Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Heading onto Home Turf

This Blur of a week is about to drop out of light speed as I sit in the departure lounge, waiting for a connecting flight to Charlotte. Though I sit here in my requisite wrangler's and black tee-shirt, my jacket is on the ready for touchdown in Northern Virginia and the ride back to Suburbia Majora. There's been little time for reverie over the past days, though I've had some time to consider the celebration of the Eucharist in our post modern world. In the initial analysis, I've seen that the celebration of this Divine Mystery ranges from the orthodox to the outright heretical.

Christian-American though on the Eucharist ranges from the Transubstantiationist to the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB)/Chickensian viewpoint. While the former holds to one erroneous view, the latter believes that "observing" communion more than once in a year makes the pastor a an agent of the Vatican. The one literally worships the physical elements while the other deconstructs them to mere symbols. In this, I believe that both parties have missed the target and the historic orthodox understanding of the Eucharist.

It took the Church nearly one thousand years and vigorous debate to arrive at the doctrine of Transubstantiation. In the wake, some incredulous hagiography and legend was spun out of whole cloth as to bread physically transforming into flesh and wine/water into human blood. On the eve of the reformation and Trent, acceptance of the doctrine was a salvific issue. Calvin, Luther, and the Anglican Reformers thoroughly repudiated this teaching and the idolatry that followed.

The Anabaptists and other forerunners of today's IFB and Pentecostal/Charismatic churches took an almost iconoclastic stance towards the Eucharist, removing any hue of "Mystery" and stripping it of its Sacramental status.

I'll continue these thoughts in Charlotte...

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