среда, 15 сентября 2010 г.

ON COMMUNION AND LIFE

     Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh
                  ON COMMUNION AND LIFE
                         August 1971
                           ----

In the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.

We  hear  week  after week the Lord saying, ‘Do this in remembrance of
Me’,  and  we  always  apply  these  words,  and  rightly  so,  to the
celebration  of  the Last Supper, to the breaking of the bread, to the
sharing  of  the  cup,  to  the  holy  meal  which Christ had with His
disciples.

And  we  are  right  to  do so because it was the prefiguration of the
Banquet of the Lamb, of the great feast of eternity, because all of us
we  have  been  created  by  God  in  order  to  be His companions for
eternity;  and a companion is one who breaks the bread with us, who is
received at the host's table, who is made an equal to his host by this
law of hospitality and of love.

And  the  Last  Supper was this; Christ broke the bread and shared the
cup,  He made His disciples unto His companions and, as this bread and
wine  were  Him, He united His companions to Himself in an unspeakable
way to be one body and one life.

But the words which Christ told, ‘Do this in remembrance of Me’ do not
apply only to the last Supper, to the holy and divine Liturgy which we
celebrate.  What  He  was doing in the Upper Room was also an image of
what  His  life  and  death  were.  The  breaking of the bread was the
breaking  of  His  body, the sharing of the cup was the shading of His
blood,  and  what  was  signified in the last Supper was the Garden of
Gethsemane  with  the  anguish and the horror of the coming death upon
Him Who was free of evil and yet chose to share with us our destiny of
dereliction  and  mortality,  and of Calvary, the actual dying for the
salvation  of  others,  —  more than this: the dying of their death so
that they should share and possess His life.

And  if  we  are  to take in earnest what we do here, week after week,
feast  after  feast, celebrating the Last Supper of the Lord, breaking
the bread together and sharing the cup, we must remember that this act
makes  us  one  with each other, because we become so one with Christ,
but  also  that all that is true of the life and the sacrificial death
of Christ must become true for us and in us. We must so live as Christ
lived for others, we must so die as Christ died, that others may live.
We must so ascend from life into this sacrificial generous life-giving
death  as  Christ  did,  and  this  lays  upon us a heavy, a stern and
glorious responsibility.

Let  us  take it earnestly, because otherwise our celebration is empty
of  meaning.  We  cannot  come  day after day and ask Christ to let us
become  partaker  of what happens in the Upper Room if we accept to be
estranged, to be alien to what it stood for His life, His incarnation,
His teaching, His facing the coming death, His dying our death that we
may live.

Let  us  think  about  it  and  reconsider  all our relationships with
others,  rethink  all  our  attitude to those who are around us. Do we
live for their sake? Is our life an offering? Are we like the Apostles
of whom Paul spoke in today's Epistle, like men sent in the last times
to  bring  a  witness  of  love  and pay the cost for it, so that life
should  be theirs, should belong to those who surround us whether they
love  or  hate  us,  and  death  should  be ours, the death of Christ,
sacrificial,  holy,  an offering of love, brought not only to God, but
to each person who needs it. Amen.

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