Do This

Do This

I write this in reflection of my previous two articles, “New Covenant”, and “I Cried too, Mr. President.” After discussions of whether taking communion is “real” or not, and considering the Sandy Hook school massacre of 2012, in which 20 small children and 6 adults were killed, the question on many minds is, “What are we going to “do” about these things?

Are we going to start arming guards to stand at schools as the NRA suggests? Are we going to stop teaching our culture of violence via children’s cartoons, video games, TV programs, and movies? Are we all going to repent and begin going to our churches, temples, and mosques again?

What are we going to do?

I really don’t know what we are going to do; these matters have set off some thinking processes in my mind which are perhaps appropriate at this time of year, the season some Christians appropriate to the Birth of Christ. (Others observe different time frames, such as early January, and some Christians do not observe days, times and seasons at all.) However, there is one observance that Jesus did actually ask us to do. It is an observance, not for a particular time and place, or time and season, but an observance we are asked to do as often as we choose to, which to some, is very often.

23For I have received from the Lord what I have also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus, on the same night that he was handed over, took bread, 24and giving thanks, he broke it, and said: “Take and eat. This is my body, which shall be given up for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”25Similarly also, the cup, after he had eaten supper, saying: “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord, until he returns. 27And so, whoever eats this bread, or drinks from the cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be liable of the body and blood of the Lord. 28But let a man examine himself, and, in this way, let him eat from that bread, and drink from that cup. 29For whoever eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks a sentence against himself, not discerning it to be the body of the Lord. 30As a result, many are weak and sick among you, and many have fallen asleep. 31But if we ourselves were discerning, then certainly we would not be judged. 32Yet when we are judged, we are being corrected by the Lord, so that we might not be condemned along with this world. 33And so, my brothers, when you assemble together to eat, be attentive to one another. 34If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, so that you may not assemble together unto judgment. As for the rest, I will set it in order when I arrive. (I Corinthians 11, emphasis mine)

I am reminded of the words of Daniel Berrigan,, a Pacifist Catholic priest active in nonviolence who was at one time vice chairperson of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, whom I quote below:

“At the Pentagon we are dealing with the insane, the spiritually insane. We are dealing with irrational power. ……
For us, mostly Christians, this is also and extension of our normal worship, Our tradition is sacramental. It is full of symbols: human blood, ashes, water, oil.
We look upon this as taking the body and blood from the table of the sacrament to the Pentagon in the same way Christ was taken from table to Calvary, all in one day. At the table Christ announced the breaking of his body and the shedding of his blood, thereby establishing this principle for his followers; you shed your own blood rather than the blood of others; your own body is broken rather than the body of others. This is the heart of the gospel. He said Do this! Do This! Which we understand to mean not only do this with symbols at the table, which can be very safe in the worst of times, but do this with our lives.
It is very interesting that the crimes that we are accused of at the Pentagon are the crimes of the altar. We have done this in obedience to Christ, and many of us have gone to prison for it, including my brother Philip and my sister-in-law Elisabeth.
Our conviction is that the sacraments, properly understood, are not merely a principle of worship but also a command of ethics and conduct.” (PEACE IS THE WAY, Writings on Nonviolence from the Fellowship of Reconciliation, edited by Walter Wink, Orbis Books)

Being a believer in the ethics of Jesus, those ethics of Peace and Nonviolence, and Social Justice, or being a Pacifist, Christian, or not, does not mean we do nothing about tragedies and injustices. Our nonviolence is not to be inactive, but active nonviolence. Doing something, doing this, is active.

Tragedies and injustices of war and poverty, and hatred should call Christians together in a bond of unity to do something. Do What?  If Jesus’ memory is real to us, we ought to do this…
Do this:
Come to the table…
Share our love for one another.
Share our love for the world.
Share our love with our children. (Hug them as President Obama advised, a little more tightly…)
Share our love with our enemies.
Share random acts of kindness, committed just because the love of God dwells in you…
Share love for the stranger among you, by telling a person from another nation you love them, even if you do not speak the same language.

  • Love is a language.
  • Love is a power.

Share our food…
Share our clothing…
Share our homes…
Share our time together…
Share a Hug with someone…
Share a Confession of our sins to each other… Ask for forgiveness…

  • I confess mine now… I have sinned in many ways, and still sin, and I am dependent upon the Grace and Forgiveness of God to be counted worthy.

Share Communion with a body of Christ….

It is the doing of such things that we remember Jesus… Do this, he said, in remembrance of me… For Christians, when we are trying to figure out what Jesus wants us to “do” about violence, and human injustices, war, Evil, and sins of commission and omission in our lives, to remember Jesus and what he told us to “do,” that is, “To love one another, as I have loved you,” is a very probable thing we should ”do” about it….
As a Christian, (better said, Christ follower…) (Sometimes one is chagrined by the historic baggage associated with the name, “Christian”) I would think that tragedies are not the time to go out and buy more guns, to lobby for putting guards in schools, but to see the need to confront our culture of violence, to realize we have been True Believers in the Myth of Redemptive Violence, which is the religion of fallen Powers. Our taxes support the crimes of violence we are speaking of, wars, drone strikes, etc., and we cannot help it, so we too are guilty… Before the table let us ask forgiveness, so we can be worthy, because we are forgiven…. by Grace, through Faith. We are sick, and we die, perhaps because we live our lives violently, unworthily, of the one we are to remember, Jesus. We cannot carry a gun and a cross at the same time. Our way is the way of the cross…, to the Cross… The Cross is the Way, Peace is the Way… The Cross resulted in God’s gift of Peace to mankind. God is not angry with man, He is at Peace with us, Jesus left his Peace with us, God loves the world. This should be Good News!
If there is something real about the symbols of communion, the gifts of the altar, if we really believe in the real body and blood of Jesus, if we believe he is in us and we are in him, I really think we will “do” these things in remembrance, real remembrance of Jesus. As we do these things, Jesus will become more real to us… We cannot bring our children back to life, but Jesus can, and said he would… When he returns.. It won’t be long now…. Before the lion dwells with the lamb, it won’t be long now…
Grace and Peace,
John Cooper

About jcooperforpeace
Spiritual Director, Spirituality of Inner Peace

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