Sunday, October 15, 2006

Initial Question....

What is communion?

Ok, to get the ball rolling, I am interested in your reflections on the idea of "communion." What is communion? Of course, for those of us in the Anglican Communion (at least for now...), "Communion" is something confusing enough, but I am also very interested in what "communion" would be, for you? What would it "look like" to have communion? What is needed for it? Can humankind even really know it? (or is it so much dependent upon God that we would only see it dimly...)

[the image is of the "Eagle & Child," the pub in Oxford, England where CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien
and others met to discuss their work , we should be so lucky to have their communion!]

Just for some reflection:

Biblical Roots of Communion
Tradition of Communion
Liturgical aspects of Communion
Sacramental aspects of Communion
Images of Communion

As my thesis title is "An Ecclesiology of Communion," I have some ideas on this (as I have drawn from Bonhoeffer, Rowan Williams, James Cone and others, but I wonder what you think?)

Please comment as you are willing and able ...


Peter Carey said...

What a Wedding Brings...

written by Scott Petersen...(posted by Peter Carey)...

I am starting to work on a wedding sermon and you guessed it, surprise, surprise they chose 1 Cor 13:1-13 as one of their readings about Love. In doing a little preparation I consulted Moffatt's, The First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians (1935)(Hey it was on the cheap cart at the Library) I found that Moffatt had a lot to say about communion as he spoke of Pauls understanding of "the body" and "Love" as the spiritual grace that is to imbue Christian community. While Moffatt was simply exegeting Corinthians I found he had much to say in line with Communion.

"Here (1 Cor 12:12-26) and in the twelfth chapter of Romans, the church is the Body of Christ, a corporate organism, with the many members acting for the common good of vital health and energy."(pg 186)

"We have all been imbued with one spirit, the indwelling spirit at the solemn, decisive moment of baptism...(Paul's) primary idea (is) the differences of function within unity. All are needed by each, and each is needed by all...God has tempered together, with a special regard for the less imposing parts. Members who had no conspicuous gifts must not imagine that they were sub-spiritual or unnecessary to the life of the community. The fear of this, no less than of distinguished leaders giving themselves airs, perhaps even of individual prophets believing that they could discharge most if not all the requisite functions, haunts the apostle as he writes. It was for him one of the factors that made for disunion." (pg 187)

(1 Cor 13: 4-8)
"Love is patient; this is the first and the last word upon it in the survey. It is the crucial test and proof of love that it is long-suffering, able to stand any strain put upon it by human intercourse." (pg 195)

" True love never injures others, nor does it resent injuries at their hands...(love never selfish)points to an avoidance of any unseemly conduct such as that of people who insist upon their own rights or opinions, to the disturbance of the peace o to the damage of the rights of others, by inconsiderate and self-assertive behaviour." (pg 196)

"As for injuries suffered at the hands of others, love bears them without being irritated or exasperated; it does not fly into a paroxysm of anger, resenting the wrong...Love in this sense is never resentful"

"Instead of suspecting and eagerly denouncing the offender, love will be always eager to believe the best. And if the offence proves to be a sad fact, which cannot be overlooked any longer or condoned, in that case love has a further duty; it is always hopeful that the penitent will do better. Hence it is always patient. Love can wait. Once a fault is rebuked, once a member is disciplined by the church (ed note- our inability to have clear lines in the church leads to a practice of faith without the ability to discipline), the spirit of love prompts Christians, as they are Christians, not only to forgive but to show the man that they still believe in him and are ready to stand by him, giving him or her time to pull himself together (see 2 Cor 2:5-8) " (pg 198)

Peter Carey said...

a response to Scott...written by Peter..

Scott, this is a very interesting way to approach communion, and it leads me to think that I need to do some serious reflection on and exegesis of Corinthians as a part of my thesis. I think St. Paul was a genius to use the image of the Body of Christ to talk about communion.

I don't know Moffatt, but he clearly has some interesting things to say.

I think one of the really tough things about this passage, and Moffatt's reflection upon it, is that it is clearly due to God's grace that this communion happens.

I wonder more and more about how we help people to grow into having enough humility, selflessness, and kenosis in order to really be in communion with one another in an authentic way. It's easier to get along with those who look and feel like me than those who might not; but I know from Jesus (and Paul) that it is exactly those "other" folks that I need most ...

...though it is tough to live!

Great stuff; I appreciate your comments and your sharing Moffatt's work!