Rejoice the feast of the Lord

Rejoice the feast of the Lord

By REV. DR. RICHAR... | 6 August, 2016

Sharing in the feast of the kingdom of God is marked by celebration and great rejoicing. It is similar to other feasts arranged at important occasions, such as weddings, where people who know and love the hosts have an opportunity to share and express joy and delight.

Rejoicing is an important part of our walk with God. Paul encouraged the Philippian followers of Christ to “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4).  While certain events unfolding around the world may not be worth celebrating, God is. Our worship of God is also a cause of celebration because as we worship Him, He makes His presence known. 

When we participate in the Lord’s supper, the bread and wine reminds us of our human need, and spiritual hunger and thirst. The Lord’s supper is also directed toward the Christian hope. The image of feasting finds its fulfillment in the vision of “the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Rev. 19:9). The Lord’s supper is seen as a foretaste of this heavenly banquet; a pledge of heaven. The celebration of the Lord’s Supper in the present then reminds of what happened in the past, the death and resurrection of Jesus. Additionally, it is also an assurance of what will happen in the future, when we are welcomed and received into the presence of the living God.

In the Bible we read that the disciples rejoiced in the midst of discrimination and suffering. For the first three centuries, Christian faith was considered illegal by the Roman authorities and marked by periods of persecution. Yet the disciples were able to rejoice because their everlasting hope stemmed from the resurrection of Jesus Christ, assuring their own resurrection from the dead. Does our lifestyle reflect rejoicing and celebration as we  participate in the kingdom feast of God?

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All the epistles of Saint Paul refer to the dead and resurrected Jesus. They all do not bear a single reference to the living Jesus. The living Jesus spoke of the Kingdom as central to his message. The Kingdom is a metaphor for the mystical self-fulfillment and it is an abolition of the futurity of the coming Messiah. Jesus in fact abolishes history in a genuine spirituality. All the documents of the Nag Hammadi Library spell the importance and the noble reality of the Gnosis as the apotheosis of earthly life. The Gospel According to Thomas offers words spoken by Jesus which are diametrically in favour of Gnosis and against St Paul's successfullly putting the cadaver of Jesus as central to the cult. He enlarged the incident of the revival of Lazarus, extended it to Jesus - who never said he would be resurrected and ascend physically to Heaven - and further to the post-mortem resurrection of the individual Christian on the day of judgement, an imagery borrowed from the Jewish faith. Gershom Scholem persuasively argues that the Jewish religion remains incomplete with the expectation of the coming of the Messiah. The Church, for its part, did a lasting damage to European culture, and consequently, because of Western colonizing domination, to the whole world by the suppression of Gnosis as a heresy and byits persistent hostility to mystical experience. In Chapter 2 of TRUTH AND TOLERANCE, Pope Benedict XVI roundly denounces the mystical experience as anti-Christian. It is such a disappointment, when the Wasteland status of the world cries for the Gnostic culmination of life as the crowning of earthly life, as the sacralising and enchanting of the world which the Book of Genesis describes, for the misfortune of Humanity, as a disenchanted creation.

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