New Church theology captures an “ancient-future” view of Christianity. Restated, it captures a view of Christianity that in many ways pulls us back to the roots of the Christian tradition. Those roots are often not what we think of as “Christian” today – a heavy emphasis on ‘saving’ an individual through a declaration of belief in the atonement of Christ’s sacrifice to take on the sin of world and assuage the wrath of the Father. What it is, as I see it, is a return to the two Great Commandments – Loving God and Loving Others. To pose a simple question, if it was all a “belief” game, as much of modern Christianity presupposes, why would Jesus, God incarnate, have bothered to walk the earth? Why model a life if the only thing that matter is belief?
He obviously had His purposes in choosing to live on this earth, one of which was to show us how to live. In modeling a loving life that gives true, deep, everlasting joy, He modeled partnership. ”God’s divine love had no other purpose in creating the world than to unite humankind to Himself, unite Himself to humankind, and live with us in partnership.” (Emanuel Swedenborg)
And how do we celebrate that partnership? Holy Supper, also called “Communion” or the “Eucharist.”
This past fall we hosted 5 Open Houses. We heard several times the impact that our previous Holy Supper services had on people. So what exactly is “Holy Supper?’
The night before Christ’s death on the Cross at the hands of the Romans, he gathered his 12 disciples (followers) and partook in the Jewish tradition of the Passover meal. At the end of the meal, he spoke of the bread (figuratively his flesh) and the wine (figuratively his blood). They then shared bread and wine.
Christians throughout history in turn celebrate this event by partaking in bread and wine as part of the holy supper. The first Christians actually held it daily. It is then one of the most holy acts of worships, bringing together the three universal elements of the church – God, good will (Bread), and faith (Wine). Maybe another way to explain those elements – God, kindness, and trust. It is ancient-future sacrament – something old and continually new, celebrating what is and calling us to what can be.
Now there is something to celebrate! (Those who partake in the Holy Supper are called “Celebrants.”) In the Greek of the New Testament the term “Eucharisteo,” from which we get “Eucharist” or “Holy Supper,” meant “… to be grateful, feel thankful.”
And part of the celebration is gathering together. It is about the “We” not just the “Me.” In likening it to a dinner party, Swedenborg held that one of the goals was “friendship.” We actively present ourselves to God, aware of our failings, aware of the promise of life – His love and His faith – coming into our core. We do that together but that is how we do it, how we do life – together.
So we hope you join us sometime for Holy Supper. You might be surprised about what this ancient-future sacrament can do! God does want to have adventures with us.