Monday, June 09, 2008

Eucharist

Early yesterday morning, while I walked out from my home towards the bus-stop for Sunday service, anticipating the Holy Communion, I asked myself, "Where is Jesus Christ?"

Then I turned my question to Nalika and asked her. She told me that Jesus Christ is everywhere. I pointed to the wall at Tiong Bahru's market and asked, "Is Jesus Christ there?", and then I pointed to the brick which I will be stepping on, and I asked, "Is Jesus Christ here?"

Nalika seemed troubled by my weirdness that morning. Then I elaborate more to her about my wonderment. "If Jesus Christ was risen bodily", I said, "and not merely spirit, but with a body that can be touched like any other material in our experience, then where is He now?"

The question was kept aside for a while.

During the time of Holy Communion, when I received the bread on my hand, I held it up and looked at it. I was reminded of the question again. And I turned to nalika and whispered, "psst...psst... Jesus Christ is here".
She looked at me and rebuked, "That's just a symbol, dear". I gasped. With haste, I took the pew Bible and turned it to John 6. With gasp, I showed it to her. It is written, "For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink".

Then I turned to Luke 24. It is written, "When Jesus was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight."

Then I recalled what Ben Myer wrote:
...how can we understand Jesus’ continuing embodied reality today?... if Jesus is forever embodied as a human being, then where in the world is he? (An alternative way of answering this question... is Robert Jenson’s elegant proposal: Jesus is ascended bodily into heaven; and the location of heaven is the eucharistic altar.)
Then I partook the communion.

These are some thoughts to share on the Eucharist. And to those who prefers symbolic reading of the Eucharist, you may go and comfort yourself with Jon Bloom, the Exe Director of Desiring God.

2 comments:

The Inquisitor said...

I'm sure the Rome, Constantinople and Canterbury would be happy to have you, oh, and also the Luthereans. :D Do you know that St. Andrew's Cathedral official stance on the Eucharist is co-substantiation? Yup...so Christ is physically present in the elements according to them.

Sze Zeng said...

Hi Dom,

Thank you for highlighting that. I didn't know St. Andrew's theology is like that.