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Author Topic: The Lord's Supper  (Read 1346 times) Average Rating: 0
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strangerintheland
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« on: February 23, 2011, 05:36:07 AM »

Hi all,

This is my introductory post on the Orthodox Christianity.net forum. Basically, my 26 year journey as a reformed Protestant
came to an end in 2008 with the discovery of the literal or realist interpretation of the Lord's Supper. The fact is I don't feel
at home on Protestant forums where I have participated in the past. I have never been to an orthodox church and have never
discussed matters of faith with orthodox Christians, so I hope to start here, learn and restart the journey of faith. 

In Christ
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« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2011, 09:02:17 AM »

Welcome I  can only post in brief spurts during breaks at work but others will add depth as the day goes on.
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« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2011, 09:24:27 AM »

Welcome! Can you elaborate more on the Lord's Supper point, or on what questions you have/what you are looking for?

I'm also relatively new to all this, and I've found this forum to be awfully helpful, particularly the convert issues board.
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« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2011, 10:55:14 AM »

Welcome!
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« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2011, 11:27:23 AM »


Welcome to the forum!  If you have any questions please feel free to ask.  We'll do our best to help you out.

Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2011, 12:23:23 PM »

Welcome.

I once belonged to a group of Protestant churches that called themselves "Restoration Movement" churches (more commonly now called Stone-Campbell churches) which used names like Christian church, or church of Christ, and were also historically tied to the Disciples of Christ churches.

In their teaching baptism is essentially a sacrament (though they would not label it such).  That is, in the act of immersion, God's saving grace is experienced.  Baptism was considered an essential act for salvation to occur.  They came to this position on basically a straightforward ("literal") reading of the New Testament passages on baptism.

Conversely, they did not apply the same straightforward interpretive method regarding the New Testament passages on the Lord's Supper (and especially failed to take into account 1 Corinthians 10:16-17).  The Lord's Supper was entirely a memorial.  (That said, the churches were very strict about observing it every Lord's Day, and the solemnity with which it was observed--in my experience--was truly moving; elders of the church would brush tears from their eyes as they partook of the communion elements.)

While still a student at one of the Bible colleges for these groups, I recognized the discordant interpretive practices and devised an "experiment" of sorts: I interpreted the Lord's Supper passages with the same methodology as I did the baptism passages.

I came to the conclusion that the Lord's Supper was more than a memorial.  Because I knew nothing of the Orthodox Church (or that it even existed), I was hesitant to go "all Roman Catholic" but I could not deny the conclusion I'd come to.

About seventeen or eighteen years later I was chrismated and received into the Orthodox Church.

Feel free to post your questions.
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« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2011, 02:04:00 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
Hi all,

This is my introductory post on the Orthodox Christianity.net forum. Basically, my 26 year journey as a reformed Protestant
came to an end in 2008 with the discovery of the literal or realist interpretation of the Lord's Supper. The fact is I don't feel
at home on Protestant forums where I have participated in the past. I have never been to an orthodox church and have never
discussed matters of faith with orthodox Christians, so I hope to start here, learn and restart the journey of faith.  

In Christ

Selam and welcome to the forum!  I am quite amazed at the Spirit of God, which always transcends the limits of our current realities and instead empowers us to feel and know things even before they come to our eyes!  The Real Presence is not only a fundamental doctrine of the Church, it is they very purpose and centrality of Christianity.  Jesus Christ did not simply come to earth and leave, rather through the Communion we are allowed to continually stand before His Real Presence, truly and tangibly, and even receive it as a Divine meal!  Christianity that rejects the Real Presence willfully deprives itself of living and growing in the actual connection with Jesus Christ.  We go to Church each Sunday to be directly near the real Jesus Christ, not to wait for Him to come to us later and honestly I wonder what brings Protestants to Church.  Church without the Real Presence of the Divine Liturgy is just a bible study, where as the Orthodox Liturgy is a miraculous, divine, mysterious, and active force of God changing our lives in very real ways. Christianity is not about waiting for God, it is about ever-living with God in everything we are and do.  It is the operative Grace of God which gives us every aspect of our lives, and it is through the Incarnation and the Real Presence that we are given access to this grace.

That being said, I applaud your faith in our Savior, in believing in the Real Presence without even yet experiencing it! Christ spoke well of folks like you who know Him without yet seeing or perceiving Him, so please, pray to find a parish that is yours.  Let God bring you to your first Orthodox Liturgy, so that you, like the Apostles before us, can meet Jesus Christ face to face and stand in His Real Presence before the Altar.

I imagine you must have some questions Smiley

Stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2011, 03:27:25 PM »

Good afternoon Strangerintheland! May the Lord guide and protect you during your spiritual quest. There have been many threads on this subject, but it may be best if you would just ask your questions here and see what kind of discussion they generate. I would second all who have posted before me that the Lord's Supper, which we Orthodox call the Holy Eucharist, is central to our lives as the disciples of the Lord. If you like to read, there are many books on the subject. I recommend Father Alexander Schmemann's For the Life of the World, which was primarily written for Orthodox Christians but may be of benefit as you have already spend much effort and time to come to your present conclusion regarding a "literal or realist interpretation" of the Holy Eucharist. In Christ, Kyrilll
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« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2011, 03:37:11 PM »

Welcome to the forum, stranger! Smiley
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« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2011, 06:02:23 PM »

Welcome to the forum!
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« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2011, 06:42:57 PM »

Understood; i took you to mean that the question of the literal presence was what you were investigating, rather than that it's reality had brought you top where you are now.

I understand this entirely; for me the Protestantism of my roots (barely, even so) was a non-starter because of that very reality.

In Christ,
Jim
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« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2011, 07:48:14 AM »

Thank you all so much for the welcome. Where to start?  Perhaps John 6 is a good place.

In John 6 the disciples who asked: How can this man give us His flesh to eat? asked the right question but departed from Jesus when he kept insisting: whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life.

The departing from Jesus is a wrong faith response to what I think was the right question. So I kept the question but had to depart from those who I perceived had departed from Jesus because of this very issue. In this I see mirrored the Protestant departure from 'whoever eats the flesh and drinks the blood has eternal life'. Does this mean whoever does not 'has no life in them'? This is more or less  started in 2008. 

JimCBrooklyn,  So what am I looking for? Restoration as a son of God. 

CDHealy,  "The Lord's Supper was entirely a memorial." This is the prevailing Protestant mindset. Your account except for changes in names (of churches) and places is pretty close to mine.

HabteSelassie,  a glimpse of the Orthodox faith! So reformed Protestants appear to have replaced the sacrament of the Eucharist with the preaching of the Word.

Second Chance,  Thanks for the recommendation 'For the Life of the World'.  I can browse through related  treads to see what's there.


Any links to useful Orthodox websites would be appreciated. A few respondents asked if I have questions. Not at this stage - I've yet to source the resources from which questions would arise.

About Orthodox perceptions about Protestantism.  Would anyone care to offer a long term prognosis for Protestantism? What is the end of Protestantism? i.e the sum of protestantism


blessings:
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« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2011, 08:44:34 AM »

Welcome to the board Stranger. 

I do hope you'll be able to find an Orthodox parish in your area and attend some services.  Try to make an appointment with the priest and ask for his recommendations.  The best way to begin is to come and see.

I first visited an Orthodox church when I had no liturgical background and it can be overwhelming.  Don't let that put you off.    I think this pastor's experience sums up many people's first experience with an Orthodox service:

http://reallivepreacher.com/node/1422

Quote
Shelby and Lillian went with us. On the way we warned them that this was going to be different. “They might not have changed their worship service much in a thousand years or so,” I told the girls.
 
That was an understatement.

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« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2011, 04:23:05 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
Thank you all so much for the welcome. Where to start?  Perhaps John 6 is a good place.

In John 6 the disciples who asked: How can this man give us His flesh to eat? asked the right question but departed from Jesus when he kept insisting: whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life.

The departing from Jesus is a wrong faith response to what I think was the right question. So I kept the question but had to depart from those who I perceived had departed from Jesus because of this very issue. In this I see mirrored the Protestant departure from 'whoever eats the flesh and drinks the blood has eternal life'. Does this mean whoever does not 'has no life in them'? This is more or less  started in 2008. 

JimCBrooklyn,  So what am I looking for? Restoration as a son of God. 

CDHealy,  "The Lord's Supper was entirely a memorial." This is the prevailing Protestant mindset. Your account except for changes in names (of churches) and places is pretty close to mine.

HabteSelassie,  a glimpse of the Orthodox faith! So reformed Protestants appear to have replaced the sacrament of the Eucharist with the preaching of the Word.

Second Chance,  Thanks for the recommendation 'For the Life of the World'.  I can browse through related  treads to see what's there.


Any links to useful Orthodox websites would be appreciated. A few respondents asked if I have questions. Not at this stage - I've yet to source the resources from which questions would arise.

About Orthodox perceptions about Protestantism.  Would anyone care to offer a long term prognosis for Protestantism? What is the end of Protestantism? i.e the sum of protestantism


blessings:

Yes, the Protestants unfortunately (but indeed out of the sincerity of their faith) worked with all they had left themselves when rejecting the Sacramentality of the Church.  All they have left is the Bible, it is all they willfully left themselves with.  The Sola Scripture mentality is that God ONLY operates through the Scriptures, that the Word of God is not necessarily the Second Person of the Trinity (IE a real, living, tangible Savior who comes to us in this real life in very real ways of the Sacraments) but rather is the Words of the Bible, and that God speaks to us through these Words.  However, God comes to us in many ways, not just the Scriptures.  However these were honestly working with all they had, and we can applaud them in their faith, but also easily see how they could get so mixed up with nothing else.
In the Church, our Priests as the Apostles bring us through the Holy Spirit the Sacraments of God.  They bring us the Real Presence, the tangible and operative powers of God in our lives, to heal us, to console us, to vivify us, to give us life and give it to us abundantly.  Whereas in the Protestant, all they have is the Scriptures, so on Sundays (and any days really) this is all their clergy have to offer the people, and it is simply not enough.  God precisely gave us the Sacraments because the Torah was not enough.  If there was a law that could give life, then surely life would come from the law, but rather the Law condemns us all to death.  However, what the Law inherently could not do because it was weak and ineffectual , God did directly in sending us His Son, who receive each Sunday in the Flesh and Blood (amen!)

Essentially, the doctrine of the Real Presence, of the canabalistic feasting on the Flesh and Blood of God, is supposed to confuse us, to bewilder us, to makes us unsure of it all.  In this incertainty, we can experience God, aside from the limits of our pretensions.  The Real Presence is not supposed to make any kind of reasonable sense, and yet that is the point, God is senseless because He is beyond sensibilities.  He is God!  Those who reject the Real Presence (be it in any age, the Apostolic or the contemporary or any in between) are simply relishing in their mutual confusion of the Sacraments, but instead of trying to understand this Mystery with their comprehension, they should simply try to stand in midst of God and experience it directly, with the heart and soul, not the mind. The Protestant mindset could not make sense of the Mystery, so instead it changed it to a symbol, but regardless of their misunderstanding, we cannot change God.  It is actually better that these remain in confusion, for as they grope around feeling in the darkness of their ignorance surely they will actually find God directly as the rest of us in time have Wink

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2011, 06:43:02 PM »

Thank you all so much for the welcome. Where to start?  Perhaps John 6 is a good place.

In John 6 the disciples who asked: How can this man give us His flesh to eat? asked the right question but departed from Jesus when he kept insisting: whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life.

The departing from Jesus is a wrong faith response to what I think was the right question. So I kept the question but had to depart from those who I perceived had departed from Jesus because of this very issue. In this I see mirrored the Protestant departure from 'whoever eats the flesh and drinks the blood has eternal life'. Does this mean whoever does not 'has no life in them'? This is more or less  started in 2008.  

JimCBrooklyn,  So what am I looking for? Restoration as a son of God.  

CDHealy,  "The Lord's Supper was entirely a memorial." This is the prevailing Protestant mindset. Your account except for changes in names (of churches) and places is pretty close to mine.

HabteSelassie,  a glimpse of the Orthodox faith! So reformed Protestants appear to have replaced the sacrament of the Eucharist with the preaching of the Word.

Second Chance,  Thanks for the recommendation 'For the Life of the World'.  I can browse through related  treads to see what's there.


Any links to useful Orthodox websites would be appreciated. A few respondents asked if I have questions. Not at this stage - I've yet to source the resources from which questions would arise.

About Orthodox perceptions about Protestantism.  Would anyone care to offer a long term prognosis for Protestantism? What is the end of Protestantism? i.e the sum of protestantism


blessings:

I second the For the Life of the World recommendation, but even more so, recommend the book The Eucharist (that's its Russian title at least, so I assume it's the same in English) by the same author, Alexander Schmemann. Based on your comments, I think it'd be RIGHT up your alley.

One idea that stands out to me, in defining Orthodoxy, or what brought me to it (other than research, which is a whole other dept.), as opposed to Roman Catholicism or Protestantism, is that the mysterious nature of God, of His Trinity, of the sacraments, etc., is just that: mysterious, wonderful, and possessing of such an endlessness that once we delve in we can't stop. Catholicism attempts to define or justify these mysteries to too great of an extent, and Protestantism is terrified of them, and disregards almost all sense of divine mystery, certainly sacramental.

Again that's just my take, and it may be a superficial/stereotypical take, but it was my first impression once I started looking into Orthodoxy, and it remains such.

I definitely urge you to read The Eucharist, though.

In Christ,
Jim
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« Reply #15 on: February 25, 2011, 05:48:11 PM »

...In their teaching baptism is essentially a sacrament (though they would not label it such).  That is, in the act of immersion, God's saving grace is experienced.  Baptism was considered an essential act for salvation to occur.  They came to this position on basically a straightforward ("literal") reading of the New Testament passages on baptism.

Conversely, they did not apply the same straightforward interpretive method regarding the New Testament passages on the Lord's Supper (and especially failed to take into account 1 Corinthians 10:16-17).  The Lord's Supper was entirely a memorial. 

Yeah, that always puzzled me.  Huh
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« Reply #16 on: February 25, 2011, 05:49:21 PM »

...and Protestantism is terrified of them, and disregards almost all sense of divine mystery, certainly sacramental.


Love it!  Grin
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« Reply #17 on: March 25, 2011, 02:13:33 PM »

One idea that stands out to me, in defining Orthodoxy... as opposed to Roman Catholicism or Protestantism, is that the mysterious nature of God, of His Trinity, of the sacraments, etc... Catholicism attempts to define ... these mysteries to too great of an extent, and Protestantism is terrified of them, and disregards almost all sense of divine mystery, certainly sacramental.

I think there is a lot of truth in this statement. I think the word "terrified" is not the right one; maybe it would be more accurate to say we Protestants (or western people) tend to be too cerebral, too analytical, too logical. It is one of those things about which I posted on another thread, saying that if Orth and Prot would only accept each other as fellow Christians, we might learn a lot from each other, without losing hold of the truth we have already grasped.
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« Reply #18 on: March 31, 2011, 06:57:03 AM »

Welcome!

My confessor is fond of saying that Holy Mass (and by extension, the Divine Liturgy) is the "piercing" of eternity and the temporal world.  That is, the re-presentation of the Sacrifice of the Son to the Father, and the perpetual presence of the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ in the perpetual celebration of the Mass and Divine Liturgy, ensures that the temporal frame is intrinsically saturated in the Holy Trinity and sacramental grace.  

This is the beauty of apostolic Christianity: the Cross is not a "once and for all", a historical event, but rather a living reality that the world cannot escape and must always countenance.  Somewhere in the world right now a priest is saying the Canon or invoking the Epiclesis.  Because of this, all of us live our entire lives in the shade of the Tree.  
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