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Sunday, August 15, 2010

8/16/10 Mark 14:22-26 Blood of the covenant

22 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take it; this is my body." 23 Then he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many," he said to them. 25 "Truly I tell you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God." 26 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

(Dali 1955)

Thoughts: Mark says, "The blood of the covenant which is poured out for many."  The covenants of the Old Testament were sealed in blood (much like the old American Indian "blood brothers" pact).  Christ sealed the promises and relationship of God with us who believe by his death on the cross.  The Last Supper is a remembrance of this, but it is also a re-enacting of the covenant making.  We are reminded of the bond with have with God- sealed by His blood- every time we take the bread and cup.  In this hyper-cyber-age, we are reminded we cannot be Christians alone- but the Lord's Supper is to be celebrated together.  We are together in covenant with God- the covenant of love sealed with his sacrifice. 

Prayer: Today, O Lord, remind me of your covenant- your bond- with me.

John Calvin: "Take eat"- Christ instituted a supper, which the disciples partake in company with each other. It is a diabolical invention, that a man, separating himself from the rest of the company, eats his supper apart.  There is no room for a private celebration [in Calvin's day a priest would distribute bread to all but only the priest would eat it; there were also private masses- both of which Calvin condemned].  We do not offer Christ's body, rather we are invited to take it as He offers to us.
"This is my body"-  The bread, when consecrated is a symbol of Christ's body, but we must also understand what "consecrated" means.  It is consecrated to us, so that bread (which nourishes the body) becomes our spiritual food, not by the whispering and breathing of some, but by the faith of the ones who partake of it.  The consecration is the "conversion" referred to by the ancient doctors of the church.  It is not a change in substance, but a change in purpose (physical to spiritual food).  The thing symbolizing the reality takes on the name of what it symbolizes (metanomy).  Thus baptism is called the "laver of regeneration" (Titus 3:5); the rock from which water flowed is called Christ (1 Cor. 10:4); a dove is called "the Holy Spirit" (Jn. 1:32). Why can we not apply the same sense to the Lord's Supper that is applied to the other sacraments? 

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