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Author Topic: Focus on crucifixion during Divine Liturgy?  (Read 457 times) Average Rating: 0
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Anna.T
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« on: April 14, 2014, 01:40:24 PM »

This might more properly go in "faith" and if so, I apologize?

I was just wondering something. (And sorry, this is very basic I'm sure, I'm still new to all of this.)

The "point" of the Divine Liturgy is really about the Sacrament of the Eucharist, isn't it? And much of the liturgical reading leads up to that. I know it talks about the Last Supper and mentions the Eucharist as gifts, many times.

What I am wondering is, when I listen to this, my focus seems to be continually drawn to the Crucifixion, rather than necessarily the Last Supper or something else.

Is that an appropriate focus, would you say, from an Orthodox point of view?

I guess (and I may be wrong) something is making me feel as though it is the Crucifixion that "makes the Eucharist real" if that makes sense.

I suppose I am asking because I know there are charges leveled against Catholic that Christ is "re-sacrificed" (whether the charges are accurate or not, I don't know). And I want to make sure that my focus and mindset are really appropriate.

Thanks if anyone has any comments?
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« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2014, 01:49:11 PM »

The Divine Liturgy is a celebration of Christ's whole life, but especially His Resurrection.  Even during Lent, the Divine Liturgy points us to Christ trampling death by death.
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« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2014, 02:17:14 PM »

This might more properly go in "faith" and if so, I apologize?

I was just wondering something. (And sorry, this is very basic I'm sure, I'm still new to all of this.)

The "point" of the Divine Liturgy is really about the Sacrament of the Eucharist, isn't it? And much of the liturgical reading leads up to that. I know it talks about the Last Supper and mentions the Eucharist as gifts, many times.

What I am wondering is, when I listen to this, my focus seems to be continually drawn to the Crucifixion, rather than necessarily the Last Supper or something else.

Is that an appropriate focus, would you say, from an Orthodox point of view?

I guess (and I may be wrong) something is making me feel as though it is the Crucifixion that "makes the Eucharist real" if that makes sense.

I suppose I am asking because I know there are charges leveled against Catholic that Christ is "re-sacrificed" (whether the charges are accurate or not, I don't know). And I want to make sure that my focus and mindset are really appropriate.

Thanks if anyone has any comments?

I invite fellow members to correct me or add to what I write. I seem to recall the following main points on this subject.

1. The view that Christ is re-sacrificed is based on a particularly Western understanding of "do this in remembrance of me." This is understood to mean to remember what happened in the past, to recollect. But, in the original Greek, the word "remembrance" or "anamnesis" means more than to recollect; it means to experience as if we are present as an eye witness. Thus, in the Divine Liturgy, we are at his side as he is sacrificed for our sins, once and for all, but this is so because we are transported to Golgotha in time through the Grace of God, just as we experience His Resurrection, Transfiguration and Ascension, etc...

"On this day Thou didst rise from the tomb, O Merciful One,
leading us from the gates of death.
On this day Adam exults as Eve rejoices;
with the prophets and patriarchs they unceasingly praise the divine majesty of Thy power!" Kontakion, Tone 3

"Today He who hung the earth upon the waters is hung on the tree,
The King of the angels is decked with a crown of thorns.
He who wraps the heavens in clouds is wrapped in the purple of mockery.
He who freed Adam in the Jordan is slapped on the face.
The Bridegroom of the Church is affixed to the Cross with nails.
The Son of the virgin is pierced by a spear.
We worship Thy passion, O Christ.
We worship Thy passion, O Christ.
We worship Thy passion, O Christ.
Show us also Thy glorious resurrection.." 15th Antiphon, Holy Friday

Note that the hymns talk about the Resurrection and the Crucifixion as if they are happening the very day that the hymn is being sung.

2. The view that the Eucharist emphasizes Christ's crucifixion may be true in the case of Roman Catholicism and all of the Protestant denominations that flowed from her. I will let our RC members talk to this point. All I can say is that, if there is an emphasis in Orthodox Christianity, it is on Christ's Resurrection, not his Crucifixion.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2014, 02:21:39 PM by Carl Kraeff (Second Chance) » Logged

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Anna.T
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« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2014, 02:29:42 PM »

Thank you both.

It seems my focus is not correct then, and I wanted to know that. Thank you.

Now I'm not sure why I am so repeatedly reminded of the Crucifixion during the Liturgy.

I do not think much of the Resurrection. But strangely I think of the Ascension.

Thank you. I'm not sure what to do with this, but I will pray about it and think about it.
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« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2014, 02:38:30 PM »

Thank you both.

It seems my focus is not correct then, and I wanted to know that. Thank you.

Now I'm not sure why I am so repeatedly reminded of the Crucifixion during the Liturgy.

I do not think much of the Resurrection. But strangely I think of the Ascension.

Thank you. I'm not sure what to do with this, but I will pray about it and think about it.

Don't think of it as "not correct", but rather "it's not the end."  Christ's sole purpose was not just to die.  We all die, so there wouldn't have been a reason for the Incarnation and the entire ministry of Christ if He just died.  If that was it, then we'd just be reading about a pretty good Jewish guy that was executed.  In the Liturgy, we are surrounded with the language of worship of not a mere man, but God in the flesh.  Yes, in Church we see icons of Christ's Passion, but we also see His Resurrection.  The whole life of Christ is important.  Keep praying! Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2014, 03:21:14 PM »

Thank you both.

It seems my focus is not correct then, and I wanted to know that. Thank you.

Now I'm not sure why I am so repeatedly reminded of the Crucifixion during the Liturgy.

I do not think much of the Resurrection. But strangely I think of the Ascension.

Thank you. I'm not sure what to do with this, but I will pray about it and think about it.

Don't think of it as "not correct", but rather "it's not the end."  Christ's sole purpose was not just to die.  We all die, so there wouldn't have been a reason for the Incarnation and the entire ministry of Christ if He just died.  If that was it, then we'd just be reading about a pretty good Jewish guy that was executed.  In the Liturgy, we are surrounded with the language of worship of not a mere man, but God in the flesh.  Yes, in Church we see icons of Christ's Passion, but we also see His Resurrection.  The whole life of Christ is important.  Keep praying! Smiley

Thank you so much. Smiley

You are of course correct. I think when I have a more solid appreciation for how we are healed of sin and ultimately reconciled to God, then I think my focus will naturally expand.

I think this is a case of getting past some Protestant ideas. I thank you for your post. Smiley And I will keep praying about it. Smiley
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« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2014, 03:58:24 PM »

The "point" of the Divine Liturgy is really about the Sacrament of the Eucharist, isn't it? And much of the liturgical reading leads up to that. I know it talks about the Last Supper and mentions the Eucharist as gifts, many times.

I suppose you could say that the "point" of the Liturgy is the Eucharist, but it would have to be understood properly.

Quote
What I am wondering is, when I listen to this, my focus seems to be continually drawn to the Crucifixion, rather than necessarily the Last Supper or something else.

Is that an appropriate focus, would you say, from an Orthodox point of view?

I would certainly say it is, but again, it has to be understood properly.  See below.

Quote
I guess (and I may be wrong) something is making me feel as though it is the Crucifixion that "makes the Eucharist real" if that makes sense.

Christ instituted the Eucharist on the night before he offered himself on the Cross, and it is fundamentally linked to that sacrifice.  In fact, they are one and the same sacrifice.  He offered himself once for all upon the Cross in a "bloody" manner, and that same sacrifice is re-presented to us in the Eucharist in a bloodless manner.  He is not sacrificed again and again, and yet the one sacrifice is eternal.  In both the (historical) Crucifixion and the Eucharist, the priest is the same (Christ) and the sacrifice offered is the same (Christ).  In our Eucharist, the bread and the wine are consecrated separately, indicating by the separation of blood from body the death of the sacrificed. 

And yet, we know that the Eucharist is the living Christ, crucified and risen.  We do not receive the flesh and blood of a dead man, but of Christ who died once and was raised, never to die again.  We unite the consecrated bread and wine together before receiving them to indicate the "reunion" of blood with body which points to the life of the sacrificed.  In doing so, we profess the unitary nature of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection.  We don't focus only on the Crucifixion or only on the Resurrection: we speak of them, to an extent, as separate matters when appropriate, but our comprehensive understanding is that they are one "event", and cannot really be properly understood in isolation. 

The same goes for the Liturgy.  I think it's wonderful that your mind and heart are drawn to the Crucifixion when you worship in the Liturgy, but if it "stays" there in a way similar to some stereotypically "Western" pious excesses, you're not going to really understand and enter into it properly.  In reality, it's about the Crucifixion, but it's also about the Burial, the Resurrection, the Ascension, the Second Coming and the Judgement, and it's also about the Incarnation, the Birth, the Baptism, the preaching and life of the Kingdom, etc.  It's about Christ.  The whole Christ.  The whole gospel.     
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« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2014, 04:24:03 PM »

Thank you both.

It seems my focus is not correct then, and I wanted to know that. Thank you.

Now I'm not sure why I am so repeatedly reminded of the Crucifixion during the Liturgy.

I do not think much of the Resurrection. But strangely I think of the Ascension.

Thank you. I'm not sure what to do with this, but I will pray about it and think about it.

Anna, you should focus on the crucifixion, but because the Liturgy is about the totality of Christ's saving work, which includes his incarnation, His Baptism, His Last Supper, HIs betrayal, His teaching, His Humiliation, His Death, His Resurrection, His Ascension and His final judgment, you are called upon to remember those too.  In fact, in the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom as well as that of St. Basil the Great (with some different wording), during the anaphora, we are to "recall all those things that have come to pass for us: the cross, the grave, the third day resurrection, the Ascension into heaven and the second and glorious coming."
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« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2014, 10:18:01 AM »

While consecrating the Eucharist the Priest says the lines from the last supper about the bread and wine being the body and blood (for the remission of sins).   
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« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2014, 11:33:38 AM »


What I am wondering is, when I listen to this, my focus seems to be continually drawn to the Crucifixion, rather than necessarily the Last Supper or something else.

Is that an appropriate focus, would you say, from an Orthodox point of view?

I guess (and I may be wrong) something is making me feel as though it is the Crucifixion that "makes the Eucharist real" if that makes sense.

I don't see how being drawn to the Crucifixion could be considered inappropriate (except, perhaps, if one is having gory fantasies about the crucifixion, but that goes for the other works of Christ as well). The Divine Liturgy is a Christian service.

"As memorials of His saving passion, He has left us these gifts which we have set forth before You according to His commands." -Divine Liturgy of St. Basil
« Last Edit: April 16, 2014, 11:38:44 AM by NicholasMyra » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2014, 02:00:58 PM »

Thank you everyone,

My apologies for not having time to make in-depth replies. This week is so much more busy than usual for me.

I have been reading and re-reading the responses though. I am gradually soaking into meditating on all of the events of the life of Christ.

I think I am just trying to change my mindset from what I was taught. I appreciate all of the input from everyone here. Smiley

May you all have a blessed Holy Week, and a wonderful Pascha! Smiley
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My replies should not be taken as representing Orthodox teaching - I am only just learning myself.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
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