One Cup

One Cup

In asking for the grace to understand and appreciate the Eucharist’s as Jesus’ self-gift, my meditations today were on Matt. 26: 26-29.  This is where Jesus instituted the symbols that are elements of this observance.

“Take, eat, this is my body”. ..….

“Drink of it, all of you.”…..

Jesus stated “this is the blood of the covenant”.

I thought of ways people are remembered after they die, tombstones, pictures, stories, buildings, etc., but none of these things last like the living symbols and an ordinance or Sacrament Jesus gave us by which to remember Him.  I thought back to Psalm 22, which has been on my mind this week.  The Psalm which starts “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”, this Psalm was on Jesus’ mind too as he died on the cross.  Some think, and I have heard Fr. Joseph Tetlow say, that Jesus recited the whole Psalm on the cross.

 

The final verses of this Psalm are (v. 30-31).

“Posterity shall serve Him;
men shall tell of the Lord to the coming generation,

and proclaim His deliverance to a people yet unborn,

that He has wrought it.”

I do not think these symbols, the Eucharist; this Sacrament should be closed to anyone.  It should be shared with all who want and need Spirituality, and want to hear of this living story.  The Eucharist is exactly how Christians have told Jesus’ story as a living memorial for thousands of years to the coming generations.  Also I think there should be one cup, and we all drink out of it.  I am about tired of those little plastic Protestant types of cups 🙂 🙂      Oh, and for me, make that “real wine” 🙂 🙂

 

In addition to the above, which was a part of my St. Ignatius, 19th Annotation, Exercises today, I think these thoughts fit into the theme of Peace…  I understand that Islam is a religion of Peace, that it is really bad if a Muslim does not show hospitality to a stranger or a friend.  One of my Muslim friends, a Sunni, (one of those Pharisee types,) in fact, came with me to eat at a Hooligan’s , a Mediterranean restaurant here in Tuscaloosa, and brought his own tea, and cups, in a little kit with a thermos to keep it hot, and we drank together, and ate together.  He even attempted to evangelize me to the Muslim way.  I appreciated that he cared for me…    If it were up to me, which mostly it isn’t, but it used to be, and I were serving the Eucharist, I would offer the bread and the wine to him, but warn him first, if you take out of this One Cup, unworthily, you might die…  I think he would respect my beliefs, as I respected his, and we would continue to be friends, not enemies…

 

Love & Peace,

 

John Cooper

Jersulem

Jerusalem

When we are stripped of power…

Will we still go up to pray?

When the answer is no..

Will we still go up to pray?

When the sword won’t work…

When we ask the God of the possible…

If it is possible?

Is there any other way?

We go up to pray…

Alone…

Naked…

Stripped of Pride…

Without conceit…

With God it is possible…

Will it be?

To still go up to pray….

To Jerusalem we go…

Is there Peace in Jerusalem?

If the answer is no…

There is no other way…

Will we still go up to pray?

John Cooper

http://www.jcooperFORpeace.org

The Kingdom of God and Barabbas

The Kingdom of God and Barabbas

I was thinking about the Kingdom of God recently in view of Pope Francis’ desire to serve the poor, and choose St. Francis of Assisi, known to many for his care for the poor, for the environment, and his love of Peace, as his namesake. When I heard of this name choice, I thought of the following Scripture from Luke 4, (NIV):

 

 

“16He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
20Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him.21He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” “

 

 

As Jesus began to proclaim the Kingdom of God, choosing this Hebrew Scripture from Isaiah 61, which goes into even more explanation of God’s concern for Social Justice, he seems to be introducing a Gospel of a new type of Kingdom on earth. The earthly Kingdoms and the Powers over those kingdoms seem to be more interested in ruling over humans, not setting them free, and certainly not ruling “under” as servants to humans under their jurisdiction.

 

 

I am writing today not to explain my thinking specifically regarding the Kingdom of God, but to tell you about a connection to Barabbas regarding the proclamation of Jesus quoted above. I am sure many have already thought of this connection before, but it had never really registered with me until today during Grace Church’s Palm Sunday worship service the connection between Luke 4 and Barabbas. We were watching a video where a man was imitating Peter, and said he was so sorry for betraying Jesus, that concerning the cross, it should have been me, (Peter.) Then I thought of Luke 4, and how the release of Barabbas was a also a fulfilling of this Scripture because it was the sinner, Barabbas, who was a captive set free… Then I thought. It should have been me, (John Cooper.) Then I thought, it should have been all of us, the whole world, and how the cross and Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection set all of us, captive to sin, free… Not just us though, According to other Scriptures such as 2 Corinthians 5, Jesus was reconciling the whole world.

 

 

Speaking of setting people free, let us look at this Scripture from Colossians 1 (NIV):

 

 

“20and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
21Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.”

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So, here we go… Jesus setting Captives free, including Barabbas, you, and me, and reconciling all things to himself, on earth and in heaven, and making Peace too! Could it be finished? Could all we human captives to sin, including our enemies, all things, everyone, be set free? Would that not be good news, if it were true? I believe it is true! Some people, including some Christians, may not believe God is big enough to do things just like that, but I do, and it is my name written on the purple robes on the cross at Grace Church today with the words about setting captives free written on the robe, with many other names too at Grace Church today…. Let’s just imagine your name is there to, and that the whole world will be as one, living life in Peace… I may be a dreamer, but I am not the only one… :):)

 

 

So, thank you Pope Francis, for choosing that name and getting me to thinking about the Kingdom of God, that looks like Jesus, that looks like you, someone who came to serve under, not over others… Assuming that is what you mean to do and mean to continue to do… May we all do the same… Oh, and thank you Barabbas, if you are in heaven already reconciled. It should have been you… It should have been me…. It should have been us..

 

 

John Cooper
Grace & Peace,
https://jcooperforpeace.org/