Service for Christian Unity,
Thursday, April, 29th, 2021
Symbolisme in the Lord’s Supper
Eberhard Arnold (1883-1935) a german protestant theologian and writer, with his wife Emmy founder of the Bruderhof Community (1920).
When Jesus instituted the meal of remembrance, he spoke of surrendering his life and sacrificing his blood and his body.
There is a deep connection between the events of that last supper- eating the sacrificial lamb, eating the bread, and drinking the wine- and Jesus’ proclamation of forgiveness, unity, and the future kingdom. These all belong together.
Jesus used the sacrifice of the lamb to explain to those gathered with him at table what the sacrifice death. (1 Cor 5:7, Acts 8: 32-33). So for us as for the first Christians, everything we eat becomes a thanksgiving for a sacrifice. Every meal together in a communal lovemeal, a thank-offering, a meal of remembrance. We should give great thanks to God each time we gather for a meal. What we give thanks for is not that our own appetites, our own interests, are satisfied. We give thanks for the sacrifice of the plants and animals God gives us so that may live for unity, which is God’s will; so that our lives are sustained and we can go on witnessing to God’s kingdom by living in the communal church. (September 1934)
Eberhard Arnold, God’s Revolution, The Plough Publishing House 1997, p 74.
Prepared by our brothers and sisters from Nazareth in Holy Land.
To adapt according to the place of worship
1/ For ten years Chemin Neuf Community welcomed pilgrims in Nazareth, in the Mary of Nazareth International Centre, offering a multimedia biblical course recounting the story of Salvation from Genesis to the resurrection. At the end of the week, the keys and the management of the Centre will be returned to Holy Land Custody.
Lord, we thank you for this place which has allowed the accompaniment of thousands of Christians all of different faith through their pilgrimage, and the meeting with the local Christian population as well as the Jewish or the Muslim ones. We pray that the seeds scattered on the land for the last ten years continue to bear fruits and that this place lives its vocation of welcoming and of announcing the Good News.
2/ On Sunday the orthodox Churches celebrate the resurrection of Christ, one month after the occidental Churches. Lord we thank you for your Church resources and diversity, and all the steps towards unity achieved in the last decade.
Grant us, Lord, to be able to proclaim your resurrection so that this visible unity be a witness to the world.
3/In Mark’s gospel (16, 6-7) we hear this word of faith: “There is no need to be so amazed. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified? He has risen, he is not here ……… He is going ahead of you to Galilee.”
The town of Nazareth, at the heart of Galilee, is the place where Jesus has shared our humanity, living a simple and ordinary life. With the unexpected circumstances we are experiencing, we are invited to meet the Risen One in the humility and intimacy of our daily life.
Grant us, Lord, to see the fruits flourishing in the silence of our every day life.