, transubstantiation and all, may feel that the argument describes the real fault lines whereas it may be that the fault line really exposes the weakness of the underpinning strata. If so we need to explore further back and not dwell on the argument itself i.e. that Jesus was speaking literally in some sense - leading to the Catholic view, or figuratively - leading to the protestant view.

But what if Jesus was speaking chemically?

Drink eat. The wine and the bread are ingested and become us. So what does it mean to allow the blood to become us? And the body? Is it that we have become walking talking christs embodying forgiveness and the life of Christ for others. So 'communion' isn't simply a celebration of what Christ has done for us but is also a celebration of what He has become in us. So it is representational but not limited to describing the terms of covenantal membership but describes the members themselves as real space-time manifestations of that covenant.

Do this in remembrance of me. We have been transformed, crucified and raised into a new creation 'a new species' a la CS Lewis. And who enabled that to happen? The 12 with Jesus for that meal were perhaps charged in a unique way and finally became the outworking fulfilment of Israel to be a light to te Gentiles. Remembering is a spiritual living thing not simply a memory. It is active - like 'put on Christ' we clear out of our systems anything that would rise up to contradict the truth that has been accomplished in us. We can forget, that is lose hold of these things and sometimes we need to be brought back to the startling truth that is finished it has been done and so on. Repentance in that sense not to do with specific moral failure but letting go or turning away from anything other than the truth of the gospel to influence our lives.  

Until I come. Well there's something. We go about the earth carrying the dying of the Lord Jesus that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body (blood and bread). And when that day comes. What a day it will be. However long that day is. The Son of God caught up with the sons of God. All revealed just what He accomplished through dying as a seed and being raised up many times over. True brothers. Like Him in every way. It is finished will be fully understood through and through.

Wondering whether a 2012 Portsmouth pilgrimage may be on. There'd have to be a decent curry at the end of the journey to bring it to fulfilment I suspect?

Hope the zip holds.


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