The Christ Experiment No. 7

Remembering Jesus

 

Introduction

 

    In the world of Christianity, many holidays and celebrations have developed as a part of the Christian religion, such as Advent, All Saints’ Day, Ash Wednesday, Assumption Day, Epiphany, Lent, Mardi Gras, Palm Sunday, Reformation Day, St. Andrew’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Good Friday, and of course, Christmas and Easter. While many people enjoy these holidays and use them as occasions to strengthen their faith and remember Jesus, a study of the New Testament writings of The Bible, as well as Part IV of The Urantia Book, reveals that there is one particular commemoration that Jesus specifically asked that we observe in remembrance of him.  The commemoration that intends to observe this commanded event is known as “Good Friday” in some sects, “The Lord’s Supper” in other sects, “The Lord’s Evening Meal” in still other sects, and “The Remembrance Supper” in The Urantia Book.
        
   The celebration of “Good Friday” is an attempt to remember Jesus by reflecting on the events surrounding his Crucifixion. In the Catholic Church, it involves various chants, prayers, and rituals, among them being the taking of the Eucharist – the bread and wine. “The Lord’s Evening Meal,” as it is celebrated by Jehovah’s Witnesses and various offshoots of their religion, is a kind of Eucharist by a few thousand Christians who believe they are in a unique and special covenant with Jesus, with the vast majority, numbering in the millions, who act as observers, but not participants in the commemoration.  “The Lord’s Supper” is a kind of ordained Eucharist where the entire audience partakes of the bread and wine with the sanction of their clergy. “The Remembrance Supper,” as described in The Bible and The Urantia Book is a simple meal shared among brothers during which they also partake of the symbolic bread and wine in remembrance of Jesus.

   The goal of this website, TheChristExperiment, is to see if returning to the original, authentic, plain and open teachings of Jesus could unite Christianity and change the world.  In pursuit of that goal, we believe that a great place to begin would be in a united remembrance of the authentic Jesus with the commemoration that he commanded, in the way he commanded it, without the addition of later-developed rituals and restrictions.

   Accordingly, in this Experiment, we invite all lovers of Jesus, all children of Christ Michael, and all seekers of peace to consider what could happen to our world if all of us set aside one particular day per year to unitedly remember our Sovereign Creator in the way he commanded. Could such a united celebration be the beginning chapter of a new dispensation of peace and Christ-like living? We believe so. But first, we all need to unitedly understand what Jesus actually commanded that we do in remembrance of him.

 

The Remembrance Supper

 

   The gospel accounts as recorded in The Bible describe the first Remembrance Supper. They can be found at Matthew 26:17-30, Mark 14:12-26, Luke 22:7-38, and John 13:1-17:26. Though some of the sequencing appears to differ, and some accounts contain events that were not described in the other accounts, we can still gain an understanding of what Jesus and his apostles did on this occasion.  We also have the occasion as it is described in The Urantia Book, Paper 179, which is more detailed and, in fact, clarifies some of the apparent discrepancies that appear in the Biblical accounts.

  Paper 179 takes us from the preparation for the Passover, through the argument of the apostles for preference, Jesus’ washing of their feet as a display of humility and fatherly love, the identification of Judas as the betrayer, and the actual establishment of the Remembrance Supper. The entire Paper can be found here. For the convenience of our readers, we reproduce Chapter 5 of Paper 179, along with the paragraph citations to facilitate a discussion of this information as is encouraged below:

            
Paper 179.5. Establishing the Remembrance Supper


179:5.1 As they brought Jesus the third cup of wine, the “cup of blessing,” he arose from the couch and, taking the cup in his hands, blessed it, saying: “Take this cup, all of you, and drink of it. This shall be the cup of my remembrance. This is the cup of the blessing of a new dispensation of grace and truth. This shall be to you the emblem of the bestowal and ministry of the divine Spirit of Truth. And I will not again drink this cup with you until I drink in new form with you in the Father’s eternal kingdom.”

179:5.2 The apostles all sensed that something out of the ordinary was transpiring as they drank of this cup of blessing in profound reverence and perfect silence. The old Passover commemorated the emergence of their fathers from a state of racial slavery into individual freedom; now the Master was instituting a new remembrance supper as a symbol of the new dispensation wherein the enslaved individual emerges from the bondage of ceremonialism and selfishness into the spiritual joy of the brotherhood and fellowship of the liberated faith sons of the living God.

179:5.3 When they had finished drinking this new cup of remembrance, the Master took up the bread and, after giving thanks, broke it in pieces and, directing them to pass it around, said: “Take this bread of remembrance and eat it. I have told you that I am the bread of life. And this bread of life is the united life of the Father and the Son in one gift. The word of the Father, as revealed in the Son, is indeed the bread of life.” When they had partaken of the bread of remembrance, the symbol of the living word of truth incarnated in the likeness of mortal flesh, they all sat down.

179:5.4 In instituting this remembrance supper, the Master, as was always his habit, resorted to parables and symbols. He employed symbols because he wanted to teach certain great spiritual truths in such a manner as to make it difficult for his successors to attach precise interpretations and definite meanings to his words. In this way he sought to prevent successive generations from crystallizing his teaching and binding down his spiritual meanings by the dead chains of tradition and dogma. In the establishment of the only ceremony or sacrament associated with his whole life mission, Jesus took great pains to suggest his meanings rather than to commit himself to precise definitions. He did not wish to destroy the individual’s concept of divine communion by establishing a precise form; neither did he desire to limit the believer’s spiritual imagination by formally cramping it. He rather sought to set man’s reborn soul free upon the joyous wings of a new and living spiritual liberty.

179:5.5 Notwithstanding the Master’s effort thus to establish this new sacrament of the remembrance, those who followed after him in the intervening centuries saw to it that his express desire was effectively thwarted in that his simple spiritual symbolism of that last night in the flesh has been reduced to precise interpretations and subjected to the almost mathematical precision of a set formula. Of all Jesus’ teachings none have become more tradition-standardized.

179:5.6 This supper of remembrance, when it is partaken of by those who are Son-believing and God-knowing, does not need to have associated with its symbolism any of man’s puerile misinterpretations regarding the meaning of the divine presence, for upon all such occasions the Master is really present. The remembrance supper is the believer’s symbolic rendezvous with Michael. When you become thus spirit-conscious, the Son is actually present, and his spirit fraternizes with the indwelling fragment of his Father.

179:5.7 After they had engaged in meditation for a few moments, Jesus continued speaking: “When you do these things, recall the life I have lived on earth among you and rejoice that I am to continue to live on earth with you and to serve through you. As individuals, contend not among yourselves as to who shall be greatest. Be you all as brethren. And when the kingdom grows to embrace large groups of believers, likewise should you refrain from contending for greatness or seeking preferment between such groups.”

179:5.8 And this mighty occasion took place in the upper chamber of a friend. There was nothing of sacred form or of ceremonial consecration about either the supper or the building. The remembrance supper was established without ecclesiastical sanction.

179:5.9 When Jesus had thus established the supper of the remembrance, he said to the eleven: “And as often as you do this, do it in remembrance of me. And when you do remember me, first look back upon my life in the flesh, recall that I was once with you, and then, by faith, discern that you shall all sometime sup with me in the Father’s eternal kingdom. This is the new Passover which I leave with you, even the memory of my bestowal life, the word of eternal truth; and of my love for you, the outpouring of my Spirit of Truth upon all flesh.”

179:5.10 And they ended this celebration of the old but bloodless Passover in connection with the inauguration of the new supper of the remembrance, by singing, all together, the one hundred and eighteenth Psalm.


  The way the Remembrance Supper is explained in Paper 179 adds real meaning to the Supper. It clarifies and amplifies the Biblical accounts and opens our minds to the bigger picture of the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man.  It is not just an occasion for symbolism and ritual. It is an act of faith and unity with Christ and with one another without the need for ecclesiastical sanction.  And it is a way of ‘bringing heaven down’ so that God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10) (See Illustrative Poster of Paper 179, Chapter 5.)  

 

Selecting a Date for the Supper

 

   The first Remembrance Supper was commemorated on the day before the Jewish Passover. Accordingly, it eventually became the practice to observe the Remembrance Supper annually as was the Passover.  But initially that was not the case.  The writings of the Apostle Paul indicate that the 1st century Christians partook of the Remembrance Supper often, whenever they got together, not just once a year. (1 Corinthians 11:17-33) And today, many Christians partake of the bread and wine throughout the year. Nevertheless, there is some value in having an annual commemoration as a show of worldwide unity, in addition to our year round private commemorations. But on what annual date?

   An appropriate date might be the day before the first day of the Jewish Passover.  According to the Jewish calendar, Passover falls on Nisan 15, so the Remembrance Supper could be set on Nisan 14. Unfortunately, the Passover holiday does not fall on a fixed date but varies according to astronomical occurrences. It’s one of the Jewish moveable feasts. Thus, the anniversary of the Remembrance Supper would not be a fixed date either.

  In the Christian world, the day that would be the anniversary of the first Remembrance Supper corresponds with “Good Friday” which is determined according to the date set for the Easter holiday, which always falls on a Sunday.  And the determination of the date for the Easter celebration varies between the “Western Churches” and the “Orthodox Churches.” These variances in establishing dates for ‘moveable feasts,’ and Jesus’ aversion to strict interpretations, demonstrate that finding the exact date is not the paramount concern. The more important matter is selecting a date that all would agree to unitedly remember Jesus.

   In 2016, “Good Friday” as celebrated by most of Christianity falls on March 25th.  So we propose March 25, 2016 as the ideal day for the world of Christianity to unitedly remember Jesus by reenacting the Remembrance Supper in the way Jesus commanded.  As Jesus said, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:20) So, of course, two or three gathering together honors Jesus, but imagine if the 2.2 billion Christians around the world gathered together on this night in Jesus’ name. And not to celebrate the birth of a babe, but to commune with, and honor the life and teachings of, the Son of God/Son of Man now reigning as our Universal Sovereign.

  We know that other Christian groups, such as those associated with or splintered from Jehovah’s Witnesses, plan to celebrate their commemoration supper on March 23rd which they determine is Nisan 14 according to one of the ancient Jewish calendars.  We are not proposing that they abandon their celebration. We are not proposing that any group abandon any of their traditions. We are only proposing that we select a day to remember Jesus as a united brotherhood. 

 

    The important factor is to come together and partake with a sense of purpose and a renewed dedication to the doing of the Father's Will as exemplified by His perfected son Jesus. Living in a house divided has delayed the glorious future of mankind long enough. It is time for the family of God to sit at the table prepared for them from the founding of the world and enjoy as one united family the divine meaning and eternal value of Jesus’ blood and his body. This is the first but most important step in proving ourselves worthy of the Christ and it shows the rest of mankind that all things are possible with God the Father.

   So we wonder: What if the Christian community, and all those who honor Christ Jesus, set aside “Good Friday” of each year as the date to unitedly reenact the Remembrance Supper? What if Christians around the world gathered together in their homes to have a communal meal followed by the sharing of bread and wine as Jesus commanded in remembrance of him? What do you think Jesus would think of such a united commemoration?

 

What Do You Think?


   We propose this unified worldwide commemoration as an opening act of Christian unity. This is not a new doctrine; it is a return to an original, authentic teaching of Jesus. It is not a new holiday; it is a rejuvenation and restoration of a stagnant holiday. Nor is it out of step with what the Christian community is, or should be, about; it is an expression of love and brotherhood.

   We know that readers of this site come from various sects of Christianity including Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, United Church of Christ members, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, unaffiliated and non-denominational Christians, and others, including members of the Urantia Book community.  So we hope we can inspire some spiritual conversation on this topic.

   Please feel free to comment on the Remembrance Supper as described in The Bible or in The Urantia Book.  We provided the scriptures in The Bible and the paragraph citations to Paper 179 in The Urantia Book to facilitate such discussion. And feel free to comment on the possibility and probability of selecting an annual date for such a commemoration, and whether you would be willing to participate.

    Re-enacting the Remembrance Supper is a command by Jesus. And reenacting it on a global and united scale is a daunting, audacious, but hopeful proposal. If it can be achieved, it will lay the foundation for the type of unity Jesus envisioned and purposed. Would you be willing to remember Jesus in this united way? Let us know your thoughts.        

 

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