September 26, 2012

What Makes the Eucharist Special? Pt. 2 In Part 1, I explored what it means to see the Eucharist as a symbol, a mystery, and a memorial. I asked if we could hold together the best contributions of each approach. Here, I want to explore what the Eucharist is a symbol and mystery of. Here are four things: 1. It is the Symbol and Mystery of the World and It's Future. [HOPE] The "story of the world" is wrapped up in the story of Christ's death and resurrection. The world was created good, but it has been broken by sin, just as the bread is being broken. The result of this brokenness is death, symbolized by the blood being spilled-- the cup of wine. Christ takes in Himself the brokenness of the world and its resulting death. But the Eucharist doesn't just show how the world's brokenness and death is summed up in Christ; it also shows how resurrection will come to the world! Just as the meal reflects on Christ's death, in a similar way, it points forward to the Great Feast. Isaiah 25 speaks of a Great Feast for all nations. In this poem, the prophet declares that death will be swallowed up in victory! Jesus references this Feast at several points-- particularly in Luke's Gospel-- during His earthly ministry. Paul and John pick up on this theme of a feast representing the renewal and resurrection that will come to God's people. Walter Brueggemann has called this God's "cosmic generousity", a world made new with never-ending bread, and an overflowing cup. Joy abounds in this Feast. 2. It is the Symbol and Mystery of Christ and His Salvation. [SALVATION] The "Lord's Supper" was Christ was participating-- and redefining-- Passover. The Passover is a meal that is itself rooted in a salvation story. It was the...
Five Reasons Why Christians Can (and Should) Be Politically Engaged 1. Jesus is King...Here and Now. Jesus' Kingdom has begun. In theological terms, this is called "inaugurated eschatology": the new Age-- the long awaited "Age to Come" where God brings His saving and restoring rule to earth-- has begun in Christ. This is the surprising announcement in the Gospels-- that in Jesus, God has become King on This Kingdom is a "now and not yet" reality, however, and we find ourselves living between two ages: this present "evil age" and the promised "age to come." When the first Christians called Jesus "Lord" and "Savior", they were taking titles that were used of Caesar-- the greatest ruler of the known world in their day. They were basically calling Caesar a sham because Jesus is the true Lord and Savior. This doesn't make Christians anarchists (people who don't believe in government) or separatists (people who try to function independent of society). Rather, it gives us a message and a grid for public engagement. Jesus' Kingship is not a defense for apathy toward political engagement. Believe me, I understand that an overly-politicized faith has left a bad taste in people's mouths. And it is healthy to remember that God is sovereign over all the nations regardless of election results. But as people who believe that Jesus is the only rightful King of this world now, the Church must be a prophetic voice to the rulers of this world, calling them to account to Christ as King. For us, this means calling politicians on both sides of the aisle to govern in a way that reflects Christ's own wise and loving rule. Suggestion: Set aside your own economic theory and political rhetoric for a moment and ask what Christ the King would say to the "rulers" of our day. Read Matthew 5-7 and...

Glenn Packiam

Lead Pastor, new life DOWNTOWN, New Life Church, Colorado Springs, CO. Author and songwriter.

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