What it is to commemorate Jesus in spirit and in truth

From Essays and Other Footprints, (the “Red Book”), by , pages 125-126


Mark 14: 23 — ‘And he took the cup,
and when he had given thanks, etc.’


We are here today not to commemorate the life or death of our dear Master by partaking of bread or drinking wine, but to seek communion with his spirit that we would make our own. In communion with Christ, bread and wine can only stand for thoughts they express, and I ask only your kind and thoughtful attention while I shall endeavor, briefly, to discharge the office of their interpreter.

Could I only give you a new and vivid sense of the faith and love, the greatness and truth of which they tell, you would receive an exhilaration and conscious nourishment that no material element can supply. Then you would understand what our communion service is designed to be, and what it is to commemorate Jesus in spirit and in truth.

The word, sacrament, comes from the Latin sacramentum, which means the oath whereby the Roman soldier bound himself in allegiance to his general, and this was no ritual service.

The conviction hourly deepens in my mind that the essential value of Christianity is not in doctrine, formal observances or mere mortal precepts, but in the great fact that it gives us in a human person a revelation, not of anything preternatural, but of our own nature in its highest earthly development.

That which bloomed out of the life of Jesus, filling the world with the odor of divinity, was the ensample for man, and this confidence of the human and the divine must yet appear in our lives. It may take a longer life than that of mortals to quicken it into vitality. Buried deep it may be from human sight, and lie dormant for thousands of years, like the wheat found in Egyptian tombs, but in the Father’s house — the many chambers of Soul — it must sometime fully disclose its identity with the spirit of Jesus. Heaven only knows what searching methods, what agonies, what ages of crime, what revolutions, may be required for this imperishable germ of greatness and goodness, to struggle up to freedom.




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