Wednesday, March 01, 2006

One in Christ, One in the Eucharist

The Didache

This early document, The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, dates back to around AD 100. (See The Way of the Fathers: "The Time Capsule" for more background.) It begins with a discussion of the Two Ways, one of Life, and one of Death. There follows ethical, and then liturgical instruction.

From an early Eucharistic prayer:
As this broken bread was scattered over the hills and then, when gathered, became one mass, so may Thy Church be gathered from the ends of the earth into They Kingdom. (9.4)
And yes, you might take note that we have a record of prayers of consecration over the braead and wine (apparently in the context of a communal meal) as well as a post-communion prayer circa 100. I find it interesting that there's not a particular sacramental theology, but the prayers give thanks for Jesus and connect the bread and wine to the unity of the Church and God's provision in creation. There is further instruction on the sheltering of itinerant prophets, and warning against those who "trade in Christ" (12.5).

I've been doing some reading on the eschatological nature of the Eucharist: the rite itself is a sign and symbol of the new world that was inaugurated by the Risen Lord. For those who are part of the community, the Eucharist is a participation of redemption, and for those at odds, it is a sign of judgment. In the cross, we have been reconciled to God and to one another, and we offer ourselves on the altar. Therefore,
"On the Lord's own day, assemble in common to break bread and offer thanks; but first confess your sins, so that your sacrifice may be pure. However, no one quarreling with his brother may join your meeting until they are reconciled; your sacrifice must not be defiled. For here we have the saying of the Lord: 'In every place and time offer me a pure sacrifice; for I am a mighty King, says the Lord; and my name spreads terror among the nations'" (Didache 14).
Ben Finger is also blogging the Didache.
Find the reading plan here.

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Beppe said...

Ma per piacere!

Kyle said...

Yes, that's right.

Anonymous said...

I love this whole idea of lent!!! The person who invented it must have been a genius!