Monday, June 27, 2011

"Single-Serving Jesus"

Narrator: Tyler, you are by far the most interesting single-serving friend I've ever met... see I have this thing: everything on a plane is single-serving...
Tyler Durden: Oh I get it, it's very clever.
Narrator: Thank you.
Tyler Durden: How's that working out for you?
Narrator: What?
Tyler Durden: Being clever.
Narrator: Great.
Tyler Durden: Keep it up then... Right up.
- Fight Club (movie version)

"Single-serving friend."

That is what this essentially turns the people at communion into, with everyone having their own personal "single-serving" Jesus. (Cue Depeche Mode.)

Is this right?

Is this wrong?

If John 6:22-59 is Eucharistic such that there is to be a reminder in the Lord's Supper of the manna in the wilderness (Exodus 16:11-36), then there is in fact an individualistic aspect to it, as each person was to gather enough manna for himself or herself - though per Paul's application of Exodus 16:18 in 2 Corinthians 8:13-15, there may also have been some sharing among the people so that each person got what they needed and were supposed to have.

And there may be reasons to use more than one loaf and more than one cup if, as in the tradition preserved in The Didachê, the Lord's Supper has elements of Jesus' feeding of the 5,000 (Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:32-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-13) and the 4,000 (Matthew 15:32-39; Mark 8:1-10) and there are many people involved, as there were then.

Yet 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 seems to prefer, and perhaps only allows for, a single shared loaf for the people when they come together in church (1 Corinthians 11:17-18,20,33), and probably a single shared cup as well.

If partaking of the bread as Christ's body is to be a reminder of the Passover lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7) - which would undoubtedly be the case if the Last Supper was a Passover Seder as per Matthew 26:17-20, Mark 14:12-17 and Luke 22:7-16 - then this would be a further reason for using a single shared loaf at church for the Lord's Supper, as there was ideally to be only one lamb per gathered household (Exodus 12:3-41), and those who come together in church are family members, being all of the same household of the One God and Father. This understanding could likewise argue for a single shared cup, since the wine at the Passover Seder represented the blood of the one-per-household Passover lamb.

1 בֵּית אָב, pl. בֵּית אָבוֹת "a father's house." Though indicating the paternal line, the term is synonymous with מִשְׁפָּחָה "family" according to Pentateuch & Haftorahs: Hebrew Text English Translation & Commentary, Soncino Press (Second Edition).

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