Community View of the Lord’s Supper (part 6)

Communion celebrates in fact the fullness of the work of the Spirit in three different ways, ways which not only lead to a fuller understanding of the meal itself, but which aid the constant transformation of the community in its mission in this world. The Lord’s Supper points to the fullness of the work of the Spirit in the person of Christ, in bringing unity to the church, and in bringing diversity to the body.

The Eucharistic meal emphasizes first the role the Spirit plays in the person of Christ. The words which are used in the celebration emphasize the sacrifice of Christ for our salvation. The Church is gathered to celebrate and remember the sacrifice of Christ for our salvation, this salvation which is now mediated to us by the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. “Salvation,” Miroslav Volf writes, “is communion with God and human beings.” The role of the Spirit in the life and work of Jesus is absolutely vital in his communion with the Father, and now with our communion with the Triune God. “It was by the Spirit,” Clark Pinnock suggests, “that Jesus was conceived, anointed, empowered, commissioned, directed, and raised up.” the Holy Spirit is the one present now with us bringing us into this communion, communion which was enabled by Christ on the cross, but which is effected by the Spirit who both calls and fills us with the reality of this communion, a communion which likewise anoints, empowers, commissions, directs and raises up. The proclamation of the work of Christ in this world and in our own lives is accomplished by the Spirit who in all things is represented through Christ’s own name. Moltmann stresses the fact that “the risen Christ lives from, and in, the eternal Spirit, and that the divine Spirit of life acts in and through him.”

This interpenetration of the divine persons suggests that the eating of the elements in the Eucharistic fellowship is the partaking of not simply a representation of Christ’s body, but is also the celebration of the work that the Spirit is doing in us through the work of Christ. The celebration of the Eucharist reminds us in a profound way the manner in which the Spirit has already and is still working in our lives as a community and as individuals, allowing us to partake in communion with the divine. Orthodox theologian, Vladimir Lossky writes, “That which is common to the Father and the Son is the divinity which the Holy Spirit communicates to men within the Church, in making them ‘partakers of the divine nature’, in conferring the fire of deity, uncreated grace, upon those who become members of the Body of Christ.” Without understanding this dimension of the Holy Spirit, the Eucharist becomes binarian, wrongly understanding how Christ works in the life of the community. This leads then to a governmental representation which in effect emphasizes the role of one over the many, rather than, as Paul seeks to highlight, emphasizing all equally.

“It is,” Moltmann states, “from the Spirit that we expect the gift of eternal life, the raising of the dead, the rebirth of everything living, and the new creation of all things.” This expectation is giving its strongest emphasis in the Eucharist feast which looks both to the past and to the future in the present community, tying together, ,the study of Christ and the study of God’s continued, future works. The “Holy Spirit comes at the cost of Christ’s departure; the price of his coming is the cross, and he comes in the power of the Easter mystery”, events all commemorated in the fellowship of the Lord’s Supper. This suggests the Eucharist is a profound event of the Holy Spirit which celebrates the past, present and future perspectives that constitute this meal as a whole. The work of Christ in us is the work of the Spirit in our midst, highlighting, giving new and insightful perspectives into the reality of who Christ was and what he did. The Lord’s Supper reminds and restores this understanding and hopefully renews the emphasis in our community life, elevating our hearts and minds to an increased awareness of, and thankfulness for, the Divine.

This entry was posted in communitarian view, emerging church, emerging theology, Holy Spirit, Jesus, theology. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *