Thoughts to Ponder are my musings regarding community, things of the Spirit, and living as a Christ-follower. I don't offer the words of a professional or an expert; just a fellow traveler and explorer. Please don't take my musings more serious than I do. I've discovered a long time ago that I do not hold the keys of knowledge or wisdom. If I did, I misplaced them somewhere...typical.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Lord's Supper [Quote]

"We cannot begin to understand the meaning of the Lord's Supper without reckoning with the fact that, before everything else, it is a Jewish meal. John Macquarrie recalls a fond memory from his years of teaching at Union Theological Seminary in New York. He was invited on the eve of Shabbat [Sabbath] to supper at the home of rabbi Abrahm Heschel, the great Jewish theologian. At the beginning of the meal, in the warm light of the Shabbat candles, the host took a loaf of bread in his hands and said the brief prayer, called in Hebrew the berakah, which means blessing, or thanksgiving. 'Blessed are you, Lord God, king of the universe, you bring forth bread from the earth.' The rabbi then broke off a piece for himself and distributed the rest to the guests around the table. Macquarrie recalls that at the end of the meal there were more extended thanksgivings. The host took a cup of wine, known as 'the cup of blessing' (see 1 Corinthains 10:16), and said a similar berakah: 'Blessed are you, Lord God, king of the universe, you create the fruit of the vine.'

"Macquarrie says that this scene could hardly fail to remind him of Jesus' last meal with his disciples on the night before he died: 'It is quite possible that he used much the same prayers at the Last Supper as I was now hearing from Abraham Heschel...[I]n Heschel's apartment I had a vivid sense of that Last Supper at which was instituted the Lord's Supper or eucharist, a word which itself means "thanksgiving."'" -Leonard J. Vander Zee, Christ, Baptism and the Lord's Supper, pp 140-141

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