Author Topic: Do Christians really need the Eucharist?  (Read 6586 times)

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Offline Kaste

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Do Christians really need the Eucharist?
« on: November 27, 2009, 01:03:46 PM »
Someone told me he converted from Protestantism to Orthodoxy because he "needed the Mysteries".  

Is this really true, and if so please explain what protestants are really missing out on in terms of the Eucharist.  I only ask that you keep in mind the fact there are many Godly Protestants, many live more Godly lives than Orthodox.  Can it be that for 500 years Protestants (by not believing in a literal change into blood and body) have been missing out on something so very important when they seem like they live complete lives with Christ?

Finally, much appreciated would be personal stories of how the Eucharist helps you, whereas without it, even though God's grace reaches us in other ways, you were hindered.  

Thanks.

K

« Last Edit: November 27, 2009, 01:13:48 PM by Kaste »

Offline John of the North

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Re: Do Christians really need the Eucharist?
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2009, 02:00:19 PM »
Some things can not be explained. Some things you can not understand unless you are in the Church. And even then, I think you can only experience, not understand per se.
“Find the door of your heart, and you will discover it is the door to the kingdom of God.” - St. John Chrysostom

Offline EofK

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Re: Do Christians really need the Eucharist?
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2009, 02:06:24 PM »
The Eucharist is also the most personal, intimate part of the Orthodox faith.  Describing the Eucharist is rather like describing your wedding night.
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Offline HandmaidenofGod

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Re: Do Christians really need the Eucharist?
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2009, 02:26:54 PM »
The Eucharist is life giving in every sense of the term. If we do not need the Eucharist, then tell me what John 6:53 is about?
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Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Do Christians really need the Eucharist?
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2009, 03:47:58 PM »
I am converting because of the Eucharist above all else.  The chalice is the very fountain of immortality.

Offline Ortho_cat

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Re: Do Christians really need the Eucharist?
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2009, 05:11:12 PM »
I became convinced in the real presence by reading of the scripture and the writings of the early church fathers.  that left me with 3 options: Lutheranism, Roman Catholicism, or Orthodoxy.  I chose the latter because the proper respect for Holy Communion seems to me to be most evident during the Divine Liturgy.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2009, 05:11:33 PM by Ortho_cat »

Offline GammaRay

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Re: Do Christians really need the Eucharist?
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2009, 05:28:37 PM »
John 6:54-56
“Whoever eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.”

Mark 14:22-23
And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them and said “Take, eat; this is My body.”
Then He took the cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. And He said to them “This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many.”


What's the problem with those two passages? Aren't they enough?
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Offline Kaste

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Re: Do Christians really need the Eucharist?
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2009, 06:02:04 PM »
Do you all feel taking the Eucharist has helped you though?

Protestants seem to get by very well without a belief in its real change into blood and body.

K

Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: Do Christians really need the Eucharist?
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2009, 06:07:33 PM »
Do you all feel taking the Eucharist has helped you though?
Absolutely!

Protestants seem to get by very well without a belief in its real change into blood and body.
Appearances can be deceiving, though.  It could be that they just don't know what they're missing.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2009, 06:08:04 PM by PeterTheAleut »
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Offline Jimmy

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Re: Do Christians really need the Eucharist?
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2009, 06:09:27 PM »
Do you all feel taking the Eucharist has helped you though?

Protestants seem to get by very well without a belief in its real change into blood and body.

K

We all think we can get along fine on our own.  The atheist even thinks he is fine without God.  The truth though is that we all need Christ and our very existence is wholely dependent on Him.  Through the Eucharist Christ abides in us and we abide in Him.  It is the reality that God took upon Himself what is ours and gave us what is His, all for our salvation.  

Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: Do Christians really need the Eucharist?
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2009, 06:11:04 PM »

Protestants seem to get by very well without a belief in its real change into blood and body.

They "seem" to get by very well.

They don't know what they are missing, so, how can they realize they are missing it?

It's like trying to explain what a sunrise looks like in the morning, to a blind man who has never had sight.
He exists without having seen or experienced it, and yet, how to do you explain it to him?  There are no words that would make him understand.

Give that man the gift of sight and let him experience it for himself.

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Offline Pravoslavbob

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Re: Do Christians really need the Eucharist?
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2009, 06:39:46 PM »
Do you all feel taking the Eucharist has helped you though?

In addition to the excellent comments by Jimmy and Liza, I would like to add:

For the Orthodox, your question is in one sense not the right question to ask.  By our way of thinking, it is turning things on their head, or it is a question born of a different worldview than the Orthodox one.  It is a question that I think, in part at least, springs from an extremely individualistic mindset, essentially alien to the conciliar perspective of the Christian East.  But if you were to ask us the question in a slightly different way, such as "do you believe that communing of the Eucharist is essential for the life in Christ", we would have to answer "Yes!" wholeheartedly.  We commune of the Eucharist because we believe that Jesus tells us that it is necessary for our salvation and because we believe that in so doing we are constituting his Body, the Church, and all that this statement implies.  For us, it is the very crown of the Church's sacramental life, indeed, it is what "makes the Church the Church."  It is not something "optional" for us.  But to answer your question, yes, we believe that taking the Eucharist (when done with the right disposition) is healing and a great aid to sanctification.  

None of this means that being Orthodox implies a free ticket to holiness.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Also, I personally believe that there are a great many holy people outside of the Orthodox Church who are honestly striving to live the life they feel God has called them to.  But when you ask an Orthodox person questions such as the ones you have asked in this thread, you are by default asking him/her questions about the nature of the Church.  It cannot be dealt with in isolation as simply a question about the Eucharist and nothing else, for reasons I have given above.  

« Last Edit: November 27, 2009, 06:54:48 PM by Pravoslavbob »
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Offline Ortho_cat

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Re: Do Christians really need the Eucharist?
« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2009, 06:45:11 PM »
It helps you so much as you are willing to cooperate by faith in the participation of the grace distributred by the Holy Mysteries.

Offline GabrieltheCelt

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Re: Do Christians really need the Eucharist?
« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2009, 08:01:39 PM »
I am converting because of the Eucharist above all else.  The chalice is the very fountain of immortality.

Amen.  Amen.  Amen.
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Offline Marc1152

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Re: Do Christians really need the Eucharist?
« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2009, 08:55:12 PM »
Do you all feel taking the Eucharist has helped you though?

Protestants seem to get by very well without a belief in its real change into blood and body.

K

That is a very non-Orthodox question to ask. It may come from Western Idea's of "Utilitarianism". If it works, it's good. It reduces religious mystery to mechanics or your feelings.

 
Your idea has been debunked 1000 times already.. Maybe 1001 will be the charm

Offline Kaste

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Re: Do Christians really need the Eucharist?
« Reply #15 on: November 27, 2009, 09:23:38 PM »
Have any former Protestants in this forum seen any benefits by taking the Eucharist? 

K

Offline witega

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Re: Do Christians really need the Eucharist?
« Reply #16 on: November 27, 2009, 09:28:50 PM »
Have any former Protestants in this forum seen any benefits by taking the Eucharist? 

K

Yes
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Offline GabrieltheCelt

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Re: Do Christians really need the Eucharist?
« Reply #17 on: November 28, 2009, 01:16:26 AM »
Former Protestant? Yes.  Former Muslim?  Absolutely.
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Offline jnorm888

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Re: Do Christians really need the Eucharist?
« Reply #18 on: November 28, 2009, 01:37:35 AM »
Someone told me he converted from Protestantism to Orthodoxy because he "needed the Mysteries".

I told you that in the other thread, and yes, it was true.
  

Quote
Is this really true, and if so please explain what protestants are really missing out on in terms of the Eucharist.

The things you were unkowingly and unconsciencly influenced by that has something to do with the issue at hand, and why certain American protestant sectors believe differently:

1.) Zwingly and Calvin

2.) Humanism, Scotism/Scotish realism, and Nominalism(not what it means now, but what it meant in western philosophical schools of thought back then)

Then compare all that to what the early church tought about the Mysteries.


Quote
I only ask that you keep in mind the fact there are many Godly Protestants, many live more Godly lives than Orthodox.


Mormons, JW's, Pharisees, Motanists, Donatists, and Islam have high morals as well, and so pulling the "moral" card has it's flaws.



Quote
Can it be that for 500 years Protestants (by not believing in a literal change into blood and body) have been missing out on something so very important when they seem like they live complete lives with Christ?


Will you say that about JW's, Mormons, and the Nation of Islam too? Some of them seem to have better morals than alot of protestants.

I'm all for morals, so don't get me wrong.


Quote
Finally, much appreciated would be personal stories of how the Eucharist helps you, whereas without it, even though God's grace reaches us in other ways, you were hindered.  
Thanks.
K

How does reading the Bible and prayer help you? Your answer to that will pretty much be in the range of what you are asking for with us.







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Offline jnorm888

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Re: Do Christians really need the Eucharist?
« Reply #19 on: November 28, 2009, 01:43:25 AM »
Do you all feel taking the Eucharist has helped you though?

Protestants seem to get by very well without a belief in its real change into blood and body.

K

Getting by very well is subjective. And if you take this route, then you will also have to include the others as well:

Mormons, JW's, Pharisees, Motanists, Donatists, Bhuddist and Islam

I like bhuddists by the way, and I recently found out that alot of Hindu's have "high family morals" as well.



But dispite all that, I have learned that being "right" is onething, but being "compassionate" is another. When I was protestant, I loved being right, but now that I'm Orthodox, I am learning what it means to be "compassionate".

Now I can't speak for all Orthodox, for I can only talk about my own experience, and my own experience is learning compassion.

If someone sins, will I forgive them? Will I give them a second chance?, a third chance? .....etc

So this is where I'm at...........learning the art of forgiveness.








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« Last Edit: November 28, 2009, 01:58:42 AM by jnorm888 »
"loving one's enemies does not mean loving wickedness, ungodliness, adultery, or theft. Rather, it means loving the theif, the ungodly, and the adulterer." Clement of Alexandria 195 A.D.

http://ancientchristiandefender.blogspot.com/

Offline Kaste

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Re: Do Christians really need the Eucharist?
« Reply #20 on: November 28, 2009, 02:12:12 AM »
Kaste said:
Quote
Finally, much appreciated would be personal stories of how the Eucharist helps you, whereas without it, even though God's grace reaches us in other ways, you were hindered.


Jnorm responded:
Quote
How does reading the Bible and prayer help you? Your answer to that will pretty much be in the range of what you are asking for with us.

So the effect is about the same?  I read my Bible at length and pray and I know and feel the Holy Spirit working in me, showing me the way.  Orthodox don't really have that same tradition of Bible reading or spontaneous-prayerlife mode of connecting with God and so for Orthodox it is eating the Eucharist. 
A different yet equally powerful way of connecting to the same Christian God? 

K

Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Do Christians really need the Eucharist?
« Reply #21 on: November 28, 2009, 02:14:58 AM »
I came across this passage as I was reading today and remembered this thread:

Quote
The very nature of the Church is Eucharistic...True theological intuition is drawn from the depth of the Eucharistic Chalice, and it shines forth from the mysterious theurgical life.  Abstract armchair philosophizing about God, outside the Eucharistic life and without a living personal religious experience, namely the Church experience, is fruitless and therefore useless.  Any daring attempts to force one's way into the sphere of mysticism without the Eucharistic communion leads to nothing but self-deception, mystification of others and sectarian falling away from the Body of the Church.  ~ Archimandrite Cyprian

Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Do Christians really need the Eucharist?
« Reply #22 on: November 28, 2009, 02:52:15 AM »
I read my Bible at length and pray and I know and feel the Holy Spirit working in me, showing me the way.
How do you know that this is the Holy Spirit and not Satan in the guise of an Angel of Light? How do you discern spirits? Do you discern them the same way by "feelings"?
If you're living a happy life as a Christian, you're doing something wrong.

Offline Salpy

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Re: Do Christians really need the Eucharist?
« Reply #23 on: November 28, 2009, 03:31:49 AM »
If the Eucharist were only a symbol, the Corinthians would not have been getting sick and dying from partaking of it unworthily. (I Cor. 11:30)  St. Paul actually states that those who partake unworthily "will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord." (I Cor. 11:27)

I'm not an expert, and I'm not too good at explaining these things, but I will try my best.  If I say anything wrong, I am going to ask my fellow Orthodox Christians to please correct me.

Kaste,

You need to remember that God created matter, including the human body, before the Fall.  When He created it, He proclaimed that it was good.  Some heretical groups have taught that only the soul, or spirit, is good and that the body, and other forms of matter, are evil.  That is not true Christianity, however.  We Christians believe that God created both spirit and matter, and that we would not be complete persons without our bodies. 

So when Christ came to save us, He came to save not only our souls, but also our bodies.  If Christ saved only our souls, and not our bodies, He would not be saving all of us.  That is why Christ came with a real human body.  His body was not an illusion; it was real and it was the same as ours.  It was also because He wanted to save all of us, not just our spirits, that He rose from the dead with His body.  It wasn't just a "spiritual resurrection," as some heretical groups would have it.  His body after the Resurrection was real.

It is because Christ wants to save us, both body and spirit, that He unites Himself to us physically through the Eucharist.  It is not just a spiritual union.  It is also a physical union.  When we partake of it, we believe that the cells of Christ's body are becoming one with the cells of our body and that His blood is actually coursing through our veins.  It sounds awesome and unbelievable, but that is exactly what it is.  Such is His incredible love for us, that He is willing to do this for us.  That is why the people in this thread are having a hard time explaining the experience.  That is why EofK, in reply 2, above, said it was personal and intimate and said describing it would be like describing one's wedding night.  That is why one of the most commonly used allegories for the relationship between Christ and His Church is that of the Bridegroom and the Bride.  A bridegroom and bride do not have only a spiritual relationship.  It is also a physical one.  That is why prior to the fourth century, the unbaptized were not even allowed in the room when the Eucharist was being given.

Let me quote the words of our Lord, from John chapter 6:

48I am the bread of life. 49Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. 50But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. 51I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."

 52Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"

 53Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. 57Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever." 59He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.


(The emphasis is mine.  I used BibleGateway.com to get this passage.  I love BibleGateway.com.   :) )


Anyway, I just hope this helps you understand where we are coming from.

Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Do Christians really need the Eucharist?
« Reply #24 on: November 28, 2009, 03:41:22 AM »
I Cor. 11:30

"For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep."

I need help from those who can look at early Greek versions of this passage.  Does the Greek word used for sleep imply physical death, as in "repose", or is it more about idleness and spiritual ignorance, as in "falling asleep from spiritual awareness"?

EDIT: Now that I have looked at more contemporary translations such as the Message and the Contemporary English Version, they make it very clear that the text says people were dying from taking the Eucharist.  Absolutely amazing.  I am almost moved to tears.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2009, 03:48:18 AM by Alveus Lacuna »

Offline Ortho_cat

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Re: Do Christians really need the Eucharist?
« Reply #25 on: November 28, 2009, 04:21:03 AM »

(The emphasis is mine.  I used BibleGateway.com to get this passage.  I love BibleGateway.com.   :) )


You should try bible.cc also if you haven't! :)

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Re: Do Christians really need the Eucharist?
« Reply #26 on: November 28, 2009, 06:12:50 AM »
So the effect is about the same?  I read my Bible at length and pray and I know and feel the Holy Spirit working in me, showing me the way.
Can the Holy Spirit lead you and someone else to two totally contradictory interpretations of the Scriptures?
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Offline GammaRay

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Re: Do Christians really need the Eucharist?
« Reply #27 on: November 28, 2009, 11:18:33 AM »
(The emphasis is mine.  I used BibleGateway.com to get this passage.  I love BibleGateway.com.   :) )
Me too. But you know what happens in Soviet Russia, don't you? :-\
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Offline HandmaidenofGod

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Re: Do Christians really need the Eucharist?
« Reply #28 on: November 28, 2009, 12:13:18 PM »
So the effect is about the same?  I read my Bible at length and pray and I know and feel the Holy Spirit working in me, showing me the way.  Orthodox don't really have that same tradition of Bible reading or spontaneous-prayerlife mode of connecting with God and so for Orthodox it is eating the Eucharist. 
A different yet equally powerful way of connecting to the same Christian God? 

K

Really? We don't? Funny, every Orthodox priest I have ever met has encouraged me to read the scriptures daily and to pray daily. Most Orthodox prayer books have prayers for throughout the day, and the Church feels so strongly about daily scripture readings that they provided us with a daily lectionary to assist us in our reading of scripture.
But hey, if you say we don't have a tradition of prayer and scripture reading, who am I to question you.  ::)
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Offline Ebor

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Re: Do Christians really need the Eucharist?
« Reply #29 on: November 28, 2009, 02:45:42 PM »
Do you all feel taking the Eucharist has helped you though?

Protestants seem to get by very well without a belief in its real change into blood and body.

K

I do not mean to be difficult, and apologize in advance for any such seeming, but there isn't a monolithic bloc of "Protestants".  I, as an Anglican, do believe in the Real Presence and that the bread and wine become the Body and Blood and that is what I partake of at my parish Eucharist.

Ebor
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Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Do Christians really need the Eucharist?
« Reply #30 on: November 28, 2009, 03:05:28 PM »
I do not mean to be difficult, and apologize in advance for any such seeming, but there isn't a monolithic bloc of "Protestants".  I, as an Anglican, do believe in the Real Presence and that the bread and wine become the Body and Blood and that is what I partake of at my parish Eucharist.

Yes, but even many Anglicans don't consider themselves to be entirely "Protestant", but rather the "Via Media" (middle way) between Catholicism and Protestantism.  The radical reformers like the Anabaptists consider[ed] Lutherans and Anglicans to be just as Satanic as "evil" Rome.

Offline Ebor

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Re: Do Christians really need the Eucharist?
« Reply #31 on: November 28, 2009, 03:19:48 PM »
This is true about the "via media".  Otoh, it is not unknown for Anglicans to be lumped together by some as part of a "Protestant" conglomeration.  It might be wondered if the OP had some divide in mind such as EO, RC and "Protestant" with the attribute that the latter did not have the Eucharist.  If so, then my response is a reply to that.

 :)
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