I also made the point that I do not hear much of this discussion in churches back in Jamaica, except for the Amstrong groups and the Messianic Jewish congregations.
My colleague then responded that the topic has come up directly or indirectly in almost all of the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) lessons over the past couple of years. I replied that it may have been raised a few times, but not much and not in detailed seminars.
I also went on to share of the need for Christians to celebrate at least one communion similiar to how the modern Jewish Passover is observed.
My friend in curiosity requested more details about how such a communion would be celebrated.
This gave me the opportunity to share that the communion in the New Testament is with a meal - a real supper, with table spread with some of the Jewish passover symbols. Here is a transcript of some of the dialgoue that ensued:
My friend: Sounds nice but I am not sure why one would want to do that. The first communion was held on Passover but they commemorate different events. That is why the symbols are not all the same and do not bear the same significance.
Me: But Jesus Lord's Supper did have a meal. And Apostle Paul did mention it, rebuking those who came and greedily ate the supper. Supper also implies having the meal at night. Churches have it in the day. So we are out of step with the symbollism.
My colleague: I wouldn't go so far as to claim that the time of night is symbolic. I would say we should be able to have it at any time of day. We probably need to ask ourselves what the purpose of the communion is and then what is the purpose of each thing that we do in achieving that purpose. It would be good to have a fellowship meal during the communion service but is not having such a meal taking away from the symbolism?
Me: Well communion implies fellowship and eating together. So it just seems a natural fit to have a meal and not just break bread and have a little sip of grape juice. In fact Paul said some persons got drunk at the Lord Supper, which implies that they had a lot to drink, and that it was not a littl sip of grape juice.
My colleague: I agree with you on both counts but I keep going back to the symbolism. What has been lost? If we have only lost gluttony and drunkenness then the change was a good one.
Me: Well...we can only know what was lost if we recreate the original symbollism or least close to it (without the sacrificing of a real lamb, which would be unlawful now). After all, the church is being restored to its original doctrines lost over centuries. Yet Reformation is only a gradual process.
My colleague: You mean a little over a century and a half? (assuming you are speaking about the SDA church) It is not always good to return to original doctrines. If people always did that then reformation would be of no effect. A mature religion/church is one that is not afraid to admit that not everything we believed in the past was right and that we might not yet know everything that we are supposed to know.
Me: No. I mean the church of the apostles and their traditions. Before Anti-semitism separated the Jewish Christians from the Gentile Christians. Agree with this though: "A mature religion/church is one that is not afraid to admit that not everything we believed in the past was right and that we might not yet know everything that we are supposed to know." As the Spirit leads us, which is gradually into "ALL truth".
My colleague: Amen...and so we continue searching for (the fullness of) truth... me gone.
(Published November 24, 2011; Revised November 26, 2011)