Christian Relaunch


The Bread-and-Wine Ceremony

Most Christianoids have supposed that the bread-and-wine ceremony they practice was instituted by Christ at the Last Supper and is central to Christian life.

The Lord's Supper mentioned in the New Testament was not a ceremony but a gathering of a (social) set, at which the children of members ate and drink with their parents, just as they would have, had any been present, at the passover meal that Christ used as a prototype.

When Christ said "Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me" (1st Corinthians 11.25), he was telling the first Christians that whenever they gathered as a set they should think of him. The N.T. calls such an event a supper of the Lord. Every meal shared by a Christian set as such is the Lord's supper.

The word communion in Christian parlance began as a translation of the N.T.'s koinonia which is also sometimes translated as fellowship and means simply sharing or participation. It refers to the ekklesia, whole range of united Christian life and activity. It has no special reference to ceremonies, though if Christians do share ceremonies the principles of koinonia do of course apply to that activity as much as to any other.

The traditional "holy communion" ceremony, with its symbolic meal, is the result of a deliberate reaction against social-set activity, and arose as part of the tendency to ceremonialise.

Ceremonies of Reverence in General

The traditional Christianoid pattern of ceremonies of reverence ("worship services") is not based on the New Testament. It constitutes an abandonment of the N.T. pattern and a falling back to the Hebrew Synagogue pattern, with maybe some influence from the "mystery cults". The N.T. never describes or prescribes such a stage-managed procedure, and sometimes expressly contrasts with it, or at least broadens it. But words like "gathering", "sharing" (koinonia i.e. fellowship), "prayer" occur frequently.

"Theirs is the latreia" (Romans 9:4) says Paul of Tarsus, attributing high value to the Hebrews' cult as a paidagogos eis Christon ("a guide leading folk to Christ")(Galatians 3:24), but he rejected vehemently by the idea that Christians should emulate this or any other specifics of Hebrew practice, regarding these (Colossions 2.17) as a shadow from which Christians have escaped.

Ceremonies in General

This site has no view on the role of ceremonies in life in general. Personally I am not sure I see any value at all in them, or even understand them. I admit they may have some value, though certainly nothing that should divide Christians, which is why this Creed omits them.

Back to Humanity's Unchanging Task (3).