The Eastern Orthodox Church: Its Thought and Life

The Eastern Orthodox Church: Its Thought and Life

The Eastern Orthodox Church: Its Thought and Life

The Eastern Orthodox Church: Its Thought and Life

Excerpt

In order to understand the spirit of this liturgy, we must go back to the very beginnings of Christian worship. Before Jesus appeared on the scene, Judaism was in the grip of a fervent expectation of the kingdom of God that was to be ushered in and accomplished by the appearance of the Messiah and Son of Man. These hopes for the coming of the kingdom of God were not couched in terms of theological abstractions: they were hopes of something quite definite and tangible, of a joyous new state of existence. Again and again this hope was expressed in terms of the image of the Messianic meal: the glory to come "sitting down" (literally: lying at table) in the kingdom of God. "Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God" (Luke 14:15).

In his sermon on the kingdom of God, Jesus gave a new content to this anticipation. Once more we come upon the metaphor of the Messianic meal, of blissfully lying at table with the raised-up Messiah-Son-of-Man. "And they shall . . .

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