Why a community if there is a bowl?
Will tea after the Liturgy somehow make better my church life? There is me and the bowl, I do not need anyone else. Such words can often be heard, especially among believers, so to speak, of a liberal sense in response to the call for community life. For such people, faith is he / she and Christ, and the third here is either an optional phenomenon, or obviously superfluous.
In my opinion, this is a very strange view of Christianity and the Church. In fact, he simply rejects the Church. What is it for such a person who has the Chalice, the Church in the center of his life? Why do we need it then? If my faith is me and Christ, my union with Christ, personal deification, etc., then why participate in some strange medieval rite for this? In order for me to connect with Christ, do I have to eat bread soaked in wine in the temple with the help of some ritual? Unclear!
In the end, we are not cup-worshipers, and Christ did not enlist, but became incarnate. God became man, not a cup, and not even bread or wine. So where is Christ first? The modern Orthodox individualist says: on the throne. But the Scripture unequivocally tells us that first of all He is in us and among us, and only then on the throne in the altar. Here there are two different Today on the church meeting, which he writes about. Alexander Schmemann, arguing that in ancient times Christians said: we gathered, therefore on the throne Body and Blood, later – on the contrary: on the Throne Body and Blood, therefore we gathered. The difference is significant, although, perhaps, from the first time, and invisible. But if Christ is still in us and among us, what does it mean to unite with Christ? Right! Connect with brother and sister. What does it mean to connect with a brother and sister? It means being in love with them. In a special unique relationship of love. This is the community. Community from the word "communication". Therefore, a community is not a form of organization of believers, but a quality of communication.
Imagine the Last Supper, where people completely unfamiliar with each other enter the room, silently receive communion and leave, each in his own way. Christ knows them all, He communicated with everyone individually for three years and basically did not introduce them to each other. And before the Last Supper, He individually informed everyone that it was necessary to come there. Absurd? Most of the apostolic epistles are addressed to the communities; even in those whose recipient is a specific person, it is clear that the addressee lives in the community.
Few people know about this, but the idea of the Eucharist as a sacrifice does not appear immediately, in the second century. Didachi, a monument of the beginning of the II century, although it describes the Eucharist, but there is no word about sacrifice. And what is Bread, if not a sacrifice? And this, in the understanding of the author Didachi, we. We are the Body of Christ, the Bread, of which He spoke as of His body. "Just as this broken bread was scattered over the hills and gathered together became one, so your Church from the ends of the earth may be gathered into your kingdom, for Yours is the glory and power through Jesus Christ forever." The substance of the sacrament is secondary, primary assembly.
Modern theologians and biblical scholars speak in the same spirit about the Church. Here is what Richard Bockham says in one of his lectures: “At the end of the 17th chapter of the Gospel of John, we see that this love of God for the world includes the whole movement of God's love, which begins with mutual love between the Father and the Son in eternity. This entails the mission of the Son and includes people in this Divine love. This creates a loving congregation of the disciples of Jesus and thus attains peace. The disciples are caught in this movement of God's love. And their task is to involve the rest of the world in this communication of love. ”
N. Wright, in his work on the apostle Paul, shows that Paul’s mission was not just turning specific individuals into faith, but creating a new type of unity, a new people, a new family of believers: “The core of all this, as already proposed, – it is a koinonia, a partnership or fellowship, which is not static, but which allows the community of believers to grow together as a whole through the traditional divisions that exist among people. This unity, which is none other than the unity of Jesus Christ and his people, is the unity that Jesus Christ won for His people precisely because of his identification with them, and thus through His death and Resurrection, influencing the unity between them and By God. "
But an individualist does not need a meeting, does not need unity. If all the fullness of Christ is in bread and wine, then why is everything else? It is enough only to consume this substance inside, and Christ in you will grow. And what about the love of neighbor as a new commandment? The Lord gives a new commandment. Which one? Communion more often? Not. "Love each other as I have loved you." And the love of Christ was also expressed in the fact that He created a community and lived in a community, had unique relations of love with community members.
Some are good about the idea of a community, but without any boundaries. When I want – I will come, when I want – I will leave, and let no one speak a word to me. If at least some boundaries appear, then this is immediately understood as an attempt on freedom, the conversation about sectarianism immediately begins. But where there are no borders, there is no responsibility. It is very important to understand. Here the analogy with the family is very well suited. If a person enters into marriage, creates a family, then responsibility arises in his life, and hence, boundaries. He, in the normal case, cannot simply come and leave the family when he wants, start a new one, etc. And if a family member leaves her, stops communicating with other members, then, as a rule, the rest of the family members try to build relationships. So, if a person leaves the community, it is a disaster and sadness, just as when a person leaves the family.
Also often a sign of a “healthy” community is its secondary importance in relation to the family. What is more important: community or family? Scripture unequivocally tells us that the community. When they say to Christ that His Mother and brothers came, and He replies that those who do the will of the Father, they are his mother and brothers, that is, here Jesus unambiguously puts spiritual kinship in the first place. This carnal is not denied, but the spiritual becomes a priority. In the case of a conflict between these types of relationships, you should always choose the second. Domestic ones are enemies, because very often they do not want to, which is quite understandable, so that their relative has a reality that is more important than a family one. "Leave the dead to bury their dead." "Who will not leave his wife, father, etc.". All this suggests that following Christ is a priority, and that kinship can often conflict with spiritual ones.
Here you can argue that this refers to the relationship with Christ, what does the community have to do with it. But when Jesus calls to follow himself, He calls to do it not individually. He gathers a community, and in the Gospel it is obviously expressed: to follow Christ means to enter the community of disciples, where people are connected by unique bonds of love, trust, intimacy. No one in the first century would understand the position “my Christ”, and you don’t need me or need them at all. Or: I have Christ and my family – and do not touch me. I will not go to the Last Supper, my family and I are going to this day. And do not push me, sectarians!
It is important to understand that these very families are not broken up, but only strengthened. Yes, in order to strengthen something, sometimes you just need to put it in its place. “Put God in the first place, and everything else will be in its place,” says the old adage. But in the Christian sense, putting God in the first place means putting the Church, which is the Body of Christ, in the first place, which means the community in which the Church is incarnated in the normal case. Because the Church is born in a community, the Spirit does not descend on discrete individuals, but on a community.
Modern man is a terrible skeptic, and what is even more terrible, he does not believe in a man, he does not believe in the Church. Therefore, he is afraid to build relationships on love and trust. He does not believe in such a relationship. The only space where he can allow the possibility of such a relationship is the family. Outside of you, sincerely and simply no one will love you. Only mutually beneficial relationships are possible: you to me, I to you. If some kind of close and close relations outside the family appear, it is only due to manipulations and zombies.
Therefore, it is important now to use all efforts to build communities as the most faithful embodiment of the Church in this world, the creation of a community of love, which the Church is. The emergence of communities is associated with overcoming the crisis of faith in a person, and therefore the Church. But the Church can never be the abstract reality mentioned in the Creed. The church is always concrete people. They are as concrete as Christ, who, again and again, must be said, is in the congregation, and not individually to everyone. That is, Christ, of course, meets with each person personally, this personal meeting with Christ is possible in full only with the presence of conciliar communion with other brothers and sisters. “Christ in his brother’s heart speaks louder than in his own heart,” says Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Therefore, if we want to hear Christ better, we must be closer to the heart of a brother.
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