Anamnesis, the Passover, and the Eucharist

When we celebrate the Eucharist, we do so in anamnesis (εἰς άνάμνησιν, eis anamnēsin) of Jesus.

Anamnesis is not simply remembrance, at least not in the sense that we normally remember things: mentally recalling events and people of the past and re-feeling many of the attached emotions. The anamnesis of the Eucharist is a deeper form of remembrance, because the anamnesis of the Eucharist has its roots in the anamnesis of the Hebrew Passover. The Hebrews were called to re-experience the original Passover every year. It was not enough to pause and remember that great event in subsequent generations. The once-for-all events of the Exodus were to be re-lived by the community each year for all future generations. The hope of the Exodus was to become the hope of Israel. This cannot happen through a merely cerebral remembrance. The celebration of the Passover looks more like a play than a ceremony: there are actors, directors, and even a script. This is more than remembrance; it is bringing an event from the past into the present, allowing all the implications of the past event to be felt anew.

I say all of this to point you to a beautiful piece written by my dear friend Mason King. In it he paints what it may look like to participate in anamnesis. Were this our mindset each week as we participate in the Eucharist, we may begin to understand why the Church has placed its celebration as a primary function of the weekly worship of Christians. Enjoy his post here.

Easter Season 2014 Book Club


I want to invite you all to an Easter season book club that will be reading through and discussing Surprised by Hope by New Testament scholar N.T. Wright.

The season of Easter runs from Easter Sunday through Pentecost Sunday. This year, that is April 20th to June 8th. As much as Lent is viewed as a season of “going without” in an attempt to be reminded of our mortality and need for a savior, the season of Easter is intended to be the opposite: a season to live in celebratory hope that can only exist because of the Resurrection of Jesus.

Book Details
From the Preface:
“What are we waiting for? And what are we going to do about it in the meantime? Those two questions shape this book. First, it is about the ultimate future hope held out in the Christian gospel: the hope, that is, for salvation, resurrection, eternal life, and the cluster of other things that go with them. Second, it is about the discovery of hope within the present world: about the practical ways in which hope can come alive for communities and individuals who for whatever reason may lack it. And it is about the ways in which embracing the first can and should generate and sustain the second.”

N.T. Wright has written one of the most respected academic books on the Resurrection of Jesus (The Resurrection of the Son of God), and much of what he writes in that book is summarized in Surprised by Hope. As the former Bishop of Durham (England), Wright has a unique perspective that combines top-rate academic work with a Pastoral heart.

Here is a video of Wright on The Colbert Report. You will not find out a ton about the book, but you may chuckle a bit–wright

Right now the Kindle edition is on sale for $2.99:

Club Details
We will meet three times total to discuss the three major sections of the book. All the meetings will be at our house (email for directions). The first meeting will be 2-3 weeks after Easter, likely on a Saturday or Sunday.

Bonus: To fully enjoy the Easter season, I would recommend bringing any food or drink items to our meetings that you have been abstaining from throughout Lent. If you “gave up” coffee, for example, bring a cup of joe with you to enjoy while we discuss the book.

Please let me know as soon as possible if you are interested!

Christianity: Ritualistic, Moral, and Intellectual

Robert Louis Wilken on Christianity as ritualistic, moral, and intellectual, from his work The Spirit of Early Christian Thought.

The Christian religion is inescapably ritualistic (one is received into the Church by a solemn washing with water), uncompromisingly moral (‘be ye perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect,’ said Jesus), and unapologetically intellectual (be ready to give a ‘reason for the hope that is in you,’ in the words of 1 Peter). Like all the major religions of the world, Christianity is more than a set of devotional practices and a moral code: it is also a way of thinking about God, about human beings, about the world and history.